Monday, November 14, 2011

The origins of the electric shaver

Gizmodo had a short article a little while back about the origins of the electric shaver. It all starts with mining in the Alaskan wilderness.

It's 40-below, so you have to collect ice and then melt it. Then you have to hurry the heck up before your face freezes. And if you sprain your ankle during your time in the north country? You have a lot of time to think about a better way to shave your face. 
That's how retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Schick (yep, that Schick) came up with the idea for the electric razor.
The article includes a link to an original patent drawing of Schick's invention, which is pretty cool.
The first electric shavers that Schick sold in 1929 were $25. Based on changes in the consumer price index, that's worth around $320 in 2010 dollars, but the relative cost compared to overall income could be equivalent to over $1000 for an average production worker (according to the Measuring Worth website). Whichever way you slice it, it represented a large capital outlay. 
Despite the price, the electric shaver sold rather well.
Nevertheless, Schick sold more than 3,000 electric razors the first year. [...] By 1937 he had sold almost two million.
These days, you can only get Schick electric shavers as a vintage item, of course - if you want to buy one, eBay or antique sites are your best bet.


ewa said...
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Veronica said...
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