King Gillette, the genius behind the safety razor, was also an author. He wrote four books, his first work, The Human Drift, was quite popular. It was rather ahead of its time and brought about different and radical ideas back in those days.
King Gillette was a socialist. He wrote the book; The Human Drift, describing his version of a utopian metropolis that was powered by Niagara Falls. In his book, only 1 out of 7 individuals would need to work, and money would be free.
Who is King Gillette?
King Camp Gillette was born on January 5, 1855, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He was raised in Chicago, Illinois. His family was a few of the lucky survivors of the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871.
Because of the fire, he was forced to work as a traveling salesman of a hardware company. He was quite nifty and creative that his employer noticed how his inventions could be found useful. He advised him to continue his inventing and build something that would be used and not thrown away – this will keep customers coming back. (Source: Britannica)
How Did Gillette Come Up With the Idea of the Safety Razor?
Back in those days, men used a straight razor to shave off their facial hair. Gillette did as well. One day, while he was honing his straight-edge razor, he had an epiphany. What if he substituted a thin piece of double-edged steel and placed that in between two plates? Then mount the entire thing on a T-handle. Then, instead of repeatedly sharpening your razor, you just need to replace it when it became dull.
Though Gillette had no experience working on metals and manufacturing, it was quite a challenge to make his razor. Finally, six years after the birth of this idea, William Nickerson developed a way to produce the razors with the use of sheet metal.
1903 marks the first sale the Gillette Safety Razor Company has made. Their first batch consisted of 51 Razors and 168 blades. At the end of 1904, their company was able to produce 90,000 razors and over 12,000,000 blades.
Gillette was selling his razor assembly at a loss. He made profits through the blade, and it was wildly successful. (Source: Britannica)
How Did He Start Writing?
Gillette’s business was a hit, and he had a lot of spare time. So he focused his energy on writing and publicizing the ideal of utopian socialism. He started with his first book entitled; The Human Drift. He was very invested in the idea that he even offered Theodore Roosevelt a million dollars to pretend to be a president of an experimental World Corporation in Arizona.
The Human Drift advocated that all industries should be run by a single corporation and be publicly owned. This will virtually make money non-existent and therefore lower the crime rate. Gillette also describes a metropolis that runs on electric current produced by Niagara Falls. It may seem possible, but quite far-fetched.
Gillette didn’t stop at that; he went on writing until 1924 with the book entitled The People Corporation. (Source: Britannica)