More than 100 years ago a man by the name of King Camp Gillette sought to make the everyday task of shaving simpler for males throughout the world. His goal was to create a razor with a safe, inexpensive, disposable blade. It took many years. "Steel is too expensive to make it disposable," they told him. "Steel is too hard to make it that thin," they scoffed. But, by 1903, along with the help of an MIT graduate by the name of William Nickerson, the Gillette® safety razor was born and production began as the Gillette Safety Razor Company® began operations in South Boston. Sales grew steadily, as men soon began to see the benefit of such a product. If they only knew.
In 1928, the Schick® Corporation would begin operations, but would never pose a threat to Gillette®'s marketplace domination.
No one could predict the dark future.
More than 60 years would pass before signs of trouble began. Sadly, as we would learn, it would be too late to do anything before anyone realized the monster we had created.
It began innocently enough when in 1971 Gillette® introduced the Trac II®, the world's first 2-blade razor. "Hey, I can shave with less strokes and this, in turn, causes less irritation!" men exclaimed. It should have stopped there, but shortly thereafter the Trac II Plus® was released, which, in addition to two blades, included a moisturizing Lubrastrip® to reduce the need for aftershave lotion. It was a grim foretelling of things to come.
Gillette® would continue to innovate in the disposable shaver industry. In 1977, they introduced the Atra®, the first razor with a pivoting head, which enabled the blades to "stay on your beard longer for extra closeness".
In 1990, they released the Sensor®, which featured spring-loaded blades. This reduced the possibility of cutting the skin, while enabling Gillette to move the blades closer to the edge of the cartridge, providing a closer shave than ever before. This was closely followed by the SensorExcel®, which featured rubber MicroFins® in front of the blades, which cause the whiskers to stand up to enable an even closer shave. Thankfully, the American male did not respond as enthusiastically to the Sensor® as he did to previous advancements, and the threat of Razor Armageddon was thought to be eliminated.
However, after lying dormant for eight years, the threat was reborn. Gillette® unleashed the Mach3® on the unsuspecting masses, the world's first three blade razor. "With its three blade configuration, new blade edge technology, forward pivoting action and innovative cartridge architecture," Gillette® Mach3® was unlike anything the world had ever seen. We were powerless to stop the razor from mutating into forms previously thought impossible. Soon came the Mach3Turbo® with MicroFins® and a Lubrastrip®, followed by the M3Power®, which featured even more MicroFins® and a battery in the handle, which caused it to vibrate. The system was now online.
Then, in 2003, the Schick® corporation, tired of being an also-ran in the disposable razor industry, unveiled the Quattro®, the first four-blade razor. Gillette® was furious, and Razor Armageddon had begun. But it was too late. The American face was now so soft and smooth it was powerless to fight back.
Small pockets of unshaven resistance forces began to form, and they started to make progress, until late 2005 when this horrifying announcement
"NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Gillette® has escalated the razor wars yet again, unveiling a new line of razors on Wednesday with five blades and a lubricating strip on both the front and back. The razor, known as the Fusion®, has blades spaced 30 percent closer than Gillette®'s current MACH3Turbo® system. It also has a single blade on the back of the cartridge for shaving sideburns or trimming under the nose..."
Heaven help us all.