A Sharp-Minded Inventor: The Life of King Camp Gillette

On the 15th of November, 1904, a very special patent was granted to Mr. King Camp Gillette. The patent, Number 775,134, concerned the invention of a safety razor that would make Gillette famous all around the world. It was the first significant step in a long and storied career that would ensure Gillette’s name lived on for many decades after his death. Through clever business tactics and intelligent strategy, Gillette launched a legacy, with his brand name still being synonymous with razors and other personal care products to this day. It’s an inspiring story, and it all started with one man with one very bright idea.

Birth and Youth


(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

King Camp Gillette was born on January 5 of 1855 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. As his name implies, Gillette’s family had French heritage. Gillette was raised in the city of Chicago, Illinois. His childhood was relatively uneventful until his 16th year when he and his family were caught up in one of Chicago’s most devastating historical events: the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire raged for a few days and led to an estimated 300 fatalities, as well as destroying over three square miles of the city’s buildings. The Gillette family all survived the fire, but lost a lot of their belongings and were in dire need of money to get back on their feet. Thus, King decided to search for work.

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