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Submitted by on Jun 2, 2022

Gillette is an American brand of safety razors and other personal care goods, such as shaving equipment, that is owned by Procter & Gamble, a multinational business (P&G).

It was held by The Gillette Company, a seller of products under several trademarks until it was incorporated by P&G in 2005. It is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United StatesKing C. Gillette created the Gillette Company in 1901 as a safety razor maker.

The firm was the focus of repeated acquisition bids from Ronald Perelman and Coniston Partners during the tenure of Colman M. Mockler Jr. as CEO from 1975 until 1991. Procter & Gamble announced plans to merge with the Gillette Company in January 2005.

The assets of the Gillette Company were merged into a P&G company known as “Global Gillette” internally. Global Gillette ceased operations in July 2007 and was absorbed into Procter & Gamble’s other two major businesses, Procter & Gamble Beauty and Procter & Gamble Household Care. The brands and products of Gillette were classified into two categories. Under the Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette brand name, the Gillette R&D center in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Gillette South Boston Manufacturing Center (known as “Gillette World Shaving Headquarters”), are still operational operating facilities. P&G has also kept Gillette’s subsidiaries Braun and Oral-B, among others.

The Gillette firm and brand date back to the late 1800s, when salesman and inventor King Camp Gillette came up with the concept of a disposable blade safety razor. At the time, safety razors were simply small sections of a straight razor glued to a holder. Before each shave, the blade had to be stropped, and after a while, it had to be sharpened by a cutler. Gillette was inspired by William Painter, his mentor at Crown Cork & Seal Company, who had designed the Crown cork. Painter pushed Gillette to create something that, like the Crown cork, could be discarded after use.

While Gillette had the idea in 1895, it took six years to turn it into a functional model and drawings that could be filed to the Patent Office. Gillette struggled to locate someone competent of devising a technology for producing blades from thin sheet steel, but eventually discovered William Emery Nickerson, a chemistry graduate of MIT. On September 28, 1901, Gillette and other project participants created The American Safety Razor Company. The firm struggled to raise funds until an old acquaintance of Gillette’s, John Joyce, provided the required funds to get the company up and running. In 1903, manufacturing started slowly, but the following year, Nickerson was successful in creating a new blade grinding machine, which had previously slowed output. The firm sold 51 razors and 168 blades in its first year, but sales increased to 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades in its second year. In 1904, the firm was renamed Gillette Safety Razor Company, and it swiftly expanded outside of the United States. Gillette established a sales office in London and a blade manufacturing unit in Paris in 1905, and by 1906, the business had a blade mill in Canada, a sales operation in Mexico, and a European distribution network that distributed to a variety of countries, including Russia.

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