The Real Reason Your Walls Might Be Full Of Razor Blades
Nearly a century before sharps containers were invented after someone figured out it would be a good idea to have a specific container to throw sharp medical waste into so it wouldn’t potentially cut or stab someone, another invention would change the way we operate in our daily lives. That invention was the disposable razor blade.
Today, it’s easy to take disposable razors for granted, but shaving wasn’t always so convenient. A man named King Camp Gillette — yes, Gillette was a real guy — realized there had to be a better way to stay on top of shaving than having to go to the barber two or three times a week or paying someone to sharpen your sketchy straight razor that kept getting dull, according to Gillette’s website. He realized the only part you really need is the sharp edge, not the entire contraption. Besides, that whole straight razor situation was so 1800s.
By 1903 Gillette and his company started selling what were called system razors — sometimes referred to as safety razors. The device was a handle that held a disposable razor blade. According to Snopes, they were safer than straight razors. Once the blades got dull they could easily be replaced with shiny, sharp new ones. Yet, those new disposable razor blades were a little high-maintenance, as illustrated in this swanky YouTube video. What’s more, they created their own safety hazards.
People used to put their used razor blades in the wall
Just tossing a razor in the trash meant people could accidentally get hurt, whether in the home or at dump sites. Another issue that Reader’s Digest reported was that back in the day, people often burned their trash, since sanitation wasn’t evolved to the level we enjoy today. Razor blades wouldn’t burn, so you have random used blades — too dull for shaving, but still quite sharp — where the kids and pets might be running around.
Therefore, the invention of the disposable razor blade created another necessity. But while necessity is said to be the mother of invention, the solution for what to do with used razor blades wasn’t as much an invention as it was a solution.
According to Snopes, the solution someone came up with was to build new homes with slots in the medicine cabinets specifically for disposing of razor blades. Starting in the 1920s through the 1970s, new homes were often built with those special slots in the bathroom just for razor blades. Those used razors would conveniently disappear into the wall, where they would be as forgotten as yesterday’s flatulence.
But just because they were forgotten doesn’t mean they went away. Nope. To the dismay of some renovating homeowners, the previous residents left big old stacks of razor blades in the walls to remember them by, bridging the new generations to the old in a weird way. Because as much as things change, people still don’t want to mess with somebody else’s used razor blades.
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