Famous Freemason - King Camp Gillette
“I dared where the wise ones feared to tread.”
King Camp Gillette was born on January 5, 1855 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and raised in Chicago, Illinois.
While working as a salesman for the Crown Cork and Seal Company in the 1890s, Gillette saw bottle caps thrown away after the bottle was opened. This made him recognize the value in basing a business on a product that was used a few times, then discarded.
Men of the era shaved with straight razors that needed sharpening every day using a leather strop. As existing, relatively expensive razor blades dulled quickly and needed continuous sharpening, a razor whose blade could be thrown away when it dulled would meet a real need and likely be profitable.
To sell his product, Gillette founded the American Safety Razor Company on September 28, 1901 (changing the company's name to Gillette Safety Razor Company in July 1902). Gillette obtained a trademark registration (0056921) for his portrait and signature on the packaging. Production began in 1903, when he sold a total of 51 razors and 168 blades.
The second year, he sold 90,884 razors and 123,648 blades, thanks in part to Gillette's low prices, automated manufacturing techniques, and good advertising. Sales and distribution were handled by a separate company, Townsend and Hunt, which was absorbed by the parent company for $300,000 in 1906.
By 1908, the corporation had established manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, and Germany. Razor sales reached 450,000 units and blade sales exceeded 70 million units in 1915. In 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I, the company provided all American soldiers with a field razor set, paid for by the government.
Gillette vetoed a plan to sell the patent rights in Europe, believing correctly that Europe would eventually provide a very large market. Over the course of the 1920s Gillette and John Joyce, a fellow director, battled for control of the company. Gillette eventually sold out to Joyce, but his name remained on the brand. Shortly thereafter, as the patent expired, the Gillette Safety Razor Company began to emphasized research to design ever-improved models, realizing that even a slight improvement would induce men to adopt it.
Gillette died on July 9, 1932, in Los Angeles, California. He was interred in the lower levels of the Begonia Corridor in the Great Mausoleum located at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California
Bro. Gillette was raised in 1901 in Adelphi Lodge in Quincy Massachusetts.