By: Scott RossPublished: November 15, 2022

King Camp Gillette

King Camp Gillette's family first achieved notoriety in 1887 with the initial publication of The Original White House Cook Book, co-written by his mother, Fanny Lamira Gillette, and Hugo Ziemann. The book, most recently updated in 2017, is a compendium "of recipes, cooking techniques, etiquette instruction, household care, and cleanliness tips used in the White House."

King himself made the tiniest of waves in 1894 with the publication of his tract The Human Drift, in which he for the first time outlined his vision for a socialist Utopia, and made the following dedication:

THE THOUGHTS HEREIN CONTAINED ARE DEDICATED TO ALL
MANKIND ; FOR TO ALL THE HOPE OF ESCAPE
FROM AN ENVIRONMENT OF INJUSTICE,
POVERTY, AND CRIME, IS
EQUALLY DESIRABLE.

The centerpiece of Gillette's Utopia was to be a city called Metropolis located near and powered by Niagara Falls, which would be home to tens of millions and would have "a perfect economical system of production and distribution," where a single government would be in charge of all production. What could go wrong?

But Gillette really made a name for himself with the invention of the disposable safety. In 1903 he managed to sell 51 razors and fourteen dozen blades, a modest start, to say the least. But in 1904 he saw sales explode, as Gillette moved 90,000 razors and 15,000,000 blades, and on November 15 of that year he was granted a patent for his gadget.

By 1910, Gillette was F-you rich, a strange state of affairs for a socialist, and published his third and final book, The World Corporation, going as far as to offer former president Theodore Roosevelt $1,000,000 if he would agree to lead the World Corporation, which had actually been incorporated in Arizona. Teddy declined.


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