Razor Blades Inside a Home's Walls

With the invention of the modern razor with its plastic safety cartridges, people – specifically men – used to shave using the straight-edge razors found in most barbershops at the time. Then, in 1903, Gillette invented the first-ever at-home option for men to do their shaving at home.

However, those early disposable razors weren’t quite that disposable. They didn’t have the same safety features of today, so they were often still sharp and couldn’t just be thrown away in the trash. In the 1930s and 40s, people would often burn their trash and toss it into their used razors. However, since they were metal, they often wouldn’t burn. It wasn’t until the 1950s another a strange solution was started.

With medicine cabinets installed in homes, the cabinets were installed directly inside the interior walls. These old units had a slot in the back that was used to discard used blades, which would allow them to fall into the wall cavity between framing studs and collect on top of the bottom-plate stud. Sometimes a slot was built into the bathtub or shower wall.

Do you remember such a slot in your family bathroom decades ago?

By the mid-1970s, Bic Company introduced lightweight, totally disposable razors with plastic handles.

With homes sold and new families moving in they may not be aware of razor blades inside the walls. They would need to be very careful if any remodeling was done.

Photo: Bathroom cabinet with a razor blade slot.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

History of Public Bathrooms

The Outhouse

Men’s Facial Hair Styles

< Return To Blog I miss the razor blade slot! Never used one, though. I'd think about all those blades piling up in the walls and wondered if you'd have to move when you filled it up!
Sara N Martin 11/12/21

I remember those also. The house I grew up in was built in 1953 and there was the blade slot. I'm just not sure if my father used it or not.
alice 11/12/21

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