AskDefine | Define razor

Dictionary Definition

razor n : edge tool used in shaving v : shave with a razor

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A keen-edged knife of peculiar shape, used in shaving the hair from the face or other parts of the body.
  2. The tusk of a wild boar.

Translations

knife
tusk of wild boar

Extensive Definition

The first safety razor, a razor where the skin is protected from all but the very edge of the blade, was invented in the late 18th century by a Frenchman, Jean-Jacques Perret, who was inspired by the joiner's plane. Marketed as "the best available shaving method on the market that won’t cut a user, like straight steel razors."
The first American safety razor was marketed in 1875 by the Kampfe Brothers. In 1901, the American inventor King Camp Gillette, with the assistance of William Nickerson, invented a safety razor with disposable blades. Gillette realized that a profit could be made by selling a razor with inexpensive disposable blades. This has been called the Razor and blades business model, or a "loss leader", and has become a very common practice for a wide variety of products.
There are also safety razors that are made of inexpensive materials that are meant to be wholly disposable.

Electric razors

The electric razor (also known as the electric dry shaver) has a rotating or oscillating blade. The electric razor does not require the use of shaving cream, soap, or water. The razor is powered by a small DC motor, and usually has rechargeable batteries, though early ones were powered directly by house current. Some very cheap modern ones are still offered that run only on house current. Some very early mechanical shavers had no electric motor and had to be powered by hand, for example by pulling a cord to drive a flywheel.
The typical major designs include the foil variety which uses a structure of layered metal bands that partially pull out the hair before cutting off the extracted length and then allowing the remainder to retract below the skin. The other design is the rotary type with circular blade structures, usually three in a triangular arrangement which has the same shaving function.
It was patented in 1928 by the American manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick. The Remington Rand Corporation developed the electric razor further, first producing the Remington brand of razor in 1937. Another important inventor was Prof. Alexandre Horowitz, from Philips Laboratories in the Netherlands, who invented the very successful concept of the revolving electric razor. It has a shaving head consisting of cutters that cut off the hair entering the head of the razor at skin level.
Early versions of electric razors were meant to be used on dry skin only. More recent electric razors have been designed to allow for shaving cream and moisture. Some patience is necessary when starting to use a razor of this type, as the skin usually takes some time to adjust to the way that the electric razor lifts and cuts the hairs. This also requires diligence in the use of moistures.

Battery powered electric razors

Early electric razors plugged directly into an AC outlet, but in recent decades most have been rechargeable, containing rechargeable batteries sealed inside the razor's case. Most manufacturers have been reluctant to divulge the chemical nature of the batteries, but one can infer from the instructions—"discharge fully, then recharge overnight"—that they use nickel cadmium batteries. Curiously, the batteries cannot be removed without using a screwdriver and a soldering iron (or wirecutters), and doing so voids the warranty; nor can one buy new batteries from the manufacturer. This differs from the practice of cell phone makers, who advertise the type of batteries and sell replacement batteries, which are easily removable without tools. Even some cordless phones have user-replaceable batteries of known composition.
In theory, one can return the razor to the "dealer" for repair, but most stores that sell such devices—and even the manufacturers—lack repair facilities. In practice, a device that fails within a month can be exchanged for a new one under the store's guarantee; or a device that fails after the store guarantee expires but before the manufacturer's warranty expires can be exchanged by the manufacturer—the store guarantee and the manufacturer's warranty are mutually exclusive. If it fails after the warranty expires, one is expected to throw it away and buy a new one, from the same company. There used to be repair shops that offered warranty service for such devices, but in the 1980's, most became mail-forwarding services that sent things to manufacturers for replacement; and most disappeared in the 1990's.
Some modern styles of electric hair clippers include bulk hair clippers, which are used to remove a bulk of the hair being shaved; main hair clippers, on which guards are attached to achieve a perfect length all over the head; and mini clippers, which are used to trim the edges of the haircut.

Other razors

A single-edge razor blade was actually manufactured prior to the advent of the double edge razor, for various applications where the blade is required to be hand-held. Single-edge blades are often a more rigid steel and much thicker, as well as being less sharp (but with much sharper non-rounded corners). They are used in carpentry for detailed work, sanding, and scraping (in a specialized holder), in mechanical drawing for paper cutting, in plumbing and finish work for grouting and cleaning, for removing paint from flat surfaces such as panes of glass, and in many other applications. Razors are also sometimes used in bread production to slash the surface of an unbaked loaf; in this usage, they are referred to using the French word lamé.

Razor brand names

References

razor in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Scearseax
razor in Arabic: ماكينة حلاقة
razor in German: Rasierklinge
razor in Spanish: Afeitado
razor in French: Rasoir
razor in Hebrew: סכין גילוח
razor in Indonesian: Pisau cukur
razor in Italian: Rasoio
razor in Dutch: Scheermes
razor in Japanese: 剃刀
razor in Narom: Raseus
razor in Polish: Maszynka do golenia
razor in Russian: Бритва
razor in Finnish: Partakone
razor in Swedish: Rakapparat
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