In 1928, the first electric shaver was patented by the American manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick. After few years’ later, the Remington Rand Corporation continued to develop the concept and produced its first Remington razor in 1937. These early razors developed by Schick and Remington used an oscillating series of blades that moved backwards and forwards under a protective mesh, cutting hair.
A second round of development was in the Netherlands where Prof. Alexandre Horowitz, from Philips, invented the concept of the revolving or rotary blade in an electric razor. This device had three rotating blades that cut hair as it entered the head of the razor.
These two types of electric razor have remained in place since then; there have been plenty of refinements and developments to help provide a closer shave or to tackle longer hair for trimming a beard, but otherwise it’s been a case of iterative development rather than the early step-change.
The first electric razors were designed to be used on dry skin only. Now, most manufacturers have ranges of shavers that will work with normal shaving foam or gel for a wet shave. And standard dry shave electric razors can often be rinsed under water.
Inside a normal electric razor there’s usually a rotating or oscillating blade. The blades are moved either by a small electric motor or by an electro-mechanical oscillator driven by a solenoid. Both systems are powered by rechargeable batteries or mains electricity.