The term ‘first ever’ holds a lot of meaning. It is often used to describe the birth of technology and objects that have never been seen before.
So naturally, when the term is used, people take interest and react to it. This applies to all things associated with the term ‘first ever’; even the little things.
For example, charging your phone without having to plug it in, putting on clothes without having to button anything, wearing shoes without
having to tie the laces, and countless other examples show how something which was the ‘first ever’ changed our lives.
It is in us, a part of our human nature, to welcome and accept new technology. But was it always this way?
The answer is a resounding, ‘yes’. Interest in new things is exactly the same now as it was in the past.
In 1961, DORCO launched Korea’s first razor blade and razor. In ancient times, cutting hair was banned in Korea, but as times changed and
with Korea entering the modern age, regular shaving and haircuts became accepted and eventually the norm.
Tak Si Geun, President of Dongyang Light Metal Industries, the parent company of DORCO, saw the need for and potential in razors in Korea.
He realized that the limited amount of razors being imported into Korea were not enough and decided to produce razors on his own.
Thus under the mission to produce Korea’s first ever razors, Dongyang Light Metal Industries officially changed its name to Hanil Industrial on November 11, 1960,
and after intensive effort to enhance quality and increase productivity, Korea’s first ever domestically produced razor was born.
Soon after, Hanil Industrial introduced a polisher and a semi-product razor from Mandelba, Germany, and ever since then, the company has dispatched
trainees to Mandelba, Germany, to train professionals on how to produce razors. This was a huge turning point for razors in Korea as the sales of carbon safety razor blades
gradually increased. Unfortunately there was a serious flaw, as rusting easily occurred after using the product. At this time, stainless steel safety razor blades were popular
in other global markets. So the next step in the evolution of Korean razors was apparent. In order to properly develop stainless steel safety razor blades, Hanil Industrial also
started its own development after receiving data on heat treatment, coating, and polishing processes needed to manufacture razor blades
through Sandvik, which is headquartered in Sweden.
However, just because a company can produce something, doesn’t mean that it will actually sell. As stated earlier, people are naturally interested in new things.
Consumers must feel the advantages of a new product in order to purchase it. In this regard, the idea of Hanil Industrial to sell stainless steel safety razor blades
was the perfect solution. For every box of 10 carbon safety razors, 1 stainless steel razor was inserted. Consumers who purchased the box of razors, naturally became aware of
the superiority of stainless steel safety razor blades, and by 1970, boxes containing only stainless steel blades were packaged and sold separately.
As a result of these changes, DORCO’s sales rate continued to grow from 1968 to mid-1970. In particular, as the use of double-edged blades became more common,
and sales of razor blades increased dramatically from 1975. This is because the company had developed its own technology and
sold products that were comparable to foreign products at reasonable prices.
However, being a pioneer that is synonymous with the term ‘first ever’ is not a simple task. Constant change and innovation is required.
In the global market, a double-edge razors with excellent shaving capabilities, providing less skin damage were in the spotlight.
As always, DORCO was up to the task, and started developing double-edge razors.
So what did DORCO’s and Korea’s ‘first ever’ double-edge razor look like?
Stay tuned for the next installment for the background behind the development of the double-edge razor and TG blade.