The Walls Of Your Old South Dakota House May Be Full of Razor Blades
Do you remember safety razors? I remember my grandpa having them, but I never used them. Judging by how often I STILL cut myself while shaving; my face, neck, fingers...tongue; it's a good thing I don't have to use them.
But for the first part of the 20th-century safety razors were the way to go for people that wanted to shave. They were the alternative to the long straight razor that you'd sharpen on a strip of leather just before the rabbit shaved your face.
I've seen pictures, videos, and the real thing but I still am not sure how a safety razor works. Plus, there's only one blade. Really? One blade. I'm too used to my four-blade system. I don't have hours to chop at my face with ONE blade.
The blades, literally razor blades, were disposable. Well, disposable in the sense that the user was expected to throw them away.
But, because lots of people use to burn their garbage, having a bunch of ashes full of really hot razor blades was not something people wanted.
So by the 1950s people started using medicine cabinets in their bathrooms that had a hole where you could dispose of a used razor blade.
Here's how this leap in technology and design worked. When the blade wore out, the person would slide it into the slot, or hole, in the back of the medicine cabinet then the blade would fall into the wall. You know, that little space in a wall behind the drywall where the studs are. The land of dust bunnies and spiderwebs.
Yea, that's literally it. They'd just 'dispose' of their razor blades in the wall. It's a real-life version of that picnic scene in Mad Men where they clean up by throwing all the garbage on the ground. Life was weird in the olden days.
So if you live in a house built before 1970 there is a good chance your bathroom walls are filled with old razor blades. Piles and piles of rusty metal that are caked with ancient hair, skin cells, and probably blood.
I've seen this when I was growing up and my family lived in a really old house. At the time the best explanation I got was that "People used to be weird." Which I now know is parent-speak for 'Heck, I don't know."
But, now we know the truth. So, if you're renovating an old house and you find a stash of old razor blades in the wall, everything's OK.
You didn't just stumble onto the secret hiding place of a giant razorblade embezzlement ring. You didn't discover a drop-spot for a razor smuggling gang.
Nobody was saving those blades for anything. They're just there to be a nice reminder from our ancestors to wear gloves while doing home renovations.
Reader's Digest contributed to this story.