Cotton swabs, pills and rubbing alcohol aren’t the only things Charlotte residents should be looking for in their medicine cabinets.
Watch out for small slots in the cabinet wall.
On Monday, Realtor Jonathan Osman went to assess a client’s partially gutted home in Country Club Heights near Plaza Midwood for a possible renovation. The bathroom was somewhat intact, but then Osman’s electrician told him about what was sticking out of a wall. Osman hurried to go see.
Sure enough, old razor blades were lying on the floor mixed into a pile of drywall, Osman said.
After doing some research, Osman learned that bathroom medicine cabinets in some 1950s-era homes had slots for residents to dispose of razor blades.
“It seems like a really poor way to dispose of something,” Osman said. “It’s just weird, and we would never think of doing it at all today, at least I hope not.”
The razors are still at the 1,182-square-foot, three-bedroom home on Kilborne Drive, waiting to be scooped up by a shovel, he said.
A ‘quirky design’
The home was built in 1957 by the Ervin Construction Co., founded by one of Charlotte’s biggest developers, Charles Ervin, Osman said. Ervin and fellow developer John Crosland Sr. “built all of Charlotte” during this postwar era, he said.
Built-in cabinet slots came about in 1903, when Gillette created the first double-blade razor that allowed men to shave at home rather than at a barbershop, according to apartmenttherapy.com. Once done shaving, they’d throw the blade into the slot where it would end up behind a wall.
The used blades were biohazards that just couldn’t be tossed into the garbage. In the 1930s and 1940s, many households would burn trash and fertilize their garden with the ashes. The metal blades often would survive the low-heat fires, according to Readers Digest.
In the 1950s, living in the suburban Country Club Heights was a big deal, Osman said, and it was neat to find this “quirky design” in a home so old. Once everything is up to code and renovated, it’ll be a “great house for somebody,” he said.
TikTok users have posted videos showing themselves finding the razor blade slots, and it’s raised some eyebrows.
Carly Knight of Los Angeles discovered a “used razor blade disposal” slot in the bathroom medicine cabinet of her family’s 1950s home. Her video, first posted in 2020, has 3.8 million views and nearly 3,000 comments.
In the TikTok, Knight explains how she posted a mini-tour of her new home, which led to a commenter saying that she might have a razor slot in one of her bathrooms. Knight went to Google and saw articles about razor blades being found behind peoples’ walls, prompting her to check her bathroom. She looked in her medicine cabinet and found the slot.
Using audio from Knight’s video, Angelica Gomez posted a similar TikTok in 2021 of her finding a number of used Gillette razor blades in the wall behind her bathroom cabinet. The video has over 2.3 million views, and several commenters said they also have found slots in their bathroom medicine cabinets.
This story was originally published January 27, 2022 6:20 AM.