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'Mr Electric Razor' Artur Braun dies

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'Mr Electric Razor' Artur Braun dies
Artur Braun as a young man and one of the electric foil-shavers made by his company. Photo: Braun/Arne Dedert/DPA
16:30 CET+01:00
Artur Braun, one of the fathers of the Braun electric razor, died this month aged 88. His firm's innovative designs turned a family business into a global household name. An industrial pioneer, he is The Local's German of the Week.

The Braun company is best known for its shavers, radios and kitchen appliances and gained a reputation for its elegant yet functional design choices.

Under Artur Braun's leadership, the firm created some of its most well-known and successful products, including the "Sixtant" SM 31 electric shaver which he helped develop, and the SK4, a combination radio and record player dubbed the "Snow White casket" for its see-through plexi-glass lid.

Braun took over the Frankfurt-based company when he was 26 with his older brother Erwin, 30, in 1951 after the death of their father, Max Braun.

Max had founded the firm in 1921, but after his death the brothers were called upon to take charge and they led the firm in a new direction.

In the eight months after they took the helm, the brothers totally changed the face of Braun's products, redesigning them with a new philosophy in mind - to make them attractive and aesthetic, yet with simple and functional designs.

Set designer and film director Fritz Eichler, a friend of Erwin Braun, joined the team to shoot ads for the company, but ended up being appointed their head of design in 1956, Bild newspaper reported.

Industrial designer Dieter Rams, famous for his "less, but better" design approach, also joined up with Braun, working closely with Eichler on products.

And the brothers' new credo and innovative designs paid off.

While the Braun company after the war employed just 150 people, Artur and Erwin - who died in 1992 - built it up to a corporation which a workforce of 5,700 people.

During the time the brothers ran the company, sales grew from 17.7 million Deutsch-Marks in 1952 to a high point of 245 million, Bild reported.

But Artur and Erwin finally left the family business behind in 1967, when they sold it to American firm Gillette for DM 200 million.

Gillette, along with Braun, was taken over in 2005 by consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, although Italian manufacturer De' Longhi also bought rights to manufacture Braun-brand products in April 2012.

Procter & Gamble announced net sales of $84.2 billion for 2013, with Braun listed as a "leadership brand" in the "global health and grooming" segment, which accounts for $17 billion of total sales.

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