More About The History of Power Toothbrushes...

The History of Power Toothbrushes continued… The G.E. Automatic Toothbrush

Last week we looked at the history of the original power toothbrush: the Broxodent, which was a strong competitor in the power toothbrush marketplace for about 30 years. This week we’ll look at its main early competitor in the US in the 1960s…

Shortly after the Broxodent was introduced to the US market in the late 1950s, General Electric produced its own version of the electric toothbrush, the General Electric Automatic Toothbrush. The US market was drawn to this product, possibly because it was cordless rather than plugged into the mains power like the Broxodent.

The GE Automatic Toothbrush was not without its challenges: it was much bulkier than the Broxodent, because in the early 1960s a NiCad battery was not a compact item. The toothbrush handle was about the size of a two D-cell torch handle, and it came with a charging unit. Unfortunately the NiCad batteries of the time exhibited memory and lazy battery effects: so often a toothbrush would run out of power before the whole family had managed to finish brushing! The batteries had a short lifespan and were sealed inside the toothbrush unit, so when the batteries finally died, the entire unit had to be thrown away. The much lower ticket price on the GE Automatic Toothbrush made this less of a concern than when a Broxodent unit failed. This toothbrush was very popular in the US during the 1960s.

Both the GE Automatic Toothbrush and the Broxodent have been superseded by newer models, especially those developed by Braun Oral B and Phillips Sonicare.


We’ll look at the benefits of using an Electric Toothbrush next week!