Who Invented the Zip Fastener?
Zip fasteners, also commonly known as zippers, are found on clothing, accessories, bags, and more. They may seem like a small detail, but they play a huge role in the convenience and functionality of everyday items. However, have you ever wondered who invented this ingenious fastener?
The History of Zippers
Before discussing who invented the zip fastener, let's delve into the history of zippers. The concept of interlocking teeth used as a fastener dates back to the 1800s when Elias Howe, the same man who invented the sewing machine, patented an "automatic, continuous Clothing Closure." However, his invention was never manufactured, and it wasn't until years later that a functional zipper was created.
The Creation of the Zipper
In 1891, Whitcomb Judson invented the first functional zipper, which he called the "clasp-locker" or "hookless fastener." His initial design used clunky hooks and eyes and failed to gain popularity.
It wasn't until Gideon Sundback came into the picture that the modern-day zipper was born. Sundback, a Swedish-American engineer, designed a more robust and efficient zipper that used interlocking teeth instead of hooks, making it easier to close and open. In 1913, Sundback received a patent for the "Separable Fastener" and began working for a company that later became known as Talon, still an active manufacturer of zippers today.
Types of Zippers
Since Sundback's invention, various types of zippers have been developed for different applications. Here are some of the most common ones:
1. Coil: Also known as a "nylon zipper," this type has teeth made from a continuous coil of nylon sewn onto a fabric tape.
2. Invisible: Commonly found on dresses and skirts, the teeth on this zipper are hidden behind a fabric placket.
3. Separating: This type of zipper is found on jackets, coats, and hoodies, where the two sides of the zipper can be separated completely.
4. Waterproof: As the name suggests, these zippers have a water-resistant coating and are used on outdoor gear like raincoats and wetsuits.
5. Two-way: These zippers have two sliders that can be opened from either end, allowing for two openings.
The Zipper's Impact on Fashion
Zippers revolutionized the way clothing was constructed and worn. Before zippers, buttons, hooks, and laces were the only fasteners available. Zippers made it easier to take on and off clothes, ultimately saving time and reducing the risk of damaging clothing.
Zippers' impact can be seen in fashion trends too. For instance, the punk movement of the 1970s popularized the use of zippers as a decorative element on clothes, creating a unique look in the fashion scene that's still evident to this day.
In a world where every second counts, the zipper has undoubtedly made a significant impact. It's hard to imagine a world without the convenience of zippers. While the use of zippers has evolved over the years, the basic concept remains the same, making our lives more comfortable one zip at a time..