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Zipper: Was it Really Invented over 100 Years Ago?

Hey there! Did you know that the invention of the zipper might not be as old as you think? Let's find out more!

Zipper: Was it Really Invented over 100 Years Ago?

When Was the Zipper Invented?

Early History of Fasteners

The history of fasteners goes back thousands of years. In ancient civilizations, buttons made of shells were used as fasteners as early as 2000 BC. These were replaced with hooks and eyes after some time. The Chinese used buttons with loops and knots to fasten their garments. The use of buttons became popular in Europe in the 13th century. It was only in the 19th century that fasteners saw a breakthrough with the invention of a new type of closure - the zipper.

Whitcomb Judson and the First Zipper

In the late 1800s, an American inventor named Whitcomb Judson developed the first zipper. Judson saw the need for a convenient and secure closure for shoes and decided to come up with a solution. He called his invention the "clasp locker." It was made of metal and had a series of hooks and eyes that interlocked to form a closure. The clasp locker was not very successful as it was difficult to use and easily broke. Judson's invention laid the foundation for the modern zipper but it needed further development.

Gideon Sundback and the Modern Zipper

The modern zipper, as we know it today, was invented by Swedish-American engineer Gideon Sundback in the early 20th century. In 1913, he developed the first workable prototype of a zipper with interlocking teeth. Sundback improved upon Judson's design by increasing the number of interlocking teeth and using sturdy and durable materials, such as brass and stainless steel. The new design was more secure, reliable, and easy to use.

In 1917, Sundback's invention was patented and initially called the "separable fastener." It was not until the B.F. Goodrich Company used the zippers in their rubber boots that they became popular. The zipper slowly gained popularity and was used in various ways, from clothing to luggage and much more.

Today, the zipper remains an essential part of our everyday lives, and we can't imagine life without them. The history of fasteners has indeed come a long way, and the zipper has played a significant role in revolutionizing the way we fasten our clothes.

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Zipper Inventions and Innovations

For over a century, the zipper has been a functional and fashionable component used in various industries. Initially invented to improve the functionality of boots and tobacco pouches, the zipper has come a long way. Today, it is a ubiquitous feature in clothing, bags, and other accessories. In this article, we will explore the history of zippers, their use in clothing and bags, the variations and functions, and the future of zipper technology.

Zipper History: The Invention

The zipper patent was first registered in the United States in 1851 by Elias Howe, the same inventor of the sewing machine. However, it wasn't until 1893 when Whitcomb L. Judson made significant advancements to the design that the zipper (or "clasp locker") was introduced to the public.

Judson's invention featured hooks and eyes that interlocked through a slide fastener. However, it wasn't until 1913 when Swedish-American engineer Gideon Sundback created the first modern zipper prototype. Sundback replaced hooks and eyes with interlocking teeth, which allowed for smoother operation and improved durability.

Zipper Use in Clothing and Bags

The zipper didn't become popular until the 1920s when it was used in women's clothing. Zippers replaced the traditional buttons, hooks, and laces in garments, which helped to streamline the manufacturing process and improve the overall look of the clothing. Since then, zippers became a staple in clothing and fashion accessories, as well as bags and luggage.

Clothing brands such as Levi's, Schott NYC, and Adidas introduced zippers in their designs, which led to an increase in demand for the product. Zippers also found their way into military uniforms, further increasing their popularity and usage in various industries.

Zipper Variations and Functions

Today, there are many variations of zippers. One variation is the invisible zipper, which is hidden within the seam and creates a seamless look. Another variation is the waterproof zipper, which is ideal for outdoor gear, sportswear, and marine equipment.

Zippers are also used for various functions, such as opening and closing windows on tents and boats. They are also used in furniture cushion covers, car seats, and luggage.

Future of Zipper Technology

Zipper technology is still evolving. One innovation is the Magnetic Zipper, which uses magnets to open and close the zipper. This technology will allow for hands-free operation of clothing and accessories, especially for people with limited mobility or disabilities.

Another innovation is the smart zipper, which will have sensors that will track various parameters, including temperature and humidity. The smart zipper will provide data that can be used to improve comfort, safety, and health. This technology could be used in medical devices, sportswear, and military gear.


The zipper has come a long way since its inception in the 19th century. From its use in boots and tobacco pouches to a ubiquitous feature in clothing, bags, and other accessories, zippers have improved functionality and enhanced style. With technology advancements, we can expect to see even more innovations in zipper designs and functions in the future.

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