Tuesday, 3 Aug 2021

How World War I Paved Way to Zipper’s Success

From suitcases, to jeans, to boots, and sofa covers, there is a big chance that all of you have used several slide fasteners or zippers. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine life without zippers. As small and trivial they may look, zippers have already been around for a hundred of years.

Elias Howe, the same American inventor who developed the first ever sewing machine, was credited for the actual concept of a sliding fastener. His idea was patented in 1851 but he did nothing with this patent as he was too occupied with the promotion of the sewing machine.

Whitcomb L. Judson, an entrepreneur, secured two patents in the US in 1893 for a type of automatic closing device that was actuated by slide mechanism. Judson named it the Clasp Hooker. Together with the lawyer named Lewis A. Walker, he established a company to actually produce the product he had in mind.

They were able to improve its design in 1904, patented the machine that will make it, and coined the slogan “A Pull and It’s Done.” When 1906 came, the company hired Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American engineer, to pursue the innovations. However, the idea failed to make it. The fasteners featured awkward and sharp hooks that tore and even popped the fabric open.

B.F. Goodrich used the slide fasteners in the rubber boots they produced in 1923 and they referred to the model as zipper and this name was trademarked.

Sundback applied for his very own patent in 1917. His fastener resembled the modern zipper that people see to it in the sense that it was hookless and metallic. Walker raised additional capital in expectation and reincorporated as Hookless Fastener Company where he became the president. Robert J. Ewig, a tailor in New York City, used Hookless Fasteners in money belts.

The money belt featuring a zipper was a bit hit among the US sailors during World War I due to the lack of pockets in their uniforms. Almost all the initial sales of zipper were for these money belts. Almost all the 24,000 sales of Hookless Fastener Company that year were for their money belts. When 1918 came, the Navy placed their order for fasteners for 10,000 flying suits.

By then, the interest of the public on zippers was already growing. By year 1923, Sundback patented the new machine for making fasteners that produced no waste and the B.F. Goodrich Company added fasteners to their rubber boots. It allowed people to close their boots fast with just one hand.

Zip is a word that appeared during mid-1800s which means to move rapidly. This was possibly influenced by the choice of a name for the boot of B.F. Goodrich. They referred to the model as zipper and this name was trademarked afterwards.

Sliding fasteners today still move to more new areas. The zippers by ZipperShipper.com are some of the best and highest quality of zippers that you can find in the market today that bear the long history that these fasteners has been through.  

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