Fact File about the Invention of the Zipper: Invention: Zipper *** Date of Invention: 1913 *** Name of Inventor: Gideon Sundback *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1880 - 1954 *** Nationality of Inventor: Swedish-American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution / Victorian (1850 - 1914) *** Category: Clothing and Apparel *** Country of Origin: Sweden *** Facts about the Inventor, Gideon Sundback, and the invention of the Zipper ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Zipper? Prior to the invention of the Zipper by
Gideon Sundback in 1913, clothes fasteners consisted of bone needles, laces,
ties, leather girdles or belts, brooches, hooks and buttons. All of the
fasteners were time consuming and fiddly and required two hands to fasten items
Fact 2: Who invented the Zipper? The Zipper, originally the "Seperable
Fastener" was invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 - 1914),
a useful addition in the area of Clothing and Apparel. But other inventors had
previously attempted to create a clothes fastener.
Fact 3: Who invented the Zipper? In 1846 Elias Howe patented the world's
first practical Sewing Machine and in 1851
received a patent for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure" but the device
was more like an elaborate drawstring than a true slide fastener. Elias Howe
clearly recognized the need to create a new type of clothes fastener but did not
seriously try to market it.
Fact 4: Who invented the Zipper? American inventor Whitcomb L. Judson
(March 7, 1846 – December 7, 1909) designed a "Clasp locker or unlocker for
shoes" device to speed up the tedious task of fastening the high-button boots
that were in fashion at the time. Whitcomb L. Judson received patent number US
504038 A on 29 August, 1893 for his invention for "automatically engaging
or disengaging an entire series of clasps by a single continuous movement".
Fact 5: Who invented the Zipper? However, Whitcomb L. Judson's invention
was more like an elaborate drawstring than a true slide fastener. He introduced
his invention of the "Clasp locker or unlocker for shoes" at the 1893 Chicago
World's Fair, aka the World's Columbian Exposition, but the fastener kept
Fact 6: Who invented the Zipper? Despite the failure of his 'Clasp
Locker' invention Whitcomb L. Judson launched the Fastener Manufacturing and
Machine Company to produce the new device, but it was never a practical device.
Judson made the "C-curity" clasp-locker fastener in 1905 to improve the failings
of the clasp locker and changed the company's name to the Automatic Hook & Eye
Co. The "C-curity" clasp-locker fastener still had a tendency to spring
open when it was flexed and was not a commercial success
Fact 7: Who invented the Zipper? In 1906 a Swedish-American electrical
engineer called Gideon Sundback was hired to work for the company. Whitcomb L.
Judson died in 1909 and it was Gideon Sundback, still working for the Automatic
Hook & Eye Co., that became determined to work on the development of the
fastener. It was Gideon Sundback who invented the zipper.
Fact 8: Who invented the Zipper? The inventor of the Zipper, Gideon Sundback, was born on April 24, 1880 in Jonkoping Municipality, Smaland, Sweden and died on June 21, 1954.
Fact 9: Who invented the Zipper? The early years of Gideon Sundback were
spent in Jonkoping Municipality, Smaland, Sweden where he was raised by his
family. Gideon Sundback was educated at Bingen am Rhein polytechnic school and
qualified as an engineer
Fact 10: Who invented the Zipper? In 1905, Gideon Sundback emigrated to
the United States and found work at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing
Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Fact 11: Who invented the Zipper? In 1906 he was hired to work for the
Automatic Hook & Eye Co. owned by Whitcomb L. Judson. The "C-curity"
clasp-locker fastener had not been a success for the company but other inventors
had seen the gap in the market for a new type of fastener and Gideon Sundback
believed in the great potential of the product.
Fact 12: Who invented the Zipper? Whitcomb L. Judson died in 1909
and Gideon Sundback, now the chief engineer at the Automatic Hook & Eye Co., was
determined to work on the development of the fastener.
Fact 13: Who invented the Zipper? Gideon Sundback developed a new product
called the Plako but the fastener had problems and would pop open and the get
stuck in the position. The Plako was another failure.
Fact 14: Who invented the Zipper? The hooks were the elements that caused
the malfunction so Gideon Sundback began working on a way to eliminate hooks
altogether. His next design had clasps on one side that fitted over a bead on
the other side with a slider to open and close the device, it was a "Hookless
Fact 15: Who invented the Zipper? On April 29, 1913 Gideon Sundback,
assigned by the Automatic Hook & Eye Co., was issued with patent number
1,060,378 (US) for the "Seperable Fastener", also referred to as the "Hookless
Fastener", which was the forerunner to the modern zipper.
Fact 16: Who invented the Zipper? The new product achieved moderate
success during WW1 (1914 - 1918) when hookless fasteners were sewn into flying
suits to make them windproof. However it was their inclusion in tobacco pouches
and boots that proved commercially successful.
Fact 17: Who invented the Zipper? The name 'zipper' was created in 1923
by the B.F. Goodrich company, who used the device on their new boots. The origin
of the word 'zipper' reflected the meaning of the word 'zip' meaning to "move
Fact 18: Who invented the Zipper? Retailers in the clothing industry were
prone to sticking with traditional materials and design methods and were slow to
incorporate the zipper into their designs. The zipper eventually placed button
in men's trousers in 1927. Zippers did not become common in women's dresses
until the late 1930s. The famous fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, led the
way choosing zippers to set her designs of 1935.
Fact 19: Who invented the Zipper? By the 1940's the zipper was in
widespread use and WW2 (1939 - 1940) saw the inclusion of zippers in military
Fact 20: Who invented the Zipper? By the 1950s, the zipper was the
default fastener for everything from purses, shoes, wallets, backpacks to all
types of clothes. The invention of Velcro by George de Mestral
invented Velcro which followed the zipper as another type of fastener in 1948.
Fact 21: Who invented the Zipper? Gideon Sundback died of a heart
condition on June 21, 1954 and was interred at Greendale Cemetery in Meadville,
Pennsylvania. His name will always be remembered as the inventor of the zipper.