The zipper

Who invented the zipper?

"Have you ever counted the number of buttons on a lawyer's robe?"

Have you ever counted the number of buttons on a lawyer’s robe? 33, as the age of Christ at his death. Originally, this corporation was represented by clergymen who wore cassocks. They never took advantage of the invention of Elias Howe who, after having developed the first model of sewing machine, filed a patent in 1851 (without exploiting it commercially) for a device which was called: zipper.

"He finds it too boring to tie his shoes with all those buttons."

But it is Whitcomb Judson who should be thanked. He finds it too boring to tie his shoes with all those buttons. He eventually filed a new patent (in 1893) for a more advanced slide system. Convinced that the principle was revolutionary, he founded a company, the Universal Fastener Co. It markets a zipper that opens and closes with eyelets and hooks.

"Reliability and practicality are not there."

Reliability and practicality were not forthcoming and Judson ended up spending more time and energy on another invention, the pneumatic tramway, which eventually failed. By chance or by destiny, a young employee of Universal Fastener developed the first zipper of modern times. It was composed of small teeth that fit into each other with an integrated slider. The invention was patented in 1917.

"'Ziiiip,' its characteristic sound when raised or lowered, will inspire Americans to find a name for it."

Its characteristic “Ziiiip” sound when it is raised or lowered will inspire the Americans to find a name for it: zipper. In 1917, French soldiers discovered the zipper that was used on the shoes of American troops who had come to help them repel the German invaders. The French were won over and named it Zipper® to emphasize its speed.

Despite competition from Velcro®, the small zipper is still a nearly $10 billion market today.