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A Cleaner World Blog

Recently, we paid homage to the button by discussing why men’s and women’s shirts buttoned on different sides. This week, I thought it only fair that I share a little history on the humble zipper. After all, the zipper plays an important role in our everyday dress. Remember button-fly jeans? Thankfully that craze didn’t last long.

History of the Zipper

  • It took three individuals to come up with the zipper, the first being Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. Howe received a patent in 1851 for an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure but didn’t market the invention because he was too busy selling his sewing machine.
  • Over 40 years passed before another inventor took a stab at the zipper; this time Whitcomb Judson began marketing his Clasp Locker as a fastener for shoes. He started the Universal Fastener Company in order to have a place to produce his new invention. The product made its first appearance at the 1893 World’s Fair but failed to catch on.
  • Finally, Gideon Sundback, an employee at Universal Fastener Company, received a patent for his Separable Fastener in 1917. His design was the first one to bear a resemblance to today’s zipper.

Interestingly enough, none of these gentlemen came up with the name. B. F. Goodrich Company used the device as a way to fasten a new type of rubber boots, and they were the ones to give the device the name zipper.

It took another 20 years before the fashion industry began using zippers on clothes. One of the first uses? Replacing the buttons on men’s trousers with zippers!

Zippers are such a clever and practical invention. If you ever have a zipper get stuck or break, A Cleaner World can easily replace them so that you can continue wearing your favorite pieces for years to come.

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