The Mighty Zipper Should Never Be Forgotten 

The Mighty Zipper Should Never Be Forgotten 

October 13, 2021 Off By Chloe

Velcro may look victorious, but yet the 100-year-old invention continues to reign.

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 the early 1890s, Whitcomb L. Judson, an inventor, developed and created a device with an awkward name “clasp locker.” Similar to the zippers used these days, device made by Judson used a mechanical slide for bringing two rows of joinable elements together. 

Nothing like modern zippers, Judson’s device had joinable elements made up of eyelets and hooks. The row of metal hooks was sewn on the edge of one portion of the textile while the row of metal eyelets was sewn on the edge of the textile’s opposing side. 

The mechanical slide united these eyelets and hooks in sequence. The clasp locker of Judson was a precursor to today’s zipper. It is ironic that while eyelets and hooks are not used on zippers anymore, they make up the basic elements of the space-age Velcro, the most contemporary of all fasteners that is a fabric in itself.

Judson didn’t have the business acumen for seeing his invention through for profitable manufacture, distribution, and sales. He teamed up with businessmen Lewis Walker and Harry Earle to establish the Universal Fastener Company that soon became Talon International In, the leading manufacturer of zippers during the mid-20th century. The company introduced the clasp locker of Judson to the American public during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago but rumor has it that it had little fanfare in spite of the 27 million people who attended that was already half the population  of the United State during that time.

When the mid-1910s came, Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American electrical engineer, improved Judson’s design with the use of rows of metal teeth of uniformed size instead of eyelets and hooks. He also changed the density of conjoining teeth from around 4 to about 10 for every inch. The resulting attachment became stronger with lesser risks of pulling apart. Sundback’s new design was patented in 1917 and this is basically the design that continues to be used today. 

Not a lot of pay attention to zippers unless their body part gets caught or it fails all of a sudden. However, if you care to look around, zippers can actually be found everywhere. And even to this day, in an era of Velcro, spandex, and elastic, zippers adorn numerous garments including skirts and pants to jackets and boots. Even better, you can also find them on myriad containers like backpacks, luggage, and wallets. Can you imagine camping without zippers? Bugs will surely fill up your tent in no time. Although zippers weren’t able to replace buttons, clasps, snaps, or other types of fasteners, you will be hard-pressed to think of a different technological improvement for clothing that was so revolutionary but is very underappreciated.

Without a doubt, when you think of modern conveniences, high-tech devices such as smartphones, , iPads, GPS units and other gadgets often come to mind. Mundane items such as paper clips, combs, and zippers often go unnoticed. But, their technological elegance paved way to significant degree of staying power despite the rapidly changing technology.

Don’t think twice and go shopping for zippers at to experience their remarkable mightiness.