“Doo You Know?” Who Invented The Zipper?

Elias Howe 3



     Hello.  Welcome to another “Doo You Know?”.  Today, I want to share with you what I learned about the invention of the zipper.

Elias Howe Zipper Patent




We talked about Elias Howe a couple of weeks ago and his part in the invention of the sewing machine, but he did much more.  I learned that in 1851, Elias also received a patent for an “Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure”.  Unfortunately, it was very crude and was never taken seriously.


whitcomb judson zipper patent




In 1893, Whitcomb Judson marketed a “Clasp Locker”, which was a complicated type of shoe fastener.  This fastener made its public debut at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  Unfortunately, it drew little attention.





Twenty years later, in 1913, Gideon Sundback designed the modern zipper.  Within the first year of operation, Sundback’s zipper-machinery was producing a few hundred feet of fastener per day.






Boots and tobacco pouches were the two main uses for the zipper, until around 1930, when they started showing up in children’s clothing.  In 1937, the zippered fly in men’s pants were introduced.

zipper 2




Today, you’ll find zippers in everything from clothing to luggage.  We even have them in many different types and colors.




I decided to look around my house and see how many zippers I could find and their uses.  Here’s what I found in 5 minutes of looking:

  • clothing
  • boots
  • purses
  • couch cushions
  • camera bag
  • luggage
  • coin purse
  • large storage bags
  • sleeping bags
  • tents

We even have a branch off of this with the invention of the zip lock plastic bags.


I’m sure there are a lot more uses for the zipper than what I mentioned here.  It certainly made me stop and think!

‘Til next week!






Credits:  http://wondrouscuriosity.net,  http://www.robinsonlibrary.com,  http://sewalot.com/, https://historyundusted.wordpress.com, http://the-golden-fingers.blogspot.com



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One Comment:

  1. Cool history lesson. I never knew this.

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