Have you ever wondered how the Industrial or Exposed Zipper (as some call it) came about? Well I did so I dug up some research and found some fun facts for ya;
-Elias Howe (who also invented the sewing machine) received the first patent for an‘Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure’ in 1851 however he didn’t market the zipper and so wasn’t considered the actual inventor. You snooze you loose buddy!
-In 1891 Witcomb B. Judson invented and marketed the ‘Clasp Locker’ which he also received a patent for. It wasn’t exactly the zipper as we know it today, it was more a series of hook and eye fasteners used primarily on shoes as shown in this photo here
-Then Gideon Sundback was hired by Whitcomb’s company and by 1913 he had designed the modern zipper by increasing the number of fasteners per inch from 4 to 11. He also designed the first manufacturing machine of the zipper. He received his patent in 1917 for the ‘Separable Fastener’ as he called it.
-In 1925 the name ‘Zipper’ was finally coined and registered as a trademark by B.F. Goodrich Co. The name itself came from the sound that the invention made when in use- how cool is that!
-The zipper was made to replace buttons and make it easier to get dressed. In fact it was so useful that it put a lot of button companies out of business.
-By 1930’s zippers became so widely used that the term ‘zipper’ now became generic similar to how we say Kleenex instead of tissue now.
–1934 YKK Group was formed, one of the largest zipper manufacturers of today
-Heavy duty larger zippers were originally used for upholstery and other ‘industrial’ things but were soon used as decorative trim on clothing in mid 1960’s.
This is where we get the term Industrial Zipper from! To think something that was invented some 160 yrs ago for a pure functional purpose is now being used also for fashionable purposes is amazing! Here are some favorites from my Wishlist- all with industrial zippers (Click photos for link to buy). Which one of these is also your fashion crush right now?? I personally love the Joe Zee blazer as the peplum can zip completely off!
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