Who Invented the Zipper?

One of the most overlooked items in our closet, the zipper. Have you ever wondered where it came from or how it came to be? Here is a little insight into the trim that most of us use everyday.

The “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure”, was patented in 1851 by Elias Howe was more was more like a drawstring fastener than a sliding fastener. He never tried to market the closure.

In 1893, Whitcomb Justin, created a more complicated hook and eye shoe fastener. He called it the “Clasp Locker”. With the support of Colonel Lewis Walker, Whitcomb started the Universal Fastener company. The Clasp Locker was debuted at 1893 Chicago World Fair which was not well received.

In 1901 Whitcomb reorganized his company and moved to New Jersey. Whitcomb hired engineer Gideon Sundback. The company’s move to Pennsylvania and later became the company that we know today as Talon. It was only after the death of Sundback’s wife, that he immersed himself into designing a better fastener. By December of 1913, Sundback created the hookless fastener and 1914 the separable fastener, which he received a patent for in 1917.

It’s popularity only grew in 1923, when B.F. Goodrich added the fasteners to its galaches. These fasteners acquired the nickname of zippers, because of the sound they made when zipped up.

Today there are a handful of zipper manufactures, including UCAN Zippers. We have been making zippers for the past 29 years and continue to look for ways to improve the zipper. Check out our luxury zipper line (G2) as an example of how far zippers have evolved.

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