Who invented zipper?

The credit of inventing zipper goes to Whitcomb Judson of Chicago in 1891. He got the patent for this clasp locker in August 1893. Judson was tired of tying his shoe laces and then had an idea of inventing hook and eye fasteners for the shoes. Though it is believed that in 1851 Howe made the first zipper in the name of Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure but he was to busy with his sewing machine invention that he could not devote time to the marketing of the same. Judson was a mechanical engineer by profession. Judson with a businessman Lewis Walker started a joint venture and established the first manufacturing company of zippers named “The Universal Fastening Company” to produce the shoe fasteners. The fasteners were brought to public through the Chicago World Fair in 1893. The response to the product was not good.

In 1913, Gideon Sandbank, a Swedish born electrical engineer was hired by the Universal Fastening Company and he introduced the improved version of the zipper. Instead of hook and eye method it used metal teeth which appeared more practical. This invention was patented as separable fasteners in 1917.

B. F. Goodrich Company gave the product its popular name zipper. Around that time the zipper could make its place in shoes and tobacco pouches. It was in 1930s that the zippers became an integral part of fashion industry, when the public got convinced that zipper was a better substitution over buttons.

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