Tuesday, April 23, 2024



By Mary Davis

National Zipper Day is April 29th.


I don’t think about zippers on a daily basis even though I use them almost every day. They are so much a part of life, yet we hardly consider them even while zipping them up or down. Zippers are on everything from clothing, luggage, purses, camping gear, and a wide array of other items. I can’t imagine life without this marvelous modern device. Well, I can imagine it, but I don’t like it.


We have not one but three inventors to thank for the modern zipper.


It all started with Elias Howe, Jr., who invented the lockstitch sewing machine in 1846. A few years later, he invented the predecessor to the modern zipper, receiving a patent in 1851 for his “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure”. This device was a series of movable clasps connected with a drawstring. So, a zipper-ish. However, he didn’t pursue marketing it and doesn’t always get credit for inventing the “zipper.”


Elias Howe, Jr.

Forty-two years later, Whitcomb Judson developed the “clasp locker” similar to Howe’s description in his patent. Judson’s complicated hook-and-eye system debuted at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He and businessman Colonel Lewis Walker formed the Universal Fastener Company to produce the device. However, it wasn’t a huge hit.


Whitcomb Judson

Swedish-born Gideon Sundbäck was hired by Judson and Walker’s Universal Fastener Company and added his stamp on the invention in 1913. He increased the number of teeth per inch from four to ten or eleven and received a patent for it in 1917. He also developed a machine to manufacture this new version of the separable fastener. Unfortunately, the clasp locker struggled to find favor in the clothing industry.


Gideon Sundbäck

So how did this modern marvel go from clasp locker or separable fastener to zipper? A name that perfectly fit it and so much easier to say. We have the B. F. Goodrich Company to thank for that in 1923. They used the device on a new style of rubber boots (a.k.a. galoshes). The fastener made a zip sound, so Goodrich called it a zipper. The name stuck. Even so, zippers still didn’t find success and were mainly relegated to boots and tobacco pouches.


In the 1930s, a campaign was launched to put zippers in children’s clothing to help them be independent and dress themselves. But it wasn’t until 1937 when a French fashion designer praised the zipper as perfect for men’s trousers and the “Battle of the Fly” that the zipper won out over buttons. Soon, these revolutionary fasteners zipped into clothing everywhere.


Now, thousands of miles of zippers are produced every day to meet our needs. Amen!



Historical Romance Series

By Mary Davis

THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT (Book1) – Will a secret clouding a single mother’s past cost Lily her loved ones?

THE DAUGHTER’S PREDICAMENT (Book2) *SELAH & WRMA Finalist* – As Isabelle’s romance prospects turn in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams.

THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (Book3) *SELAH Winner* – Nicole heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband. Can she learn to be enough of a lady to snag the handsome rancher?

THE DÉBUTANTE’S SECRET (Book4) – Complications arise when a fancy French lady steps off the train and into Deputy Montana’s arms.



MARY DAVIS, bestselling, award-winning novelist, has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her latest release is THE LADY’S MISSION. Her other novels include THE DÉBUTANTE'S SECRET (Quilting Circle Book 4) THE DAMSEL’S INTENT (The Quilting Circle Book 3) is a SELAH Award Winner. Some of her other recent titles include; THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT, THE DAUGHTER'S PREDICAMENT, “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection, Prodigal Daughters Amish series, "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-seven years and one cat. She has three adult children and three incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting today, and for the history of the zipper. The things we didn't know we needed to know!!!