History of the zipper

09/12/2021

It is almost certain that if we take a look at our wardrobe and our shoe rack, we will find many zippers in our clothes and shoes (Traditionally, buttons or laces were used to close garments). This small mechanism, now common and widely used almost all over the world, has a little history:

It all started in 1851. Its developer was a man named Elías Howe, who patented what would be today the predecessor of the zipper, and which consisted of a small device that allowed a piece of clothing to be closed continuously. Still, the novelty failed prematurely and never made it to the market.

After about forty years another idea developed, this time in the hands of Whitcomb L. Judson. The goal was to find a way to hold the shoe using hooks. 

The zipper used today has eyes and hooks (teeth) on the edges of the opening. When moving a slider in the direction of the opening, it locks the teeth, thus closing the opening. It was invented in St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada, by Gideon Sundback, who had been born in Sweden and immigrated to Canada. He was an employee of W.L. Judson and married his daughter. He invented the Hookless Fastener in 1913, patented it in 1917 as the "detachable holder," and helped Judson improve the zipper.

Based on the first idea, he developed it to improve it and turn it into a truly useful product. In the following decades it became very popular, expanding its use in all kinds of clothing, especially in men's pants and children's clothing. It is known by several names, the most famous being: zipper, zipper, zipper and éclair. 

What uses does it have ?

Basically it could be summarized in two main areas, which would be clothing and luggage (for example backpacks or suitcases). It is also quite common to see it in schools, as many children use zipper cases to store pencils and pens.

It is used to join two parts of a piece, such as being able to close a coat or parka so that air does not enter and thus maintain body heat, to be able to close a dress from behind, etc. There are so many materials and types of zippers that some of them are totally invisible (for example: the zippers that are usually found on sofa cushions are generally not visible). 

Another example (and perhaps the most famous) is that of the trouser fly. Although at first it was more to make it easier for men to go to urinate more quickly and comfortably, today there are many pants that use this system, both for men and women. The zippers help so that the pants do not have to be too wide at the waist and that they can be put on well. 

Parts of a zipper. The zipper is made up of several parts (up to 12!) And of which we highlight:


- The stops: both the upper and lower, which are the part that will stop the zipper so that it does not go up or down any more. 

- The slider or cursor, which is the piece that goes up and down and to which a handle is attached to facilitate its movement. 

- The tooth: each of the parts in which the slider is glued to complete its action. 

There are leading companies such as the Mexican TEK Cierres Tecnología, the Polish PERSYL Fabryka Zamków Blyskawicznych, the Spanish Cremalleras Rubi, the Mexican Cierres y Accesorios BBJ KCC Group, Tex Corp, the Japanese YKK, the Peruvian Corporación Rey or the Colombian Eka Cierres, which They manufacture various types of zippers such as "invisible zippers", metal zippers, and plastic or nylon zippers. 

Own sources and from: 

https://naisa.es/blog/historia-de-la-cremallera-y-usos/

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremallera_(indumentaria)