Zippers are devices that are fixed to things to fasten them together. They provide the same action as buttons, pins, buckles or laces.
An American mechanical engineer called Whitcomb Judson patented the zipper in August 1893.
Unfortunately, its biggest problem was that it did not work, and no one was interested. After displaying it for over 20 million people, only twenty people bought it.
In 1913, Gideon Sundback invented the modern zipper in 1913. This device worked great, except that it rusted shut after washing!
Sundback’s first order was supplying zippers for the U.S. Army’s clothing and equipment during World War I.
B.F. Goodrich bought about 150,000 of them in 1923 to fix on his new product, rubber galoshes, and suddenly everyone wanted zippers.
Until then, the zipper was called a ‘hookless fastener”. Goodrich liked the z-z-zip noise it created, and named it the zipper.
The design of the zipper as we know it today got two new additions along the way. It got a fastener and interlocking strong hooks made from nylon, sewn under infrared light.
The basic elements of a sipper are the stringer (the tape and teeth that make up one side of the zipper), the slider (opens and closes the zipper), the tap (pulled to move the slider), and the stops (prevents the slider from leaving the chain and coming off).
Metal zippers are made from stainless steel, aluminium, brass, zinc, or nickel silver. Sometimes they are coated, and sometimes they are painted to suite the many colours of textiles.
Zippers are also made from plastic or nylon, and the cloth tapes are made out of cotton, polyester, or a cotton-polyester blend.
They are fixed on to mostly clothes, and have therefore become quite popular in the textile and fashion industry.
Apart from that, they are also used on mattress covers, on shoes, on tents and many other things.