Saturday, 20 October 2012


Who Ever Came Up With Zips?

After struggling with sewing my latest zip into a tiny pouch, I got to wondering how this amazing invention ever came about. So ... after a bit of research I can tell you ...


A "continuous clothing" device was the first time a 'zipper' as such was patented by Elias Howe in 1851. He was rather preoccupied at this time, trying to perfect a sewing machine he had earlier invented in 1846, and so never concentrated on this small wonder long enough to take the 'zip' to the masses.

Whitcomb Judson, an inventor, patented a similar "clasp locker" in 1893 and by 1905 these early 'zips' were being widely used in the clothing industry. One of Judson's employees, a Swedish scientist called Gideon Sundbach, refined the "clasp locker" into "the hookless fastener" and later an improved version known as "the seperable fastener" was patented in 1917 and immediately became the successful fastener we know today.

By the beginning of World War One the invention was so reliable and well known that the US Army ordered it to be included on all army clothing and equipment for the troops. It is thought that at this time the term 'zipper' and later 'zip' came into common usage. (Maybe ... "Walter your seperable fastener is undone and we don't want to scare the horses" ... was a bit of a mouthful!)

Zip it up!

Today the majority of zips are made by the YKK Group. Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, a company founded by Tadoa Yoshida in 1934,  makes around ninety percent of the worlds output. Many zips still bear the initials YXX on the zip closure.

All colours and sizes

Beckham zip dress



  1. useful little device... apart form the tatoo! ouch!

  2. Really interesting...yes I dont like the tattoo much either. I was just looking at the zip on the back pocket of my leather bag yesterday and thinking what craftsmanship it was to get it so neat. I cant imagine trying to put one into a tiny pouch.

  3. Annabelle your a mind of information.
    Well done very interesting.

  4. Gosh, 90% from one manufacturer, that's quite a market share, why would that bloke want a tattoo like that! Nowt so queer as folk!!


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