We encounter them everyday. They are on our jeans, dresses, bags, throw pillow covers, even on the tents we used for weekend camping! Who should we thank for this ubiquitous and very useful invention?
Whitcomb L. Judson, who was a U.S.-born inventor, started a series of experiments. He came up with the clasp-locker, a product that was very much like the modern-day zipper. He was granted a patent for that on November 7, 1891. Years after that, Gideon Sundback had invented the ‘Hookless Fastener No. 2,’ which was a version with the very same concept as the zipper of today.
Judson followed the hook and eye model for his invention, while Sundback used the interlocking teeth model, the latter of which was better than the former.
However, even before these two important inventions, some people already came up with relatively similar ideas but with different results. Some time in 1851, Elias Howe was granted a patent in the U.S. for his device called ‘an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.’ It was very much like the zipper as it is today especially in terms of function. However, it has no slider, which made the concept somewhat different from the true zipper.