You can’t get more zippy than a zipper.

  • Zippers are an invention used to secure and close the edges of two pieces of material, commonly textiles.
  • A ‘zipper’ is also known as a ‘zip fastener’, ‘zip’ and ‘fly’, and it was once called a ‘clasp locker’.
  • Popularly zippers are utilised on clothing such as trousers, jackets or dresses, along with fabric camping items and baggage.
  • Zippers consist of two strips of teeth that link together or separate, when a central slider is moved across the strips.
  • Both plastic and metal materials can be used to produce a zipper, and the zip is typically attached to a fabric tape which allows it to be sewn or adhered to an item.
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Image courtesy of Clare Bell/Flickr
  •  The term ‘zipper’ is said to be derived from the ‘zip’ sound the invention makes when zipping, first used in 1923 by the American B. F. Goodrich Company, an aerospace company.
  • Zippers are notorious for breaking easily after significant use, such as when the slider fails to zip; it jams while zipping; or it detaches from a strip of teeth entirely.
  • An early zipper was first patented in 1851 by American Elias Howe Jr, a major innovator of the sewing machine; however the invention, known as a ‘fastening for garments’ was not commercially successful.
  • Some zippers are visible, however others are hidden from view under special textile flaps, and these zips are particularly useful for dresses or camouflage clothing.
  • The first patented zipper with a slider, filed in 1891, was designed by American Whitcomb Judson and it was called a ‘clasp locker’, and originally invented for use on shoes.
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