Nugget of Knowledge: The zipper

Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Whitcomb Judson invented the zipper in 1891, and it debuted at the World’s Fair in 1893.

He called it the clasp locker and he designed it for shoes, but he couldn’t get any manufacturer interested in it.

It was far from perfect. It kept popping open at the wrong times.

Just before World War I, an engineer named Gideon Sundback, working for Judson’s company, solved the problem by making the fastener smaller and more flexible — 10 teeth per inch.

He called it the separable fastener. Still, no one really wanted it.

Then, in 1918, the Army needed a flying suit for its airmen, and this new fastener or clasp locker was perfect. The Army ordered 10,000.

Finally, in 1923, Benjamin Franklin (BF) Goodrich saw the invention and liked the “zipping” noise it made.

He used these fasteners on the company’s new rubber boots and decided to call the new fastener a “zipper,” and that’s how the little slide fasteners got their name.

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