National Zipper Day is observed each year on April 29th. This day celebrates something that we often do not think about and just automatically take for granted.
It was first in 1851 that Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, received a patent for an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.” Howe never made an attempt to market his invention and missed the recognition he may have received.
Forty-two years later, Whitcomb Judson began selling the “Clasp Locker.” Being very similar to Elias Howe’s patent, this device served as a more complicated hook-and-eye shoe fastener. Judson started the Universal Fastener Company where he manufactured his new device and debuted it at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 but was met with little success. Because Judson put his invention before the public for sale, he earned credit as its creator.
In 1906, Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American electrical engineer, was hired to work Universal Fastener Company. He was highly skilled and known for his devotion to the company. In 1913, he invented the modern zipper. The patent for the “Separable Fastener” was issued in 1917.
By 1923, B.F. Goodrich popularized the word zipper as it applied to use in the boots and pouches it made. The company even copyrighted the name for a time.