The Zipper
1851 Elias Howe
Sometimes we fail to realize the true potential and let it pass by. It happened to Elias Howe, when he invented the sewing machine along with an automatic, continuous clothing closure. The sewing machine turned out to be a resounding success but he dint pursue marketing of the closing closure, which resulted in an opportunity loss.
1893 Whitcomb L Judson
The idea of clothing closures or fasteners was pursued passionately by Whitcomb L. Judson and it was patented to him in United States of America. He was rewarded with the title 'Father of the Zipper' which was narrowly missed by Elias Howe.

It may be amusing to know that Judson invented the slide fastener thanks to his friends stiff back, who couldn't do up his shoes. Judson came up with slide fastener that could be opened and closed with one hand. Later it proved to be useful.
1905 The C-Curity Fastner
Made of Thin Sheets of Steel, the automatic hook and eye fastener allowed free movement as it was clamped together with right spacing. When it was used on ladies' garments it was called Placket Fastener.
1913 Gideon Sundback
Immigrating from Sweden to Canada, Sundback joined the Universal Fastener Company. There he worked on improving the Judson C-Curity Fasetner and designed the modern zipper. Earning him the recognition of having invented the modern zipper. He also introduced innovations like automatic hook, flexible fastener and a new eye, termed 'Plako' to the Judson design.

Sundback patented his first hook-less separable fastener in the USA in 1917 which became the foundation patent for the zipper industry.

Sundback was also the inventor of the Scoop used in garments, bags, trousers and aviation suits. He continued the good work with S-L Zipper Machine, models of varying size (#4, #5 and #6 in 1922), giving more flexibility to users.
The Zipper
The B. F. Goodrich company used fasteners on tobacco pouches and boots and they renamed the good old fastener as Zipper. The term Zippers came to a popular usage in America. But exactly why was the fastener called Zip?

To find out, let us closely examine the fastener itself. The fastener consists of two strips of fabric tape, each carrying tens or hundreds of specially shaped metal plastic teeth. Then there is the slider, operated by the hand, riding up and down the two sets of teeth thanks to a 'Y' shaped channel; fastening and unfastening. The friction of slider aginst the teeth cause a characteristic buzzing noise. Most probably this buzzing noise was the reason why slide fasteners were called Zippers!

Over the years zippers have transformed from a useful curiosity to a necessary accessory to clothing and much more. From the ferocious soldier on the war front to the cool dude chasing skirts, from the toughest diving suits tot the softest baby apparel, zippers are everywhere. Adding value and evolving with mankind.