Some inventions have been around so long that one tends to forget that, once upon a time, somebody actually created it, and there was a time when the item did not exist. So it is with the zipper. From Wikipedia: “A zipper, zip, or zip fastener, is a commonly used device for binding the edges of an opening of fabric or other flexible material, as on a garment or a bag… It was invented by Gideon Sundbäck circa 1917 based on prior less effective fasteners, but many others have made improvements and different versions of the device.”
However, as About.com notes: “Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine received a patent in 1851 for an ‘Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.’ Perhaps it was the success of the sewing machine, which caused Elias not to pursue marketing his clothing closure. As a result, Howe missed his chance to become the recognized ‘Father of the Zip.'”
Others developed alternates, but none were viable, commercially and mechanically, until the Sundback model.
Here’s an Amazon citation to Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty by Robert D. Friedel.
I remember watching the June 20, 2010 episode of CBS Sunday Morning, which had a piece about the zipper.
My wife, if I should have my pants zipper, not all the way closed, will say to me, “XYZ,” which means eXamine Your Zipper.
The word zipper does have alternative references, to meanings in transportation, entertainment, and other uses. My personal favorite is Zipper Harris, the nephew of Zonker, in the Doonesbury cartoon newspaper strip.
Apropos of not much: this is is my 3000th blogpost to Ramblin’ with Roger. I’m much more into chronological thresholds than numerical ones. But there it is.