The Origin Of The Zipper

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The "clasp locker" was invented in 1890 and patented in 1893 by inventor and Civil War veteran Whitcomb Judson. In 1913, the design was improved by Gideon Sundback, who used interlocking teeth instead of hooks and eyes to fasten the closure. A pair of galoshes that debuted around this time helped the zipper gain popularity, and get its new name. The shoes were called zippers because of the sound the fastener made, and the name stuck.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Whitcomb Judson, born in 1844, invented the "clasp locker"—known today as the zipper. 00:03

  2. Whitcomb Judson had more than a dozen patents to his name when he invented the zipper in 1890. 00:16

  3. The first zipper uses a series of hooks and eyes instead of interlocking teeth. 00:35

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