Why Is the Zipper Important?

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Zippers can be decorative as well as functional.
Zippers can be decorative as well as functional. (Image: Zipper image by Czintos Ödön from Fotolia.com)

Zippers not only make it more convenient to fasten your clothing, they also can be created so they’re wind and waterproof and can make life easier for people with disabilities.

Features

You can find all kinds of zippers, from heavy duty metal zippers to delicate plastic zippers for underclothes. Zippers let you put on warmer clothing quickly, something that's important for people working in extreme conditions. Zippers are also important for people with certain disabilities because buttons can be frustrating if you have problems with your hands or arms.

History

The story of the zipper starts in 1851. Elias Howe, originator of the sewing machine, patented what he called An Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure. He didn't develop this idea, however. Forty years later, Whitcomb L. Judson patented the Clasp Locker or Unlocker for Shoes. It was clumsy and did not catch on. Gideon Sundback introduced the first modern zipper in 1913. The B. F. Goodrich Company saw the importance of the invention for its rubber footwear.

Fun Fact

Before its usefulness was recognized the zipper was seen as a novelty. Some 1920s clergy thought that being able to take your clothes off faster would lead to promiscuity.

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