The zipper, although not exactly considered "sophisticated" technology to most people, is one of the most widely used mechanisms of the past and present century. First shown to the public at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and commercially released in 1923 by the B.F. Goodrich Company, zippers debuted as fasteners for rubber boots and galoshes. A century after its invention, zippers' uses range from boots to tobacco pouches, children's clothing, bags, luggage, pants, gowns, seat covers, plastic pencil cases, and even for surgical procedures.
Boots and Galoshes
After Gideon Sundbach modified the earlier version of the zipper, B.F. Goodrich produced boots and galoshes that were fastened by zippers. The device allowed the boots to be easily fastened with a single zip by the hand. Its name came from the zipping sound the contraption made. Today, the use of zipper boots helps firefighters dress quickly during emergencies.
Fastening clothes before the advent of zippers required rows of buttons and complicated ties. In 1933, children's clothing integrated the use of zippers. Its use promoted self-reliance for children as they learned to dress themselves without help from their parents. Compared to the buttoned clothes children previously had to wear, the zipper enabled them to dress and undress more easily.
French fashion designers in 1937 first utilized zippers as fasteners for trousers and pants. In the same year, the Duke of Windsor popularized the use of zippers in men's clothing when he sported their use on many of his garments. Today, zippers appear on lots of men's apparel, including hunting jackets, overshoes and some overcoats.
In 2000, surgical zippers were first tested on patients in the United States. After a medical procedure, the surgeon lays a surgical zipper over the incision and zips the wound close. Studies conducted showed that the use of this technique is non-evasive and atraumatic. This poses a potential alternative to conventional methods of wound closures, such as suturing, stapling and taping. Health experts agree that using surgical zippers might prove safe and cost-effective. It also enables doctors to perform more surgeries as the device saves time in the operating room.
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