April 29, 2013 - Zipper Day

Zippity doo dah, zippity aye!

My, oh my, what a wonderful day

—because today is Zipper Day!

Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, obtained a patent for an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure (a zipperlike fastener). This was back in 1851, but Howe never bothered to market his invention. (He was busy succeeding with his sewing machine.)

A few decades later, Whitcomb Judson thought up a similar device he named a Clasp Locker. He actually manufactured and sold his device as a way to fasten shoes, but his invention never caught on.

A couple of decades after that, Gideon Sundback designed the modern zipper. He called his invention a Separable Fastener, and some sources state that he received a patent for his fastener on this date in 1913.

Still, no zippy name. It was B. F. Goodrich (or someone at his company) who came up with the word zipper, in the 1920s, when he used Sundback's fasteners on his rubber boots.

I think a good name can be important. Do you think we would make more than 14 billion Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closures per year—or miles of Separable Fasteners every day?
As I mentioned, miles of zippers are manufactured
every single day.
(But I don't mean this sort of gigantic zipper,
whatever it is!)

Count how many zippers you can spot in your home today. Some of the most common places are boots, purses, backpacks, luggage, pants, skirts, jackets, couch cushions, decorative pillows, sleeping bags, and tents—but you may find some zippers in other places, too!

Do a zipper race. One reason that zippers caught on is because they are fast at fastening things! Compare how long it takes to close a shirt or jacket with many buttons to a jacket with a zipper.

The virtual mascot on the National Geographic Kids website is named Zipper. Here are some “Zipper Games,” which have nothing to do with the separable fastener we celebrate today! 

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the publication of Roget's Thesaurus

Chemist Harold Urey's birthday

No comments:

Post a Comment