How World War I Helped Promote the Zipper

How World War I Helped Promote the Zipper
August 9, 2022

Anya Peters eloquently said, “where there’s bad, there’s always good nearby. That’s nature’s way.” This thought remains true in some ways for World War I. While the atrocities of the war are obvious, the historical moment helped create some useful inventions we still use today, with one of those innovations being the zipper. Let’s teach you how World War I helped promote the zipper.

The Concept

The zipper concept dates further back than World War I, but it didn’t have the name as we know it today. Elias Howe patented the idea in the early 1850s, yet it wasn’t until 1893 when Whitcomb L. Judson created “closing devices with a slide mechanism.” Judson coined his invention the “clasp hooker” and began his own business. Unfortunately for Judson, the updated mechanism tore more clothing than it fastened.

Sundback’s Prophecy

Judson’s protégé, Gideon Sundback, had bigger and better ideas for this gadget, so he patented his version of the fastener in 1917. Sundback had a more modern touch since his version is virtually the same type of zipper we still see today.

Sundback started his business with the more effective fastener and had tremendous success. He could credit Robert J. Ewing as the main reason for his prominence because Ewing used the zipper in money belts.

Show Me the Money

World War I had catastrophic results for many families, cities, and countries. But one of the few winners was Sundback because Ewing’s vision of using Sundback’s invention on money belts took off.

Considering that uniforms didn’t have pockets, money belts were helpful to keep soldiers’ items safe and secure with a closed zipper. Before the zipper, buttons were the most common form of fastening, and Sundback’s clasping device proved it’s worth sticking around.

Aftermath of WWI

With the war in the rearview mirror, Sundback’s company kept trucking along while B.F. Goodrich came up with the name “zipper” for the product because of the sound it made.

Sundback’s company made well over 10,000 zipper products, receiving plenty of acclaim. Two of the most popular zipper items were boots and galoshes because of how functional the zipper was for footwear.

It’s astounding to think it took a battle across the globe for zippers to catch on. But now that you understand how World War I helped promote the zipper, you can take that as a silver lining.

FixnZip continues the innovation made all those years ago as we have invented some of the best zipper partstoday! Our extraordinary zipper can handle any of your zipper concerns, whether it’s jammed, or you need a replacement. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out; we’ll be happy to assist you.

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