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History of the Zipper

Gideon Sundback's "Hookless" fastener designs and patents helped launch the modern zipper industry

The greatest advancement in fashion did not get off to the best start. Tired of fastening his shoes with the intricate system using buttons and hooks Whitcombe L. Judson, a mechanical engineer from Chicago decided enough was enough. His vision was to create a time saving device to bypass the minutes taken to refasten garments. His invention of the Clasp Locker was premiered in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair.

The device took two years to develop and get a patent for the sliding mechanism that joined two chains of alternating hooks and eye locks, the two chains became then linked until the Clasp Locker was pulled the other way to release it. During his lifetime Judson worked on perfecting the device forming the company C-Curity in 1904. and trying to sell it to clothing manufacturers, unfortunately for his the companies found that distribution and manufacture would be too expensive so they declined.

It was only after his death in 1909 that things started to take off for the device. A former employee by the name of Gideon Sundback took it upon himself to complete his bosses vision. Sundback was an electrical engineer from Canada when he started working for the company, but soon his background enabled his to invent the affordable and practical fastening device that we know and use today.

Orginially the zipper and zip were adopted by a money-belt maker who distributed them on his button free money belts. The fasteners took off when a tobacco pouch entrepreneur marketed the string free pouches. Called 'Locktite Tobacco Pouches' they were a big hit with the slogan “Keeps tobacco right. No strings - No buttons.”

In 1937 the zipper defeated the button once and for all when fashion designers installed the zip in men's trousers. With Esquire magazine naming it the 'Newest Tailoring Idea for Men'. With that validation the zipper overshadowed the button as the way to fasten trousers to avoid those embarrassing moments where you forget to button up.

Browse our Zipper selection for a complete list of zipper products. We are the North American zipper supplier.

Here at PacCana we follow the fine tradition of the zipper as an essential device for luggage, backpacks, bags, and fashion accessories with a vast array of quality ">zippers and zipper parts for all tastes and occasions.