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Law

The History Behind the Zipper Patent

You may not know, but the zipper patent has quite the history and dates all the way back to1851. It grew success during World War I and is still used across the world today. From jeans to sweaters to boots, we use zippers on many everyday items!

Elias Howe – 1851

Elias Howe was an American inventor who designed one of the first versions of the zipper back in 1851. Howe has the idea to get a patent for the sliding fastener, but he was so involved in working on the first machine. Since he was too busy promoting the sewing machine, Howe didn’t end up applying for the patent.

Whitcomb L. Judson – 1893

Whitcomb L. Judson was an entrepreneur who secured 2 U.S. patents back in 1893 for an “automatic closing device by a slide mechanism”. There was even a slogan out for the device, “a pull and it’s done”. Judson decided to bring Gideon Sundback on board to help in 1906. Sundback was an engineer, but they ended up designing a version of the zipper that didn’t work they wanted. But that didn’t stop Sundback and he applied for his own patent for a fastener similar to the zipper back in 1917.

Sundback, World War I and after

Sundback’s patent in 1917had instant success among the sailors in World War I. The uniforms included a money belt that included the hookless fasteners. In 1923, Sundback patented a new fastener making machine and this helped his fastener become even more popular. The latest model of fastener was used on boots, which is where the trademark name zipper came from in the 1930s. Since then, the zipper has only gotten better and is popular more now than ever. If you are thinking of getting your own patent, always speak with a Scottsdale patent attorney first.