Day 352 of Colourisation Project – April 24
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
He was the “Father of the Zip” – No, not Kevin Rudd, (for non-Australian readers, he was our former Prime Minister. He had a nifty device for drawing press conferences to a close; –he would simply thank journalists, say “gotta zip now”, and exit stage left.
The title goes to Swedish-American, Gideon Sundback, an electrical engineer born this day April 24, 1880. He was the inventor of the modern-day zipper. When Sundback received his patent for the “Hookless No. 2” zipper, also known as ‘Separable Fastener’, he had no idea that his design would forever change the fashion industry.
Initially, this little mechanical wonder was applied only to boots and tobacco pouches. When it was launched onto the market in 1914, fashion designers didn’t immediately jump at this innovation. Why replace buttons, hooks, and clasps? Why fix something that ‘aint broke’ ?
Fashion historian, Ronald Knoth explains, “Despite the device’s attributes, the public was not receptive. The pulpit decried, ‘The Hookless Fastener’ as ‘the Devils fingers,’ [because it made it easier] to remove clothing with autonomy.”
It wasn’t until 1923 that term ‘zipper’ was coined and it would take another fifteen years before it seriously caught on in the fashion industry. Today, Sundback’s simple yet revolutionary zipper, based on interlocking teeth, is not a novelty but an indispensable item in the world of fashion.
Sundback was also responsible for creating the manufacturing machine for his new zipper. In 2006 Sundback was included in the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention.
Gideon Sundback died on June 21, 1954 of a heart condition at the age of 74.