Happy Zipper Day!
The history of the zipper is actually very fascinating. It was invented in 1851 by Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. He patented his invention, but never marketed it and did not get the recognition received by Whitcomb Judson forty two years later. Judson started the Universal Fastener Company and produced a more complicated version of Howe’s fastener. It was debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was never very popular, but Judson did receive credit for inventing the zipper since he was the first to market it. It wasn’t until 1913, when Giden Sundback, working for the Universal Fastener Company, designed the modern day zipper which became popular with the masses. And in 1923, the B.F. Goodrich Company named it the zipper. Today it is the most popular method of fastening clothing, even more popular than the button.
Zippers Buttons and Bows written and illustrated by Karen Fung (2000) is a popular children’s book for the preK crowd. In addition to a delightful little story, children get to practice zipping, buttoning, and tying on each page.
Mrs. Toggle’s Zipper written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by R.W. Alley (1990) tells the story of poor Mrs. Toggle who can’t get out of her coat when her zipper gets stuck. Several adults try to help to no avail, but it’s a child who finally solves the problem.
I Wonder Why Zippers Have Teeth and Other Questions About Inventions written and illustrated by Barbara Taylor (1996) may help answer any other questions you have about zippers (and other inventions).