The modern interlocking zipper was perfected in 1914 by Swedish-born Gideon Sundback. “Sundbäck developed a version based on interlocking teeth, the “Hookless No. 2″, which was the modern metal zipper in all its essentials. In this fastener each tooth is punched to have a dimple on its bottom and a nib or conical projection on its top. The nib atop one tooth engages in the matching dimple in the bottom of the tooth that follows it on the other side as the two strips of teeth are brought together through the two Y channels of the slider.”
According to Encarta, the zipper was invented in 1891 by Whitcomb L. Judson who patented it under the name “Clasp Locker or Unlocker”. The clunky moniker held until 1926 when people started calling it the zipper. Ever since the toothy closer-upper appeared, it’s been an inspiration to designers everywhere.
Here’s a few images from a very interesting collection that illustrates our zipper fascination.
Zipper Paint Job: