Gideon Sundback - The Zip fastener - 'The 'Hookless' fastener - Inventors and Inventions - Engineering, Engineers, Designers & Designing - Design & Technology On The Web support resource for students and teachers of Design & Technology at KS3, KS4, A-Level and beyond. Mr Richmond's help pages !
The ’Hookless Fastener’ doesn’t really have the right ring to it when it comes to marketing the product today although back in 1914 it probably sounded fine. Early versions of the product were used in the First War and as with many products the exposure received in such times may well have laid a good foundation for the product to be more popular when times became less troubled. The development of the product showed a logical and systematic approach that might be expected to result in a successful invention
– an invention that met a series of needs – of both the consumer and the manufacturers who would have to make it in large numbers.A manufacturer of boots placed an order for the fastener and so helped its popularity but the fastener was only eventually used in clothes production during the 1930’s.
The original inventor of the ‘zip’ was Elias Howe (1851 patent) (who incidentally also invented the
sewing machine ) with an improvement to the zip by Whitcomb
Judson in 1891 although his version depended more on a hook and
eye system that was opened and closed with a slider. His design was
for boots and it is ironic that the order for Sundback’s fastener took off because of an order from a boot company too.