Each day most people use some sort of clothing fastener as they go about their daily lives. Weather it is buttons, snaps, valcro or zippers. The country of Japan makes 90% of the world's zippers. The zipper required the ingenuity of several inventors.
Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try seriously to market it and missed out on the recognition he might have received.
Forty-four years later, Whitcomb Judson, who invented the pneumatic street railway marketed a "Clasp Locker", a more complicated-hook-and eye shoe fastener. Colonel Lewis Walker, Whitcomb launched the Universal Fastener Company to market the new devise but short lived because it had little commercial success.
In 1849, Walter Hunt patented the device which is now known as the safety pin, he called it the "miracle fastener", since they were machine made they were inexpensive. The invention of snap fasteners have been attributed to German inventors Louis Hannart in 1863 and Herbert Bauer in 1885.
The design used today was invented in 1913 by a Swedish born scientist Gideon Sunback, it was the "Hook-less Fastener." and after more improvements patented in 1917.
Prehistoric culture fashioned straight pins of thorns to hold animal hides together. Egyptians used brooches, metal straight pins, buckles or clothes ties to secure their clothes. Romans used straight pins and clasps similar in design to modern safety pin to fasten their intricately draped clothing at the shoulder. Japanese kimonos were wrapped over the body and held in place with a sash known as an obi tied at the waist.
Buttons were originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known found in the Indus Valley, circa 2800-2600 BC. The Indus Valley is a Bronze Age civilization in the western part of India. Functional buttons were buttonholes for fastening clothes, appeared, first, in Germany in the 13th century, they soon became wide spread, as they became so popular in fastening clothes.
Just wanted my friends to know that the most simple clothing fastener has an interesting history. What would we do without the zipper, it is on so many articles we use every day. What would we do without zip lock bags!