An early device superficially similar to the zipper, "an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure", was patented in the United States by Elias Howe in 1851. The true zipper was the product of a series of incremental improvements over more than twenty years, by inventors and engineers associated with a sequence of companies that were the progenitors of Talon, Inc. This process began with a version called the "clasp locker", invented by American born inventor Whitcomb L. Judson.
Judson, together with business partner Harry Earle, founded the first incarnation of what was to eventually become Talon Inc., in Chicago in 1894, as the Universal Fastener Company. The design deficiencies, combined with difficulties in getting the machinery needed for mass production to work, prevented the early devices from reaching market.Salient features of good quality zippers :
Zippers may :
- Increase the size of an opening to allow the passage of objects, as in the fly of trousers or in a pocket
- Join or separate two ends or sides of a single garment, as in the front of a jacket, dress or skirt.
- Attach or detach a separable part of the garment to or from another, as in the conversion between trousers and shorts or the connection / disconnection of a hood and a coat.
- decorate an item.