Monday, April 29, 2013

History of the zipper

Today, it says here at CBC News, is the hundredth anniversary of the patenting of the zipper.

The thing was invented several times back to 1851, but never caught on. And even the 1913 version was only slowly accepted into use. It was thought a bit, ah, sexy, for popular use. The zipper's early uses were in boots and military fatigues. Levis did not have zippered jeans until 1954.

Canadian connection:  Lightning Fastener of St. Catharines, Ont, held the North American patent rights to the zipper for a long time -- thanks in part to tireless litigation by Toronto lawyer Harold Fox. It says here, on the website of the Fox Scholarships he later endowed, that the company was so strapped that it mostly paid Fox in shares, and he ended up running the company and making gazillions, while also having a stellar career as what would now be called a intellectual-property lawyer and scholar.
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