Zip Fastener

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman


A single individual fashioned the first zip fastener, but it was a later inventorwho made it into a practical product. Whitcomb L. Judson, a mechanical engineerby profession, filed the first patent applications on this device in 1891 and 1894. The invention, originally designed for shoes, consisted of a series of separatefasteners, each having two interlocking parts which could be fastened either byhand or by a movable guide. Judson’s invention was unique; there was nothingeven remotely resembling it in the patent files. No one has discovered how Judsonhappened to invent tliis fastener, although the patent records reveal that this wasby no means his first invention. It is interesting to note that from the time that Judson received his first patent on a slide fastener (1893) until the time he receivedhis fifth (1905), no one else applied for patents on a similar contrivance.


Patent Application Practical Product Patent File Individual Inventor Clothing Manufacturer 
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  1. 1.
    Federico, P. J., ‘The Invention and Introduction of the Zipper’, Journal of Patent Office Society, Dec. 1946.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman

There are no affiliations available

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