How Does a Zipper Work?
A zipper, zip, fly or zip fastener, formerly known as a clasp locker, is a commonly used device for binding the edges of an opening of fabric or other flexible material, as on a garment or a bag. It is used in clothing (e.g., jackets and jeans), luggage and other bags, sporting goods, camping gear (e.g. tents and sleeping bags), and other items.
A zipper has two rows of metal or plastic teeth that lock together when you zip it up. The edges of the zipper are drawn together as the hollow Y-shaped slider is pulled up. A little wedge on the top of each tooth locks into the hollow underside of the tooth above it. Pulling the slider down forces the teeth open. Tiny pieces of metal called “stops” are clamped on the top and bottom of the zipper so the slider won’t slide off the teeth. Zipper factories make zippers in long strips, and then cut the long zippers apart to produce individual ones.
Whitcomb L. Judson was an American inventor from Chicago who was the first to invent, conceive of the idea, and to construct a workable zipper. The method, still in use today, is based on interlocking teeth. Initially it was called the “hook less fastener” and was later redesigned to become more reliable.