Money & Business

Brought to You By… Zippers

By / Jun 1, 2014

In sometimes surprising ways, associations play direct and indirect roles in bringing the products, services, and activities of daily life to people around the world. Including zippers.

National Association of Manufacturers: Next time you’re zipping something up, take a look to see if the initials YKK are printed on the zipper. Founded in Japan in 1934, YKK produces about half of the world’s zippers. Its largest zipper factory, in Macon, Georgia, produces about 7 million of these fasteners every day. We wonder if the company is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers?

Vintage Fashion Guild: Zippers are wonderful things. Without them so much of our clothing and accessories would be harder to fasten. According to the Vintage Fashion Guild, the modern metal zipper was first used in galoshes and bags in 1914. The toothy fastener eventually made its way to men’s pants in the late 1920s and to women’s dresses a decade after that.

United Inventors Association of America: Who invented the zipper? Some say it was Elias Howe, who also invented the sewing machine and patented the “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” in 1851. But Swedish-American electrical engineer Gideon Sunback is more widely credited with the invention after he made improvements to previous iterations and created the modern-day version. Regardless, we think both Sunback and Howe would be members of the United Inventors Association of America if they were around today.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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