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Home » Knowledge Center »  Academic Reports »   Zipper- The sign of Togetherness

Zipper- The sign of Togetherness


Zipper, the tiny mechanical wonder, keeps so much of us and our possessions together. There are so many trims, closures and accessories that are used for a good finishing of garments and apparels. However, zipper has an important place among them all. Without this sleek trim, it would be so difficult to manage our clothings, baggage and even footwear. This fabulous fashion accessory really deserves a well organized description.

Zipper- The Historic Facts
ZipperSeveral inventors have dedicated their talent, time and energy to give the modern zipper its present form. In 1851, Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, got a patent for his 'Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.' Due to the success of his sewing machine, he could not market this new item. A similar device 'Clasp Locker' was patented in the name of Whitcomb Judson in 1893. He, with businessman Colonel Lewis Walker, launched the Universal Fastener Company to manufacture this new device which got only a limited commercial success. His company hired the Swedish-born Canadian Electrical Engineer, Gideon Sundback, who had finally designed the modern zipper in 1913.

Sundback's zipper had more fastening teeth ( or elements) increased from four per inch to ten or eleven. It also had two facing rows of teeth that can put together or separate two pieces through a slider. It was then called 'Separable Fastener' which got patent in 1917. Sundback also created the 'S-L' or scrapless machine for manufacturing the new zipper.

How Zippers became Popular?
When Sundback's fastner was used on a new kind of rubber boots, it was renamed zipper- its modern popular name. During its early existence, zipper was used mainly in boots and tobacco pouches. It took more than two decades for the fashion industry to use this new closure on garments. It was the French fashion designers who first used zippers in men's trousers, a move that gave zipper a lead over button. The next big thing for the zipper to happen was when its model which could open on both ends came in the market. After that zippers never looked back, now they are on everything, garments, luggage, shoes, leather goods, bags and what not!

SliderStructure of Zippers
Zippers can be divided into three major parts: the tape, the teeth and the slider.

Slider: The slider joins or separates the teeth, also known as elements, when the zipper is opened or closed. Depending on their use, various types of sliders are available in the market.

Teeth: The teeth, also known as elements, are the parts on each side of a zipper that mesh, or engage, with each other when passed through the slider. When the left and the right side teeth are engaged, they are called chain.

Tape: The tape is manufactured exclusively for zippers. It is usually made of polyester, but synthetic fiber tape, vinyl tape and cotton tape are also available to be used for specific purpose zippers.

Types of Zippers
There are a variety of zippers available in the market. All the zippers, however, are chiefly manufactured from three types of materials- Metal Chain; Molded Plastic Chain; and Coil (Nylon) Chain. These chains can be used to make various kinds of zippers.
Bag Type Zipper
Bag Type Zipper:It has a single slider which moves in one way only, used mainly in pants, purses, tents, etc.


Closed End Zipper
Closed End Zipper:The teeth, also known as elements, are the parts on each side of a zipper that mesh, or engage, with each other when passed through the slider. When the left and the right side teeth are engaged, they are called chain.

Open End Zipper
Open End Zipper: The two parts of the zipper fully separate from each other, mostly used in jackets.



Two-way Open End ZipperTwo-way Open End Zipper: It has two slides that can be opened from both the ends. It is used in items like heavy winter coats where more space is needed in particular conditions. It keeps the top slider zipped up while the zipper halves completely separate just like a standard jacket zipper.


Innovative Zippers
Due to the specialized performances of textile and clothing, need of specialty zippers too was felt. As a result, innovations were made in this field too and newer types of zippers were introduced by the manufacturers. These included
Innovative Zippers
Flame-resistant zipper that uses fire retardant tape materials,


Airtight and Watertight zippers that uses such tape materials as PVC and chloroprene rubber etc.,

Light- accumulating zippers that glow in the dark,

Chemical- resistant zippers that are made solely of polypropylene,

Soft zippers that are suitable for new synthetic fiber thin fabric, made of nylon with plastic top and bottom stops,
Concealed zippers
Concealed zippers with tape extending over chain and even with jacquard woven design,


Zippers with electrically conducive yarn ,
CP tape ZipperZippers exclusively for jeans with CP tape that will decolor along with the denim after stonewash or bleach- out,

Ink jet printed zipper tape, containing any pattern, color or logo created throug computer graphics,

Environment-conscious zippers made from biodegradable plastic. The list is increasing day by day.

Methods to determine Zipper Strength
There are various methods by which to evaluate Zipper strength & Slider quality. The procedures in various quality standards worldwide are more or less similar and are documented under various well known International Standards. Zipper & Slider strengths are examined as a routine inspection. The basic strength can be determined based on the results of the following inspection methods, from which all round strength appropriate for respective uses can be judged.
Zipper on Crosswise Test
Crosswise Strength of Zipper: To determine ordinary zipper strength, a zipper chain is interlocked, pulled at a fixed speed at a right angle to the chain interlocked direction, with the help of specially designed Jaws. Through this method, resistance can be measured



Zipper on Tensile Strength Test
Vertical Tensile Strength of the Top Stop: The lower part of an interlocked Zipper is fixed and the Slider is pulled up to the top stop. Holding strength is measured by pulling the Slider against the Top Stop in the Tensile Testing machine.




Zipper on Tearing Strength Test
Bottom Stop Tearing Strength: A slider is pulled down to the bottom stop and then the single chains are opened to the right and left sides and are fixed in the Tensile tester. Bottom stop holding strength and resistance of the teeth inside the Slider are measured.



Zipper on Tensile Strength Box Test
Tensile Strength of the Box: The open part is fixed to the tensile tester so that the las tooth falls into line with the clamp edge and the tensile strength can be measured.



Zipper on Slider Lock Strength Test Slider Lock Strength: The lower part of an interlocked Zipper is fixed and the Slider is pulled up to the top stop. Holding strength is measured by pulling the Slider against the Top Stop in the Tensile Testing machine.





Zipper on Slider TestOverall Strength of the Slider: The resistance of the slider is measured when the complete slider is mounted on a special jig and power is applied to the Puller while keeping the Body fixed at 90 degrees.