Zipper, anyone?

Or Adding Some Zip to our Museum Collections

C-curity zipper made in Hoboken ca. 1905-1913
C-curity zipper made in Hoboken ca. 1905-1913

Zippers are a taken-for-granted part of everyday life, but a century ago, the inventors and first manufacturers of the zipper were struggling. The early development of the practical zipper happened in Hoboken at the Automatic Hook and Eye Company at southwest corner of Adams and Eleventh Streets. We recently received a gift from Susan Gary James of one of earliest zippers made here. It had been in the family for many decades and appears to have been a saleman’s sample (early ones were sold door-to-door.)

The early zipper was a crude affair compared to the ones we use now. The  first ones were intended for use on shoes and boots. If footwear of the era did not use laces, then they had buttons – a very time-consuming way to make sure your shoe or boot stayed on your foot.

For more about this zipper and to see the early patents by Whitcomb Judson and Gideon Sundback related to it, check our on-line catalog, keyword: 2014.014.0001

Just one of the many neat things that came from Hoboken.

Museum Collections