Thank you Gideon Sundback!

Gideon Sundback is generally credited as being the inventor of the modern zipper. Born in Sweden, he was educated as an electrical engineer in Germany. He immigrated to the United States and was hired by the Universal Fastener Co. in 1906. There in 1913-14 he improved upon an earlier form of the zipper, which he called the “Hookless Fastener.” He altered the design and created the “Separable Fastener” which he patented in 1917. The word “zipper” came into fashion, and was registered as a trademark by the B.F. Goodrich Company in 1925, which used these fasteners on their galoshes.

Zippers became popular accessories on clothing during the 1930s, which coincided with the construction of the Lightning Fastener Co. Ltd. plant located at 50 Niagara Street in St. Catharines in 1937. While the zipper was not invented in St. Catharines, the plant here was the first purpose built factory in Canada used in the manufacture of this product. Sundback was the president of the firm, and was a frequent visitor here at the factory. Lightning Fastener continued to operate as “Talon” (a division of Textron) until the plant closed in the 1982-83 season.

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