Friday, December 13, 2013
it's slick as it can be.
Closing it keeps me comfy
in the winter-time, you see.
But darn! I can't work my zipper.
Herewith we have illustrated the zipper tale with a photo of a portion of my favorite winter jacket, down-filled, cozy and defiant of winter's windy blasts. The jacket is replete with many zippers, each functioning to keep the occupant warm, or the owner's possessions safe.
The "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure" was conceived by Elias Howe of sewing machine inventing fame in 1851. He didn't do anything much with his idea. But along came Whitcomb Judson who improved on the idea and patented his "Clasp Locker" in 1893. He marketed the product, but with small success.
Then along came Gideon Sundback who went to work for Judson's company and who in 1917 patented the closure in form much as we know it today. It was first dubbed "Zipper," though, by the B.F. Goodrich Company which utilized it as closure for galoshes. For a long time, the zipper's primary use was for footwear and tobacco pouches. It was not until the late thirties that fashion designers finally caught on.1
Thus with this introduction, we are ready to return to the bit of doggerel with which the piece opened. As a boy, of course, I buttoned my fly much in the same manner as I buttoned my shirt, teaching my little fingers the intricacies of grasping the placket and twisting the button carefully as I guided it through the buttonhole. I am sure you can imagine the elation I experienced when I finally got trousers with a zipper!2 This started a life-long appreciation for this type closure, and I became quite adept not only at using them myself, but at assisting tiny tots (being a father and an elementary school teacher), and at unclogging and repairing the things.
Of course, therefore, I am stunned and saddened, nay, amazed and angry, to find that I can no longer work the zippers on my jackets. And the fly is becoming a hassle as well. Had you encountered the little me seventy-five years ago and noted that my fly was open, you could pretty much be assured that the boy was in too much of a hurry to complete the job properly. Should you encounter a doddering old man shuffling along with his habiliments in a state of disarray, be considerate. Life is not a bowl of cherries, and zipping is not always an easy glide.3
1 info gleaned from about.com
2 Some people still pay extra to get the old-fashioned button flies. Well, different strokes.
3The zipper difficulty I have is basically with my winter jackets. The memory difficulty I have basically applies to everything. Oh, dear. This is Friday the Thirteenth.