Why do your zippers have YKK on them?

It’s a long read in atlasobscura.com. Here are some highlights:

“Elias Howe, the magnificently coiffed inventor of the sewing machine, sounded the first warning shot to the button’s dominance when he patented an “automatic continuous clothing closure” in 1851.

It was left to Gideon Sundback, a Swedish inventor working for the Universal Fastener Company, to finalize the design with his own “separable fastener” in 1914, and at long last it seemed as if the world was ready to embrace the device.

B.F. Goodrich rubber company, who installed Sundback’s fastener on their boots in 1923. As recounted in Robert Friedel’s essential zipper tome, the boot was originally called the Mystik but it sold terribly. The inspiration for the new name came from the company president: “What we need is an action word…something that will dramatize the way the thing zips…Why not call it a Zipper?”

The Universal Fastener Company, now named Talon, set up home in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and began mass-producing its zippers.

Tadao Yoshida, [founded] Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (Yoshida Manufacturing Shareholding Company) from which YKK is necessarily abbreviated.

Talon was known around the world and Yoshida shamelessly copied its products and machines, while adding some distinctive touches—like using aluminum instead of copper.”

The atlasobscura.com article is titled “How Kurobe, Japan Became the Zipper Capital of the World


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