The zipper has its roots in New York State. So, as we observe National Zipper Day on Monday (and every April 29th), we should thank a native New Yorker.

Believe it or not, the zipper was born in Ripley, New York. Well, actually, that's where the man who coined the term was born, on a small farm in the southwestern tip of the Empire State. Before striking it really rich in the rubber and tire industry, B.F. Goodrich was involved in the manufacturing and production of boots and tobacco pouches that featured early versions of a device called a "separable fastener." Goodrich came up with the word zipper for the device (based on the sound it made), and even copyrighted the name for a while.

Credit: Dave Coombs/TSM
Credit: Dave Coombs/TSM

A few other zipper facts...

  • The patent for the “separable fastener” was issued to Swedish-American inventor Gideon Sundback in 1917
  • The University of Akron Zips nickname comes from the "zippers" galoshes made by Akron's BF Goodrich Company in the 1920s and 1930s
  • There are 4.5 billion zippers used in the U.S. per year, or about 14 zippers for each American
  • The YKK you see on many zippers is the name of the Japanese company that is the world's largest zipper manufacturer
  • Outkast references "YKK" in the hit song "So Fresh and So Clean." Check it out at the 1:30 mark of the video below

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