Where would humankind be without the zipper?
Google’s latest “doodle” — click on the homepage zipper and watch it “unzip” to learn more — commemorates the birth of Swedish inventor Gideon Sundback on April 24, 1880. After being appointed chief designer for the Universal Fastener Company of Hoboken, N.J., in 1909, Sundback went on to develop the fastener with interlocking teeth that revolutionized fashion.
The zipper, initially planned to replace the hook-and-eye fastener on women’s boots, went on to become a standard feature on clothing for women and men by the 1930s.
While the concept of a zipper had been postulated by engineers for at least two decades beforehand, it was Sundback who perfected it by placing a tiny dimple on the underside of each tooth and a nib on the top that would fit snugly with the dimple above it.
Zippers have also contributed to the lexicon. “Zip it” is a terse standard expression, meaning “stop talking,” a replacement no doubt for “button your lip.”
Google most recently commemorated Earth Day on Sunday with a doodle. Other recent Google doodles include a playable Pac-Man, and a Valentine’s Day-themed animation, and architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed Toronto’s Toronto-Dominion Centre. Geologist Nicolas Steno was honoured with the first doodle of 2012.