Zippers Have Teeth

We all have a concern about zippers:  being down when they should be up, being up when they should be moving down, knitted together with victims and hostages.  What happens if you need to unzip and can’t? What if it is supposed to zip up and won’t?   There’s mental picture and we all have it.  It’s a Jungian thing.  Tell me that if you are about to stand up in front for a speaking engagement, you don’t check your zipper.  I rest my case.

Zippers are at the root of some of our deepest fears and neurosis; they are almost Freudian.  Think of it–little clamping jaws of supreme pinching ability.  Have you ever had to extract a hostage from the little jaws of death.?   Oh stop it!  I mean, for example, extra garment fabric that gets caught in the grippers? Hey, don’t blame me, you are the one who watched “Something About Mary”.  It just proves my point; zippers elicit a primeval fear.

Who invented them anyway?  Why are they preferable to buttons?  Why, when they have such a violent nature, are they placed in vulnerable places on the human anatomy?

I think there are clues just in the definition of zipper.  They are supposed to “temporarily” join two pieces of fabric together.  Temporarily is the operant word.  What if it isn’t temporary?   And the definition goes on to state that they are joined together by teeth.  Teeth?

It gets worse.  The purpose of zippers is to (and I quote) “increase or decrease the size of an opening to allow or restrict the passage of objects, as in the fly of trousers or  in a pocket.

Which brings us to the burning question of the day.  Who thought of this medieval instrument of torture and usefulness?

Elias Howe first asked for a patent, in 1851,for an “Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure. Read Zipper . He was so busy promoting his other new invention, the sewing maching , that he put the zipper on the back burner.   Whitcomb Judson made another version of the zipper idea but it didn’t catch on either.  No one could understand why they needed such a toothful device.  Finally,  one of Judson’s employees, Gideon Sundback  improved on the “separable fastener”while mourning the death of his wife.   The Goodyear company put it in some boots but it was still another 20 years before the zipper caught on.  It took some SPIN, a good reason, for people to want to subject themselves to a clothing fastener with teeth. It was not until fashion magazines wrote that zippers would exclude “The Possibility of Unintentional and Embarrassing Disarray” for men that they really claimed their destiny and became ubiquitous in modern clothing.

So there you have it.  Now you know why I have a deep seated concern about the zipper I need to put in my skirt.  My 2 hour skirt.  Is the 2 hours for the zipper?  Zippers have a reputation AND I will have to READ the directions on how to install one.

How many more days in the week do I have to finish this skirt??  Can I have a nap?

2 thoughts on “Zippers Have Teeth

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