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Google hails Swede who perfected the zipper

24 Apr 2012, 16:39

Published: 24 Apr 2012 16:39 GMT+02:00

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On Tuesday, Google dedicated a doodle to Sundback, the Swedish-American inventor of the modern zipper.

It featured an interactive zipper that a visitor to Google's otherwise famously spartan home page could pull down with a computer mouse to reveal search results about the Swedish-born engineer and the doodle itself.

Sundback, who immigrated to the United States in his early 20s, didn't invent the zipper as such -- the concept was first patented by Elias Howe in 1881 -- but he perfected the interlocking-teeth design still in use today.

"Google is very fashionable today with it's zip front!" an approving Council of Fashion Designers of America said on its Twitter account, albeit with a common apostrophic error.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, frequently changes the signature "doodle" on its homepage to mark anniversaries or significant events or to pay tribute to artists, scientists, statesmen and others.

More than 1,000 have appeared over the years, including one last year that honored US music legend Les Paul by transforming the Google logo into a guitar that played when strummed with a mouse.

Story continues below…

AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

22:58 April 24, 2012 by byke
Firstly he didn't invent the "zipper" and many questions surround the refernce to him being Swedish is very questionable.

I have been reading a fair bit today regarding Gideon Sundback who is famed for improving the way a zipper works today (Brought to my attention via Google).

I have been fairly intreged to see what way he improved it due to such of the way it is generally reported seems a little misleading or sexed up in many ways.

From my understanding, he improved a design that was already and had been patented and in production for a good amount of years by creating a taper type of lock if you will. Which is by no means not an improvement. However, should such a small but important update overshadow the originator of the zip (Elias Howe) patent some 65+ years earlier?

Another thing that is perplexing, is many stories describe the man (Gideon Sundback) as a "Swede" or "Swedish American". Even though he was an American Citizen at the time he invented the update and had it patented in America and Subsequently died in America (living most of his life there).

Whats interesting is that when he applied for US citizenship, "citizens are required to undertake an oath renouncing previous allegiances". So one could argue that at that point on he had waved that right for a Swedish reference to the patent. Especially since major judicial rulings deciding nationality rights and laws didn't come into effect until a good amount of time after his death.

If we take another terms such as the "Boris Bike" which is famed in London for a type of bicycle transport (taking an already established invention and improving it in a certain way), we don't here references it to being a vision of that of a "British American" or vice versa (Boris Johnson) and I don't think it would be right either as he relinquished his American citizenship in 2006 (prior to his term of being Mayor in 2008). Nor do we see generalizations that he invented the bike.

So I would like it to go on record, that given the facts.

If this was to be described it should be described as the designer of "Hookless No. 2" fastners.

Followed through as an American invention.
23:30 April 24, 2012 by gpafledthis
@byke-why rain on their parade ?? my family left normandy in 1066 and I still consider myself more danish/norwegian than english/american lets go to the roots !! It's the mama's boys (the stay at homes) presently in sweden that irk me !!
02:14 April 25, 2012 by byke

I am afraid I dont consider it raining on any parade.

But more so exposing a lie and a poor article that makes references to facts that are wrong.

The article title in itself states it was a swede who perfected the zipper.

As we have sen at the time of his invention he had undertaken an oath undertake an oath renouncing previous allegiances.

And his references to perfecting the zipper is also very wrong, since the term zipper is a branded marketing name which Gideon Sundback had termed a fastener.

Much the same way as describer a hoover as invention rather than a popular branding of a vacum cleaner .... or referring to inline skates as rollerblades etc ..

"The popular "zipper" name came from the B. F. Goodrich Company; they opted to use Gideon Sundbäck's fastener on a new type of rubber boots (or galoshes) and referred to it as the zipper, and the name stuck."
04:35 April 25, 2012 by PfalzFreund
America has embraced the hyphenated identity. Right or wrong there are African -Americans whose family has not left America in 200 years. There are Irish-Americans who only come out in March. What does it take to differentiate between Swedish, American or Swedish-American? I was born in America as was my father. But my grandfather came over from Sweden as an adult. I do not consider myself Swedish-American but he sure was! Sweden and all her people should feel proud of Sundback and his contribution to fashion, culture and serviceability in clothing. Sure he took U.S. citizenship but he definitely was a Swede.
08:43 April 25, 2012 by skogsbo
Bykes, point is that the zipper wasn't invented by him, he modified a previous invention. The guy who invented the Mark I version had the big leap of design and creation.

Plus if you willingly make a point of giving up one nationality, in favour of another, then the new one is what you should be known as, regardless of geneitcs. It's like athletes who can't decide what nationality they want to be, any, provided they get into a national squad!!
15:59 April 27, 2012 by tomas R

I think that Sweden is very inventive nation. Such the things like bearing, thermometer, adjustable wrench, sliding callipers and others...

So I wish to swedish inventors to go on and non stop...


tomas (Lithuania)
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