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JEANBAG™ – Unzipped

June 10, 2013

JEANBAG™ Unzipped

Researching the materials for JEANBAG™ The coolest beanbag made from denim jeans, I’ve gone in hard to learn all I can about the humble zipper. I want JEANBAG’s zipper to be strong, hardwearing and good looking. So, I thought it best to find out more…

We wouldn’t know what to do without zippers. They’re in clothing, shoes and bags, luggage, tents, pencil cases and even space suits! They’ve made our life so much easier. Remember button fly jeans? What a pain the butt they were! But the zipper’s journey into a reliable product was a long one…

Elias Howe not only invented the sewing machine but also the “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” and received a patent for it in 1851. He didn’t pay attention to marketing it and 42 years later Whitcomb Judson launched the Universal Fastner Company with his “Clasp Locker”, but it had little commercial success. It wasn’t until 1913 that head designer for Talon, Gideon Sundback, created the zipper we know today. He later left the company and moved to Canada, retaining the ‘non-US rights’ for his design, where he continued to improve on its functionality. But, it wasn’t until 1923 that the zipper got it’s name when the BF Goodrich company opted to use Sundback’s fastner on their galoshes and named the closure the ‘zipper’. The name stuck and we’ve been using it ever since!

There a lots of different types of zippers: coil zippers, metal zippers, invisible zippers and plastic molded-zippers. There are closed-end zippers (for jeans and skirts) and open-ended zippers (for jackets), and continuous zippers (customisable for production). There are zippers suitable for clothing and special grade zippers for upholstery and heavy duty commercial usage.

The big thing for JEANBAG™ besides strength and durability, is safety and ensuring little hands can’t open the zipper and get to the micro-bead filling. So, I will be using a lockable zipper—essentially a nylon coil zipper, which is super strong and doesn’t easily stick. It doesn’t have a zipper pull and therefore can’t be opened unless you insert a paper clip or safety pin into the zipper mechanism. That’s what we call ‘safety first’!

Next on the list is good quality denim thread…

Sources: Wikipedia & Smithsonian Libraries

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