Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty

Zipper An Exploration in Novelty It is almost impossible to imagine modern life without this device yet for the first thirty years or so from its patent in the late nineteenth century it represented no real advantage over tradition

  • Title: Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty
  • Author: Robert Friedel
  • ISBN: 9780393313659
  • Page: 137
  • Format: Paperback
  • It is almost impossible to imagine modern life without this device yet for the first thirty years or so, from its patent in the late nineteenth century, it represented no real advantage over traditional fasteners like the hook and eye or the old fashioned button The zipper was mechanically awkward, liable to rust, liable to fail i.e snag or burst open , and so expensiIt is almost impossible to imagine modern life without this device yet for the first thirty years or so, from its patent in the late nineteenth century, it represented no real advantage over traditional fasteners like the hook and eye or the old fashioned button The zipper was mechanically awkward, liable to rust, liable to fail i.e snag or burst open , and so expensive that it doubled the retail price of a skirt or a pair of pants But from the beginning the zipper had an allure, a mystery, a kind of sex appeal that would be echoed in songs, poems, and popular novels.Robert Friedel has written a fascinating history full of strange twists, paradoxes, and interesting characters of this signature gadget of the twentieth century Inventor Whitcomb Judson whose efforts lay mostly in patenting a doomed undertaking known as the Pneumatic Streetcar gave the zipper life businessman Colonel Lewis Walker had the capital and the faith to back it for forty years and cultural icons such as Marlon Brando, Erica Jong, and the Rolling Stones helped to turn it into a symbol for sexuality and style.Not just the story of a distinctive technology, Zipper is an entertaining, informative examination of how new things become part of our daily lives, shaping how we think and act.

    One thought on “Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty”

    1. It's pretty safe to say that this book will tell you far more than you could ever want to know about the history of the zipper. At close to 300 pages, you might reasonably ask "How could any book on such a specific topic run to such length?"The answer is pretty straightforward: Robert Friedel is the kind of writer who never met a fact or anecdote he didn't consider indispensable. Normally, this would lead to a 2-star review at best. But he regains major points for the awesome Chapter 8 ("Alligat [...]

    2. I finished this on vacation in Puerto Rico - then amazingly I turned on the Discovery channel during a rainy spell and there was a "how it's made" on the zipper! We really take this invention for granted, I had no idea that it wasn't a normal notion on clothing until the late 1930's. The most interesting part of this book, for me, was seeing how the invention process worked - the frustration, the redesign, the relaunch of the product - trying to convince people that it was something they needed. [...]

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