GIDEON SUNDBACK, like any other man, put his pants on one leg at a time. But for years, most notably, those slacks lacked a zipper.
Gideon Sundback, that transplanted son of Sweden, will forever be remembered for what he pulled off -- and up -- once he hiked up his knickers and set about altering not only a garment, but also the course of the clothing industry.
That’s why today, Google honors the father of “the modern zipper” — and celebrates his 132nd birthday — with perhaps the company’s most enticing Doodle yet. With a click, the stitched logo can be smoothly unzipped to reveal your sexy search results.
Talk about getting your information on the fly.
(And for some rock-savvy viewers, the Doodle may be evocative of another much-seen example of working-zipper art: Andy Warhol’s famed cover for the Rolling Stones album “Sticky Fingers.” Caveat: The HTML5 Doodle’s interactivity might not be available on all browsers.)
The zipper, that fascinating fastening, that toothsome joiner, has many fathers — from sewing pioneer Elias Howe three decades before Sundback was even born in 1880 (Howe patented an “automatic, continuous clothing closure”) to Whitcomb Judson (who made the “clasp locker”) to even the B.F. Goodrich Co. (which is said to have coined the onomatopoeic term “zipper”).
But it was Sundback the electrical engineer who in 1913 — while working for Judson’s Universal Fastener Company after immigrating to North America — nearly tripled the number of the zipper’s teeth per square inch; he also scoop-dimpled the teeth to strengthen the closure, and created the slider for opening and closing the interlocking mechanism.
Sundback, the company’s head designer, also created the machine for making the zippers. And by 1917, he had a patent for the “separable fastener.”
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The zipper caught on early for use in boots, but it wasn’t until the ‘30s that it really began to gain traction as a popular trend for trousers and dresses and soon jackets. In the zipper’s grip, fashion was rapidly transformed.
Sundback died in 1954 and was interred in Meadville, Pa. But his zipper still has a firm hold on us — and vice versa.
Google invites you to zip it — might as well seize the opening while it lasts.
.[GOING BEHIND THE SCREENS: How Google Doodle team artist Jennifer Hom builds a better holiday logo.]
Comic Riffs’ TOP TEN ‘GOOGLE DOODLE’ ANIMATIONS EVER(*before today):
1. PAC-MAN: VIDEO-GAME GOOGLE
2. GOOGLE BALLS: THE MYSTERY DOODLE
3. JOHN LENNON: IMAGINE THIS DOODLE
4. MARTHA GRAHAM: THE DANCING DOODLE
5. FREDDIE MERCURY: THE MUSIC VIDEO
6. JIM HENSON: THE CLICKABLE MUPPETS
7. ART CLOKEY: THE “GUMBY DOODLE”
8. JULES VERNE: THE DEEP-SEA DOODLE
9. STANISLAW LEM: THE ANIMATED SCI-FI GAME