Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback

Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback

Birth
Jönköpings län, Sweden
Death 21 Jun 1954 (aged 74)
Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section 9, Block C, Lot 39
Memorial ID 63510054 · View Source
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Inventor. An electrical engineer by profession, he is best remembered for the development of the zipper. The son of a prosperous farmer, after completing his education in Sweden, he moved to Germany, where he studied at the polytechnic school in Bingen am Rhein and passed his engineer exam in 1903. In 1905 he emigrated to the US and started working at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and became an American citizen. The following year he was hired to work for the Universal Fastener Company of Hoboken, New Jersey and in 1909 he was promoted to the position of head designer at Universal Fastener and was responsible for improving the "Judson C-curity Fastener". At that time the company's product was still based on hooks and eyes. He developed an improved version of the C-curity, called the "Plako" but it had a strong tendency to pull apart, and was not any more successful than the previous versions. In 1913 he finally solved the pulling-apart problem with his invention of the first version not based on the hook-and-eye principle, the "Hookless Fastener No. 1". He increased the number of fastening elements from four per inch to ten or eleven, with two facing rows of teeth that pulled into a single piece by the slider, and increased the opening for the teeth guided by the slider. In 1914 he developed a version based on interlocking teeth, the "Hookless No. 2", which was the modern metal zipper in all its essentials. In 1917 he received a patent for his "Separable Fastener" and also created the manufacturing machine for the new device. The term "zipper" was created in 1923 by the B.F. Goodrich Company, who used the device on their new boots. Initially, boots and tobacco pouches were the primary use for zippers and it took another 20 years before they caught on in the fashion industry. About the time of World War II the zipper achieved wide acceptance for the flies of trousers and the plackets of skirts and dresses. In 1951 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. He died from a heart condition at the age of 74. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 2006 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kathleen B
  • Added: 30 Dec 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 63510054
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback (24 Apr 1880–21 Jun 1954), Find a Grave Memorial no. 63510054, citing Greendale Cemetery, Meadville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .