Gideon Sundback, inventor of the zip, celebrated by Google

Gideon Sundback, the man who perfected the humble zipper, is celebrated by a fun unzipping Google doodle today.

Gideon Sundback, the man who perfected the humble zip, is celebrated by a fun animated Google doodle that you unzip to reveal the Big G's home page. It's a zipper G doodle, if you will.

Sundback was born in Sweden on this day in 1880. After studying in Europe he moved to the US, where he worked for the Universal Fastener Company in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1914, he developed the 'Hookless Fastener No. 2' -- which we now know as the zip, or zipper if you're of the American persuasion.

For something so seemingly simple, Sundback's zipper is actually rather clever. Other engineers had tried similar designs, but our smart Swede cracked it by adding a dimple on the bottom and a nib on the top of each tooth of the fastener. Each nib slots securely into the dimple of the next tooth, and so on -- keeping the whole thing secure.

The patent for the 'Separable Fastener' was issued in 1917, and the name 'zipper' came in 1923 when they were used to fasten boots. It seems amazing now because of its ubiquity and simplicity, but it took another 20 years for the zip to catch on in trousers, dresses and clothes.

Yesterday, Google offered a double-whammy of doodley celebration, with an 8-bit tribute to England's patron saint George and the ZX Spectrum , 30 years old this week.

Previous 8-bit opuses include the suitably extravagant Freddie Mercury-themed epic doodle -- still one of our favourites. Press play on our video to see the full Freddie flamboyance and the rest of our five favourite Google doodles:

Play

Has a zip ever let you down at a crucial moment? And what's your favourite Google doodle? Zip down to the comments or our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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