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Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
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Hookless fastener no. 2, 1914Hookless fastener no. 2, 1914

The zipper was not the result of a single flash of inspiration: the process of invention took at least forty years and included many "firsts"—first patent, first successful design, first commercial use. This design, the first commercially successful zipper and the basis for later ones, was invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913 and patented in 1917. In 1962, in response to a visit from a Smithsonian curator looking for artifacts for the new Museum of History and Technology, the manufacturer Talon donated a large collection of zippers, including this one.

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