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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

Why does Google have a giant zip running down its homepage today?

Google’s latest doodle is to commemorate the birthday of the man who invented the zip and revolutionised the clothing industry.

Image: Screengrab

GOOGLE’S LATEST DOODLE, a giant interactive zipper which runs down the search engine’s homepage today, marks the birthday of Gideon Sundbeck, the electrical engineer famous for inventing the zip.

Sundbeck, who was Swedish-American, was born 132 years ago today in a small town in Sweden. His development of the zip between 1906 and 1914 revolutionised the clothing industry.

Any visitors to the Google homepage today will see a large zip which peels open when it is clicked and reveals a Google search for Sundbeck.  It is the latest in a series of interactive doodles on the search engine’s homepage, perhaps the most famous of which was the playable guitar to commemorate Les Paul’s 96th birthday.

Sundbeck was born on 24 April 1880 in Smaland in Sweden and grew up on a farm. He moved to Germany after he finished in school before emigrating to America in 1905 at the age of 25.

Upon arriving in the US he worked for a manufacturing company in Pennsylvania before being hired to work for the Universal Fastener Company in New Jersey, where he became head designer in 1909.

A number of designers had made some rudimentary examples of zips but Sundbeck was the first to fully develop the fastening device during his time at the company, which he originally planned to use solely for women’s boots. However by the 1930s it had become regularly found on trousers and dresses.

As well as creating the zip, Sundbeck also created the machine that manufactures zips. He died of a heart condition in 1954 and was included in the National inventor’s Hall of Fame for his work.

Why does Google have a giant zip running down its homepage today?
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