An early device similar to the zipper, "an Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure", was patented by Elias Howe in 1851, but did not reach the market.Howe was preoccupied with the sewing machine that he had patented in 1846. Judson loved machines and experimented with many different kinds of gadgets.The printed label states ‘Jacket Aviators Intermediate Spec MA422A.
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'Aero Leather' M-422A Intermediate Flying Jacket - The origins of the M422A intermediate flight jacket date back to the 1940’s and was initially standardised as the M-422 specification by the US Navy in March 1940.
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Many zipper names such as crown, conmar, conmatic, ideal, gripper zipper, prentice, scovill, talon, and YKK to name a few have been found on a variety of vintage garments from the 20th century.
This page will help identify types of vintage zippers and the time period that they were primarily used, as well as give a brief history about the company behind the zipper.
To the left breast is a USN leather name tag and whilst now rather faded appears to be named to a Lt Ian M Harris.
We speculate the jacket may have belonged to a vet who added the name strip from his original jacket but it could just be a detail to add authenticity when the jacket was made.
By 1972, the metal zipper was considered to be terribly old fashioned, though the zipper makers continued to produce them for the many old fashioned seamstresses who did not trust the flimsy nylon ones.
(It did not help that the very earliest models on the market were prone to failure, and that it took a while before people realized that nylon zippers and hot irons do not mix.) My grandmother was one such home sewer who distrusted nylon zippers, though she didn’t have to worry about it much because she had been forced to retire her sewing machine due to arthritis.
Judson, 1913 hookless fastener, Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback, 1917 Patent # 1,219,881 (US) issued Mar.