Gideon Sundback zip doodle on Google

24th Apr 2012
Written by: Mary Short

Gideon Sundback zip doodle on Google

Gideon Sundback owes 'Google zipper' to gap year doodling

Gideon Sundback was honoured by Google with his own doodle today, and he owes it all to taking a gap year. 

Following the death of his wife in 1911 Sundback pioneered the 'bereavement gap year', and dedicated himself to developing the zip that is so important to the lives of backpackers around the world. 

Sundback studied engineering in Germany before emigrating to the United States. It was in America where he spent years perfecting the technology of the zip. 

Many had toyed with the concept of the zip before, but it was during his bereavement period that Sundback created a version with interlocking teeth. And just like that, the future of the modern zip was sewn up. Or, to put it another way, zipped up. 

The zipper device makes a difference to the travels of gap year backpackers across the globe. Without zips, backpacks would simply spill open every time a traveller's bus hits a bump in the road or their plane goes through turbulence. 

Andrew Tipp, a spokesperson for, said: "This is one of my favourite ever Google doodles. It's so simple, yet so amazing; just like the zip."

He added: "It's great that Google has honoured Gideon Sundback. Not only did he pioneer the zip, but he created the concept of the 'bereavement gap'.

"For these two reasons I'd say Sundback is probably an unsung hero of the 20th century."

This morning's 'zipper doodle' delighted Google users worldwide, with people able to shed Google's 'outer wear' and reveal the proper Google site within.  

Today the zip can be found on millions of everyday pieces of clothing and equipment, and is likely to remain in use as long as people decide they still want to wear clothes. 

What do you think of the Gideon Sundback Google doodle? What's your favourite ever Google doodle? Can you imagine a world without the zip?

Gideon Sundback has his own Google doodle




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