Strong Zipper

I got to work this morning, powered up Google Chrome and what did I see but a zipper around the Google search bar!  So, as any curious person would do who grew up sewing, I clicked on it. And even cooler than seeing the zipper on the page, it unzipped!

And then I learned the story behind the zipper…today is the birthday of the zip’s inventor, Gideon Sundback. He was the Swedish-American electrical engineer most commonly associated with the development of the fastening device that revolutionized the clothing industry.

I learned from the story that his idea for the zipper based on interlocking teeth had circulated among engineers for more than 20 years before Sundback’s invention, but no one had perfected it. His innovation was to place a dimple on the underside of each tooth and a nip on the top that would sit securely within the dimple of the tooth above it. That resulted in a strong join between the two rows of teeth because no single tooth had enough room to move up or down and come apart. Sundback also created the manufacturing machine for the new zipper.

Reading about the zipper made me think about how our lives work. Sometimes it is hard for us to fit the pieces together and all we need is a little dimple or nip just like that zipper. That’s where the Lord comes in. He is always molding us and changing us, putting us through new experiences and leading us down a path unknown to ourselves. Ultimately, He is that piece we need to complete us and hold us together as Christians.

There have been times in my own life when I have tried to do things on my own, figure out where I am headed and work toward that. I don’t take time to listen to the Lord and let Him lead me and fill in missing gaps. I put so much time and effort into something, only to find out it was a waste of time. It truly is worth spending time with the Lord everyday and work for His goals, not my own. I’ve noticed that when I put this into practice, my life is on the right road and I have a peace in knowing I’m fulfilling what I am here to do. And my heart longs for nothing else but to do that very thing for His Kingdom.

“Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 2:11 

All that from a zipper huh? Well, without Jesus, there will always be a missing piece in our lives…that “secret” part that is waiting to be sought after. All we need to do if find it, or rather Him. He is always our strength.

Now, back to the history of our dear zipper-maker….

Gideon Sundback was born on April 24, 1880 in Smaland, Sweden. He moved to Germany following his studies and emigrated to the U.S. in 1905, where he started to work at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, PA. A year later, he was hired to work for the Universal Fastener Company in Hoboken, New Jersey, and became its head designer in 1909.

Sundback initially proposed the new zipper as a replacement for hook-and-eye fasteners on women’s boots but it had become a regular feature for the flies of trousers and on dresses by the 1930s. Sundback died of a heart condition in 1954 and was interred at Greendale cemetery in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

So, go zip up your relationship tightly with the Lord, and stop looking for the missing piece…the unbreakable zipper my friends!


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