It's not too late / To zip it / Zip it good!
February 7, 2003 1:07 PM   Subscribe

Hey you, XYZ! Look at your zipper -- was it made by Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, or YKK? Probably. With seven million zippers produced every day at YKK America's National Manufacturing Center in Macon, Georgia, alone, it's no wonder that the zipper on whatever you're wearing right now is a YKK...or is it?
[a bit more inside]
posted by DakotaPaul (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Some zipper history and info, YKK FAQs, very important suits with zippers, and the Zipper Stop, for all your zipping needs.

Makes me wonder, does YKK have a monopoly on the zipper market?
posted by DakotaPaul at 1:08 PM on February 7, 2003

I had forgotten that I'd wondered about that. Interesting post. And yes, all the zippers I have with me now (pants, coat), are all YKK in origin.
posted by maniactown at 1:10 PM on February 7, 2003

It's very odd to see the same stamp on the zippers of both my brand-new jeans and the lining of my 40-year-old leather jacket. Luckily, my $10 briefcase is exempt.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:23 PM on February 7, 2003

Mine's an XQUZYPHYR.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:28 PM on February 7, 2003

Strangely my pants' zipper says "Talon" I don't think I've seen pants without the YKK!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:36 PM on February 7, 2003

Counterfeit zippers! When will the madness end?!
posted by Dick Paris at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2003

When I started checking the zippers on my clothes, it seemed slightly more then half had the YKK imprint. Then I looked closer, some have a brand name on the tab, but YKK is printed on the body of every zipper I've looked at! It's actually, I'm discovering, quite common for a company to have a virtual monopoly on particular products. I did some freelance work with a small family business who are the sole producer of a clip used in large construction projects. Often, if the quality and price are right, monopolies like these exist without anyone really noticing. Interesting post.

Question: Would we think of MS as a monopoly if they only made OS's?
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:43 PM on February 7, 2003

I'm sick of YKK stifling innovation in the zipper industry! That's why I've adapted the open-source zipper (a paper clip attached to a stick). It's free, available to all, and more secure than YKK's by far.
posted by BigPicnic at 2:02 PM on February 7, 2003

Talon are the zippers you most often see in a sewing/notions department. But YKK seem to be the most commonly used by clothing manufacturers.

Pollomacho, did you make your own trousers?
posted by padraigin at 2:07 PM on February 7, 2003

The zipper on my pants is a Talon as well. Wow, this is a perfect subject for Paul Lukas' Inconspicuous Consumption, isn't it?
posted by schmedeman at 2:39 PM on February 7, 2003

OK, so who makes the buttons on my Levi's 501 blues?
posted by Acetylene at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2003

Is this zipper something you need pants to have heard of? Because I do not own pants.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:19 PM on February 7, 2003

Hmmmm...seems a lot like Sloan and their ubiquitous flushometers. At least for guys anyway...
posted by aaronscool at 3:48 PM on February 7, 2003

I make my own zippers, don't trust anybody else to. I mean, come on.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:49 PM on February 7, 2003

As Outkast says...

"I'ma show you how to wild out like Jack Trippa
Let me be bambino on your snippas
YKK on yo zippa lick you like a lizard
When I'm slizzard or sober 6 million ways to fold ya
Like Noah I get crews to choose and you get pretty deep
But i'll call yo ass round 8-ish I know you'll be there for me"
posted by Sr_Cluba at 4:05 PM on February 7, 2003

Boycott YKK!!! CCL Zipper in the house!!
posted by Degaz at 4:40 PM on February 7, 2003

A while ago, I had a zipper that said KKK on it. Who the hell made that one?
posted by sinical at 5:24 PM on February 7, 2003

Eli Gut keeps my privates private.
posted by duckstab at 6:15 PM on February 7, 2003

I've got a Talon on an old sweater my Grandmother knitted many, many years ago. Still works great. My pants are YKK.
posted by jazon at 6:56 PM on February 7, 2003

I'd heard of YKK years ago, when I read Cecil Adam's Straight Dope column about them. But I didn't know about their big plant in Macon -- I've wondered for quite a while why on earth YKK has a billboard just outside the Atlanta airport. Now I know. Thanks, DakotaPaul!
posted by Vidiot at 9:06 PM on February 7, 2003

Talon? CCL? Screw all that! ALL of my zippers are 100% y2k compliant!

I'm glad I wasn't around any of you when the date changed; dingleberry city, I'm sure. Not to mention, I saved a ton by avoiding the expensive retrofittings peddled by those "millenium bug" extermination agencies.

*snickers* Suckers...
posted by alas at 10:08 PM on February 7, 2003

checking...YKK here. I used to wonder about the choice of initials, too. As DakotaPaul wrote, the "KK" stands for "kabushiki kaisha," stock-issuing corporation, so you will see "KK" after a lot of company names in Japan, equivalent to "Inc."
As you might expect in Japan, you can't just rig up a corporation online with hundred bucks via paypal. You must have ¥10,000,000 (US$80,000) in starting capital. Yugen gaisha is a limited liability corporation (¥3,000,000), and gomei gaisha is a limited partnership.
posted by planetkyoto at 2:36 AM on February 8, 2003

In order to tackle this [counterfeiting] problem, YKK has developed a program to help protect our trademark rights, and also our customers from inferior quality resulting from the use of fake YKK zippers.

The following items are included in this program:

. . . increase public awareness by having someone post this topic to a website named MetaFilter, everyone reads MetaFilter, don't they?
posted by DBAPaul at 8:35 AM on February 8, 2003

Vidiot, I've always wondered about that billboard, too.
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:43 AM on February 8, 2003

The correct expression is "XYZ - eXamine Your Zipper". HTH!
posted by krebby at 8:39 AM on February 9, 2003

hmm. a quick scan through my closet reveals a max (cheap pair of chinos from mr price - can't find anything on the net about the make, so wonder if it's a ykk with something else stamoed on), a pex (ron hill running jacket) a ybs (a cheapish jacket from c&a - website dead), and two with no name (soft guitar case and jacket of uncertain origin) as well as a handfull of ykks. it's surprising how much they differ, too - someone must spend their time designing different zipper shapes/tags.

the open directory listing of zipper suppliers. doesn't look like a monopoly from that list.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:24 AM on February 9, 2003

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski has a great chapter on the evolution of the zipper. It follows the patent trail and the human stories behind the invention. Very interesting read for those interested in learning more about the 'hookless fastner'.
posted by filchyboy at 11:33 AM on February 9, 2003

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