A (Very) Little History of the Press Fastener

The invention of the popper, or the press stud, was a revolutionary moment in the history of sewing. But where – and when – did this happen and why are poppers so popular today?

Most clothing – and lots of other textile items too – require some kind of fastening and of course by far the most common is the button. Metal press fasteners, or poppers, are the next most popular type of fastening and these were first patented in Germany in 1885 by Heribert Bauer. Poppers are comprised of either two metal parts for the sew-on kind or four metal parts for the riveted or non-sew kind. They make a characteristic snapping or popping sound when they’re closed – which gave rise to the term popper or snap fastener.

 

 

If you look closely at the picture above you’ll be able to see the distinctive double S-spring which ensures the fastener isn’t too tight or too loose.

The Prym family have manufactured metal goods in Germany since the sixteenth century and are synonymous with press-fastener production since purchasing the original German patent in 1903.
The earliest types, also known as ball and socket fasteners, weren’t rustproof – or even very reliable. But Prym improved the manufacturing process and developed standards that are still maintained today. Its factory produces millions of fasteners every day, 24 hours a day, and supplies a large proportion of the world’s fashion industry with high-quality fasteners.

One of the most successful marketing campaigns used by Prym and other manufacturers of press fasteners was to attach then to decorative cards. These havnow become collectibles, depicting as they do attractive country landscapes and other images, including the original Prym logo of a deer with a needle through its antlers. During the 1950s the company slogan was “the most reliable waist fastener of the present and the future.” Even today, with the rise of new options such as Velcro, most sewing kits will include a couple of poppers, proving that they have remained useful over the 130 years since their invention.

I hope you’ve found our (very!) little history interesting – if there’s any other topics you’d like to see a little history of then please let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best!

4 Comments

Thanks for a bit of history. I had no idea that snaps aka poppers were from Germany. Love learning something new about things we use daily.

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Gosh, thank you so much for the insight and our long evolving history. Thank you.

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