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Who invented the zip tie?

Welcome to a day where I'm tired and the first thing I thought of was the zip-tie my sister used to replace a broken zipper pull. Luckily for me the research part seems pretty straight forward.

Zip ties were invented in 1958 by an electrical company named Thomas & Betts. Ty-Rap was the original name for the new device. The idea for zip ties came to Maurus C. Logan, an employee of Thomas & Betts, while touring a Boeing manufacturing facility in 1956. Wiring an aircraft was a task. At the time, thousands of feet of wire were tied to sheets of plywood with nylon cord. Logan saw the operators were injuring themselves in the process frequently. He began the task of inventing a less injurious process of wiring aircrafts.

The original design used a metal tooth inside the pawl. To make the devices more cost effective, manufacturers later changed to the nylon/plastic design. Throughout the years Ty-Raps have been known by several names, zips, cable ties, tie-wraps, hose ties, zap-straps, and the most common, zip tie. The device has also changed numerous times. Here are a few variations:

  • Beaded: Unique beaded design allows them to be releasable and reusable.

  • Releasable: Easy to apply and remove, reusable.

  • Ladder style: For intermediate bundling and retail applications.

  • Identification: Built-in flags for written or printed identification.

  • Parallel entry: Tamper-proof, low profile heads.

  • Tear-off: Quick release design requires no cutting tools.

The Ty-Rap received a patent the same year it came out and would soon become an essential tool in industries and homes across the globe. Logan's talent for creating new and useful components put him in a position to rise within the company and become Vice President of Research & Development at Thomas & Betts.

It's fascinating to me something I use on a fairly regular basis was invented only a couple generations ago! Can you think of something we don't give a second thought to but has only been around a short time (the internet is too easy, try again).

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