Snaps: When Buttons Just Won’t Do

Published: 07th April 2008
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You probably have more than a few items of clothing that use a form of fastener that is not quite a button, nor a zipper, but something else entirely. In all likelihood it is a snap, and this has become a very popular fastening option for not only clothing, but for a large number of other applications as well, a notable one being military snaps.

Snaps are called by various other names, among them: snap fasteners, poppers, and press studs, although they are more commonly referred to simply as snaps. The overwhelming majority of snaps are made out of metal, and they are commonly recognizable as two discs that interlock together to fasten two separate pieces of fabric or other types of flexible material. Snaps are often used in place of buttons-and there are in fact a lot of good reasons why they are used in this manner-but we will get to that later on in this article.

A German inventor who was named Heribert Bauer applied for the first patent for a snap fastener in the year 1885. Bauer originally designed the snap fastener as a sort of novelty fastener for clothing-for men's trousers in particular. Bauer called what was later to become a significant innovation in the clothing and fabric industry the "Federknopf-Verschluss", and it proved to be quite popular in his native Germany, from where it spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the European continent and sometime later, to many other countries all over the world. The "Federknopf-Verschluss" was of particular interest to the burgeoning military industry in Germany, who found many applications for the newly invented military snaps, both in the battlefield and off it.

Of course, the rest of the world was quick to catch on to the convenience offered by the snap fastener and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, snap fasteners can be seen virtually everywhere there is a need to fasten two separate pieces of material together. Clothing is of course one of the most popular uses, and you can often see snap fasteners in raincoats, parkas and windbreakers. For these applications, where you will often have to fasten and unfasten the articles of clothing repeatedly-and often quickly-snap fasteners are simply a better alternative to buttons, zippers, or other forms of fasteners. This is also the reason why military snaps have become quite common.

Aside from the ease and convenience that snap fasteners can provide, they also tend to last a lot longer than other types of clothing fasteners. While you can expect buttons and zippers to loosen, break, or simply fail at some point in time, snap fasteners can last virtually forever. When was the last time that you heard of a snap fastener breaking down after all?

Just as buttons and zippers have managed to stay with us through various developments and innovations in fastening, so it would seem that snap fasteners are here to stay for the foreseeable future. As long as there is a need for quick, secure and durable fastening, snap fasteners will continue to be used.

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