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Discover what made the future: YKK Zippers

Without looking, what brand is the zipper on your pants?

Probably Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, better known as “YKK.”  That’s because the Japanese giant makes almost half the zippers on earth – more than 7B a year.

Founded by Tadao Yoshida in Tokyo in 1934, the young Yoshida was a tinkerer who designed his own customized zipper machines when he wasn’t satisfied with existing production methods. One by one, Yoshida brought every stage of the zipper making process in house to the point where YKK smelts its own brass, develops its own polyester, spins and twists its own thread, weaves and color-dyes cloth for its zipper tapes, forges and molds its scooped zipper teeth. YKK even makes the boxes it ships its zippers in.

With every tiny detail handled under YKK’s roof, outside variables get eliminated and the company can assure consistent quality and speed of production. (When the Japanese earthquake hit last year many supply chains were shredded, but YKK kept rolling along.)

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