Consider the zipper, one of life's most prevalent and complex pieces of machinery. Invented in 1893 by Chicago entrepreneur Whitcomb Judson, the slide fastener was perfected in the city of Meadville, Pennsylvania by Gideon Sundback & Lewis Walker. What would eventually become the Talon Zipper Company steadily employed thousands of Americans around the globe for about 90 years. Today, nothing remains of Talon in Meadville, and the city has been forced to redefine itself.
This story is not unique to one community. Rather, it speaks to the larger trend of industrial decline in America today. As our nation faces political divisiveness and unemployment, I invite you to take a moment and consider what impact the zipper has had upon Meadville, and the world at large.
This project includes a 26 minute film and research report. It was produced by Jeremy Loewer, in fulfillment of a culminating senior thesis at Allegheny College.