Got a zipper? Chances are it’s got the letters “YKK” inscribed on it right? Ever wonder why? It’s all due to one japanese company that produces an astounding 7 billion zippers a year –that’s half of all zipper made in the world.
The “YKK” stand for Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha, which translates in English roughly to the Yoshida Manufacturing Shareholding Company –a manufacturer that was founded by Tadao Yoshida in 1934, just as zippers were starting to become a thing.
According to the Smithsonian, Yoshia was inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s capitalist manifesto, The Gospel of Wealth. The book pushed Yoshida to take a small manufacturing outfit and turn it into a massive, worldwide operation that now makes silent zippers for soldiers, fire-retardant zippers for firemen, airtight zippers for astronauts.
And that’s not all, writes George Pendle writes for Atlas Obscura
[YKK]makes zips for drainage ditches, zips for rockets, and zips for fishing nets. Occasionally there are snags, such as when an exporter in the Deep South of the United States began importing zips with KKK on them to appeal to local markets, or when YKK was accused of operating a zippering cartel.great read if you want to know more about Yoshida and YKK’s interesting history.
Check out the entire Atlas Obsucra piece for more interesting history about Yoshida and his amazing company, YKK.