Born on April 24, 1880 in Smaland, Sweden, Sundback moved to Germany after he finished his studies. In 1905, he emigrated to the United States.
He worked as an engineer for the Universal Fastener Company in Hoboken, New Jersey. There, Sundback perfected the zipper. It was called the “Hookless No. 2,″ and it debuted in 1914 to a resounding thud.
The problem was that several primitive zippers existed before 1914, and were universally characterized as awful, and those earlier results colored people's opinions of the new zipper before they even tried it. These designs jammed easily (and those annoyed when today's zippers jam, but on a rare basis, can understand how people would feel about a similar, but frequent occurrence). The older ones also pulled apart easily.
These were issues that did not exist with Sundback's design. Despite the tepid original reaction, he patented the invention in 1917. However, it wasn't called a zipper until 1923m when B.F. Goodrich, who used the device on their new boots, coined the term.
Sundbäck also created the manufacturing machine for the new zipper. Eventually, of course, people realized that his design was superior, and the zipper became as it is today: ubiquitous.
Sundback died of a heart condition in 1954.