Back to all articles

The History of Ziploc Bags

Steven Ausnit fled Communist Romania in 1947. In 1951, he, his father (Max), and his uncle (Edgar) bought the rights to the original plastic zipper, which had been designed by a Danish inventor named Borge Madsen. Madsen didn’t have any specific application in mind, so Ausnit began experimenting with the plastic zippers. He formed Flexigrip with his father and uncle to manufacture the zippers; when the slider used in the original design proved too costly to make, Ausnit used his experience as a mechanical engineer to create the press-and-seal zipper. Thus, the original Ziploc-style plastic bag was born. In 1962, Ausnit learned of a Japanese company called Seisan Nihon Sha that could incorporate the zipper into the bag itself (as opposed to heat pressing it). The Ausnits licensed the rights to this technology and formed a second company called Minigrip. Soon after, Dow Chemical requested an exclusive grocery-store license and introduced the Ziploc bag to a test market in 1968. While it wasn’t an immediate success, by 1973, the Ziploc bag was popular and beloved as a storage option for everything from food to children’s toys. Today, Ziploc bags and similar products remain popular, although in some cases, single-use plastics are being phased out for environmental reasons.

Share this article

card showing the history of rocking chairs

Your go-to guide for weird history facts

Subscribe to the FREE daily email that makes learning about history fun.