Snappy Facts about snaps

In the sewing world we are very familiar with snaps and the word conjures up a certain object. I knew it had other meanings but when I looked it up on, I was shocked that the definition for which I was seeking was the 25th given. 25th!  Therefore, I want to preface this post, Snappy Facts about Snaps,by telling you it is about snaps used in sewing, not any sort of snap or crackle. Phew, glad that's cleared up.

1. Definition - I found the following meaning on  "a catch or fastener that closes by pressure and clicks together." Exactly what I am writing about.

2. History - This site is fabulous for the history of all kinds of fasteners. I learned that the earliest form of a snap appeared in 201 BC on the horse halters of China's famous terracotta army.  That's fascinating!

3. Modern inventors - There are two schools of thought on this. Many sources list Heribert Bauer of Germany as the inventor but others claim it is Bertel Sanders of Denmark. The year 1885 is universally1126single_LRG agreed upon as when modernish snaps began showing up.

4. First common usage - Snaps were first used in the 1850's in a different form in the theatre. This makes sense as think of the need to quickly change costumes. You can read more here. 

5, Types - I was interested to learn that snaps became used in home sewing in the 1940's because of the tools to insert them. Today "there are two different types of snaps currently on the market — post-style and prong-style." You can learn the difference between the two by clicking on the sentence.

6. Reversibility - The newest kind of snap is a prong style snap and they are reversible, you could use them either way is the point on this post. They also say if that type of snap is loose or misapplied, it's easy to fix and they tell you how.

7. Manufacturers - I can't definitively tell you who the largest manufacturer of Snaps is but YKK, a huge zipper manufacturer seems to be a major player in the snap world as well. Read all about it!

snaps8. Number of uses - The KAM manufacturing company has pictures of 101 uses for snaps on its website. Some of the ideas are pretty darn clever. You can see them here.

9. Same name - There is a candy, albeit an old fashioned one with the same name. It is a licorice candy that dates from the 1930's. You can read about it or order it here.

10. Expressions - The dated hip hop expression, OH SNAP was popularized by Tracy Morgan and there are many theories about its origins. Its meaning is mainstream now and is an expression of joy, dismay by you or another person reacting to a comment or action. It can also take the place of snap3"Oh no you didn't."

11. Inserting - Personally I use the tools to insert the snaps. Actually my husband does it for me, you can see him here. Or you can read about it here.

12. Or how about using a hammer? (I did this method years ago.) Here's a video!

Sew happy!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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