Could Someone Please Lend A Hand With Suzy’s Zipper?

This is a shot of the original un touched top off Bill Macks killer sportsman. The zipper is for the top cover. Like an idiot, I only photographed the tail end not the pull tab.. I have a gillion shots and the one thing I need, I missed.. Ahhhhhh. This is the story of my life.

For those of you following the story on Suzy’s need to put a top on her. Here is the latest thing she needs. When we got the top we only could find the metal bars. A gold mine for sure. But no soft top as a reference or pattern. There is one pattern but its up in Ohio tucked away and from the 20 or so shots that we have of the original top, we can get it real close now that we have the bars. We are also redoing the top in the original style canvas. BUT, since we are starting fresh, it would be cool to match up the zipper to the original. If God is in the details, I now need him to look at Suzy’s zipper. SO.. how can you help. First if any of you have an original top from the late 50’s or early 60’s. What is the manufacturer of  your beloveds zipper? Now… to add to the mayhem, fellow CCABC member Reg Down did his usual over research on Zippers. Below is the posting from Boat Buzz on the topic.

Above images courtesy of -

Mr. Smith – Vintage metal zipper branding and manufacturer identification is almost an art form that, up until today, I have never thought about before.

As shown in the below photos, almost all metal zipper manufacturers since the advent of the zipper have developed a creative brand / logo which was shown on the zipper “Pull Tab” but not always shown on the zipper “Bottom Stop” which you have included in your original photo (above).

Up until the 1960’s Talon was a major American zipper designer / manufacturer before being sold to Textron. Many of the creative Talon brands / logos had a square-ish script design and “Pull Tab” design but of the hundreds of Talon photos I reviewed, none had the exact style of logo as shown in your “Bottom Stop” photo.

However, photos of vintage period “Bottom Stops” are difficult to find. Also because of the physical size of the “Bottom Stops” the zipper manufacturers may not have incorporated the same logo on the “Bottom Stop” as they did on the “Pull Tab.”

YKK zippers started in Japan in 1934 and opened their first office in the USA in 1960 and today are the leading zipper manufacturer in the world. But because they didn’t begin to focus their energy on the American market until 1960, they may not have been a supplier of zippers for a 1960 Chris-Craft canvas top pre-1960.

Other metal zipper manufacturers from that period include Coats and Clarkes (C&C), Kwik, Nobility, and Crown.

So to answer your question regarding a possible zipper manufacturer for your canvas top, it may help to either locate a photo of the original zipper “Pull Tab” (easy for me to say) or find someone who has an original canvas top with the original zipper so the manufacturer’s name can be identified on the “Pull Tab”. There are probably some original Chris-Craft Sea Skiffs of the same vintage / period with a similar style / size canvas top.

Above images courtesy of -

I will continue to research this, and probably every time I use a zipper will look on the “Pull Tab” for the name. Maybe the nice folks over at Woody Boater can also reach out to vintage canvas top owners for a possible zipper identification.

Here’s a link to the history of Talon American zippers.

42 replies
  1. Don Ayers
    Don Ayers says:

    And Matt you used to make fun of me for wire colors in Barrel Backs…

    You have gone insane like the rest of us. Ha!

    Love the detail. That’s the journey part of this hobby that makes it worthwhile.

  2. Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy
    Randy Rush-Captain Grumpy says:

    My carver has the original canvas on it. The zipper is brass and says nynco. Ill shoot you a picture if you want.

  3. RRG
    RRG says:

    Even if I knew the manufacturer of that zipper I wouldnt spill the beans! Get a top, and ANY zipper and enjoy the boat!………..oh boy….original zipper??!!

    • Dennis J. Mykols
      Dennis J. Mykols says:

      Matt is going for the “1000 point” judging goal. I found out in life during the 80′ and 90’s, no matter how big a boat you got, or how fast a boat you got, SOMEONE always has a BIGGER or FASTER boat. Now that I am back into Woodies, I look at the hobby in a different way, I may not have a 100 point boat, but I can USE my ol’ girl every day and enjoy her… Not into all that “Make it perfect/orginal” stress.

  4. Ol'Salt
    Ol'Salt says:

    If you are digging this deep into the zipper thing I assume you have already covered the canvas. If not, I would highly recommend talking with Eric Haartz at

    I found him immensely helpful when I was redoing the canvas on my Continental Hardtop. He offers a factory direct “historically correct” line of material not offered by any of the commercial suppliers. He is a great guy and although a car guy, is very interested in classic boats.

  5. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Matt, if the day should come that the boys arrive at your house in a white van, would you have a zipper preference for your straight jacket? Just wondering……

  6. Alex
    Alex says:

    Please tell me this is a slow news day and not genuine obsession. This is not to trivialize the joy of finding the correct zipper. Or, a mint-in-the-box one handed over personally from a direct descendent of Chris Smith, complete with a signed letter of authenticity and carbon dating analysis. It’s just, at what nano point does nautical-correctness stop?

    You do know asteroid YU55 passed within 209,000 miles of earth — closer than the moon — a couple months ago, right? You do know it measured ~1,300 ft across and was traveling at 8.46 miles PER SECOND and, had it hit us at a 45 degree angle, would have released the energy equivalent of ~619 megatons (thousands of times larger than “Little Boy”)? Here’s NASA’s innocuous-looking video of YU55.

    And you do know NASA’s “Near Earth Object Program” is only aware of an estimated 10% of the estimated 1,000 asteroids and comets larger than 1 KM that “approach the earth?” And that of the estimated 10% known ones, a simple data input error could have underestimated the actual potential for impact (yes, NASA makes typos too). And you do know the likelihood our government would even tell us such an object was headed this way is miniscule, right?

    The point of all this is to remember what’s truly important man! Not reaching for your zipper. Noooo. It’s finding another boat to buy. Live it up! Because it might be later than any of us thinks.

    Anybody know where I can find a self-righting pilot boat, preferably stocked with a few years provisions and plenty of Scapa? Don’t have one of those.

    P.S. That distance measure for YU55 was from the center of the earth, meaning it passed even closer than you thought to your fresh varnish! Again, focus man!

    • Baldguy
      Baldguy says:

      BUT……. What if it had hit the earth and we’re all up at the Pearly Gates with Matt in the front? St Peter (or substitute the being of your choice) points out that Matt didn’t have the determination to do EVERYTHING right during his life, then asks us if we were the stumbling blocks placed in his way. All of us then then condemned to return to earth and only allowed to purchase Bayliners. Hell on earth all because we didn’t help Matt find a zipper. For me I’m sure I would otherwise be in Heaven with a perfect 100 point Garwood Sedan.

  7. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Matt – I would go with a new nylon/plastic zipper product and be done with it – There is a bit of salt air where you are and the zipper will be toast in about three-five years if you are using the boat with the top on it.

    They corrode/rust/fall apart and the WD-40 stains the canvas.

    Just my $.02 worth from the Salty Side of Washington.

  8. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    If you have to buy a zipper anyway, if may as well be the right one. If you can’t find it – so what? No one will really care but I don’t see a reason not to expend some effort in making it correct, on an otherwise near perfect preserved survivor. If Matt was putting a vinyl top on it or it was otherwise adulterated from original, then the point of a correct zipper would be wasted. However, on this boat I don’t think the point is wasted. And I bet this boat will be used in Tavares!

  9. Sabina Pellissier
    Sabina Pellissier says:

    Woody Boaters – what can I say? What better way to start my big day than to do my daily check in on my second favorite website only to see your sweet message! I truly can’t tell you what it means to me that you would do this. I am so blessed by this amazing woody boater family I belong to and I owe so much more than I could ever repay. So thank you for this – and for feeding this sweet addiction from which we woody boaters suffer! You are the best. Sabina

  10. mark Edmonson
    mark Edmonson says:

    Are we going to sit looking at a zipper, or are we going to drink beer, go for a boat ride, enjoy the shade, and don’t worry about the zipper

  11. Tom Frye
    Tom Frye says:

    How do you know that was the original top and zipper? Maybe it wasn’t a zipper at all. It might have been the “lift dot” mechanism. Alot of boats had them back in the late 50’s early 60’s. But if you come into a dead heat with another utility in your class, that zipper may well put you over the top. Better make sure there’s a “canvas judge” in Mt. Dora that knows there zippers and canvas inside and out.

  12. Kim Kadimik
    Kim Kadimik says:

    The zipper in question is for the boot ( the cover for the top when not in use). The top is the stud & clinch plate set up ( lift dot ) , no zipper on the top.

  13. Jack's Mayeaux
    Jack's Mayeaux says:

    Just my two cents. From the picture it looks like an old aluminum Zipper to me. (maybe Taylor Made?)
    I’ve been making boat tops for over thirty years. almost all of the old hardware zippers etc. are long gone.
    You may want to contact . IFAI, Industrial Fabrics Association International, Marine Fabrication Division.
    They have an extensive manufacturer catalog etc.
    You may want to also look into their tent and canvass division.
    These type of Zips were used in the tent business as well.

  14. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks for your contribution Jack… Great info.

    I agree with you that the robust canvas zipper in Matt’s photo (above) is an aluminum version. Any idea of the size / width? I am guessing that it’s probably a #8 or #10.

    • Jack's Mayeaux
      Jack's Mayeaux says:

      Yes, I agree, size either an #8 or # 10 or . I would think a #10.
      Too bad we cant see the slider. it’s probably a single pull. The pull may have a name on it. If the receiver end is heavy it might be chromed pot metal, or even stainless, it is definitely polished but it is probably alum. Regardless the teeth are very likely aluminum. Luggage makers also used this kind of zipper. Looks like kind of a high end zipper. not the economy model for sure.
      So if I was asking , I would say it is a #10. white tape, single pull, separating, aluminum zipper. I would add that it has a square, Framed Edge receiver.

  15. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:

    Don’t get discouraged Matt. I’ve been looking to find out what “Mustang” upholstery is for a 1920s boat for years. Try putting that into a search engine and not come up with bucket seats for a Ford Mustang. Great banner today – love how the waterlines line up!

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