I just bought a repro Talon zipper to have as a backup for a jacket of mine whose zip is looking like it may start going bad soon. The repro bears the current Talon box T logo on the back. It’s not a bad looking job from a little bit away, same shape, same size, and I’m sure once in a jacket would probably pass muster, more-or-less. But compared to the original, there is no comparison. The shape of the slider is different, with curved edges, while the original is made up of straight lines. The puller is close, but is longer, as it mounts higher. The cover on the slider with the “Talon” script is wider, which accounts for a change of shape of the cutout on the slider. The quality of the casting is much rougher on the reproduction. Instead of using one of Talon’s several distinctive stop-box designs, the repro goes for a modern, small stopbox. I know it’s not period correct, but I do appreciate the plastic(melted?) reinforcement at the base of the zipper tape on the reproduction. It’s a detail found on modern zippers, but one which I would consider an improvement over the zippers of the ’30s. So many original zippers I have have failed at that point.
The verdict? This particular repro was cheap and will do in a pinch. It works well, and for putting in a vintage jacket or a vintage style-one, it certainly would look better than a modern off-the shelf YKK. However, if true period accuracy is what you’re after, I’d say you’d be better off going with the NOS zips from Mash Japan.