What is Velcro and who invented it?

Velcro, also known as “zipperless zipper” , is now present on a wide variety of items all around us, from shoe straps to laptop baskets, blood pressure monitors or even items on the plane.

The word “Velcro” is so commonly used that it is used to refer to any type of tape that uses a hook-and-loop mechanism for fixation. But few people know this is actually the name of the company that invented this technology and now it has become an extremely popular product in life.

What is Velcro and who invented it?
Velcro refers to any type of tape that uses a hook and loop mechanism for fixation.

In 1948, Swiss engineer George de Mestral, also an amateur mountaineer, was walking through a forest with his dog. When he got home, he noticed tree nuts hooked to his clothes and wondered if a similar mechanism could be used for commercial purposes. So he studied a plant seed under a microscope and discovered that there were many tiny hooks on its surface. It is these hooks that help the beads stick to the fabric as well as other hairs. After more than eight years of research and work, he created what is now known as Velcro . The term comes from the words “Velvet” (velvet) and “Crochet” (crochet).

Velcro is designed with 2 ribbons, one contains thousands of tiny hooks, the other has thousands of equally small circles. When the two bands are joined together, the hook attaches to the ring creating a very strong retention mechanism that is still very easy to remove when needed.

What is Velcro and who invented it?
Velcro is designed with 2 ribbons, one contains thousands of tiny hooks, the other has thousands of equally small circles.

At the beginning, George de Mestral’s idea was heavily mocked, but thanks to his perseverance, the Velcro rope became more and more functional and ready for commercial use. In 1955, he patented his invention Velcron and helped his company avoid copying from competitors, and this was a huge advantage. Proof that the company sold more than 60 million yards (54,864 km) of Velcro per year during de Mestral’s time.

Many people believe that Velcro was invented by NASA, the American space agency. However, this is a misconception. Even so, NASA still contributes a lot to the popularity of this loop-hook technology when using it for space conquest missions. In the 1960s, Apollo astronauts used Velcro to secure a variety of essential equipment in their journey, and when needed, they could easily remove it.

While it’s good and used by famous names like NASA like Velcro, it only comes in a few color options and often looks rather odd. Precisely because of the lack of aesthetics and this technology is mainly used in sports equipment. Starting from 1968 until the 1980s, shoe companies such as Puma, Adidas, and Reebok began to put Velcro into use for children’s shoelaces.

What is Velcro and who invented it?
Velcro used for children’s shoelaces.

At this point, the patent for Velcron technology has expired and is open to the public. Many companies began to imitate the production of similar ropes around the world. Many brands used cheap materials with low quality, which forced Velcro to start a battle to maintain the quality consistency for this brand, while avoiding Velcro from becoming a noun. similar to the situation with aspirin, which is also a brand name but is used so much that it becomes a generic term.

Velcro began to be widely used for more purposes in 1984. At this time, there was an interview between David Letterman, a famous TV presenter in the US, and the sales manager of Velcro USA. The interview ends with Letterman jumping off a trampoline towards a wall while wearing a Velcro suit. That event led many companies to start exploring ways to use Velcro for more creative and versatile purposes, from attaching electronics to car seats to using Velcro to catch a ball.

What is Velcro and who invented it?
A typical Velcro cord.

In 2004, Velcro achieved an important milestone when winning the contract to become a supplier to the US Army. Their hook-and-loop material is used in the new generation of the uniform to fasten the shirt, which is lighter in weight than the previous version. However, the soldiers did not like that suit and thought that Velcro made too much noise and was prone to dust. After a study, the US Army no longer used Velcro but switched to using buttons.

Velcro is today a registered trademark of Velcro Industry. Therefore, many products that use Velcro do not promote this name, as well as the fact that other manufacturers imitate Velcro to make similar products, not mentioning the brand that invented the technology. this handy technology.