This Weird Thing Inspired The Invention Of Velcro
Out for a hike one day, George de Mestral, a civil engineer from Switzerland, discovered that groups of burdock burrs covered his clothing and the fur on his dog. Curious to how they worked, he brought them back to the engineering company he worked at for further investigation.
Under the microscope, he noticed that hundreds of tiny "hooks" covered the burrs, allowing them to stick to anything with a loop, like clothing, hair or fur. This sparked an idea: could he figure out how to duplicate the hooks and loops by binding materials reversibly?
But the road to patenting Velcro would take almost a decade before it saw any success or acknowledgement from society and De Mestral's peers. After taking ten years to replicate the hook and loop system, he finally received a patent in 1955 for his creation. The name Velcro was inspired by French words 'velours' meaning velvet and 'crochet' meaning hook.
Within the first couple of years of being on the market, Velcro started appearing in shops in Germany, Italy, and in the UK to name a few. Eventually selling 60 million yards a year through a multi-million dollar company.
Aside from inspiring the fashion industry, some of the first notable uses for Velcro were in the aerospace industry by helping astronauts slide in and out of their bulky space suits. Soon afterwards, it also became common in ski suits and marine gear for scuba divers.