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Velcro, an invention inspired by nature

Velcro, an invention inspired by nature
Velcro, an invention inspired by nature

The story behind the discovery of VELCRO® products begins with Georges de Mestral when he was talking a walk. In 1941, upon returning from the countryside with his dog, the Swiss engineer noticed the difficulty of removing flowers of Alpine thistle and burdock, from his trousers and the dog's coat. 

Engineers have to work hard at their craft! Surprised by the flowers' gripping power, he observed them under a microscope and noted that the flower's small hooks could grip anything loop-shaped. He then set about investigating the possibilities for reproducing this very simple principle. 
It would take him ten years to develop a fastening system made up of two separate components, a strip of linear fabric with tiny hooks that can temporarily adhere to another strip of fabric with smaller hooks, until they are separated one from the other. Originally made from cotton, it was initially impractical and too fragile. In the end, the fastening system was made from nylon and polyester.  
Its name comes from the combination of the first syllables of the French words Velours (velvet) and Crochet (hook). Since 1959 the VELCRO® brand includes a wide range of products that have simplified closing and fastening operations.
The first spectacular use made of the fastening system came in the 1960s, when NASA used it on its flight suits and to anchor safety systems in weightless conditions. Then came ski suits and diving suits. It was then pioneered in the fashion industry: in clothes and shoes - and a whole generation of children is still thankful to the brand! 

Nowadays, Velcro, not just a registered trademark, but also a generic term, is used in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, computing, the automotive and medical industries. Although each VELCRO® product is designed for a specific task, the main mechanism remains the same across the entire range.

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