The invention of Velcro happened one morning when a Swiss engineer was out hunting in 1914. When he got back, he was covered with little stubborn flowers that refused to get off his trousers and his dog’s fur.
He removed them carefully, examined them under a microscope, and understood why they clung to his trouser so hard.
The flowers were covered with hundreds of tiny but strong hooks that allow them to cling onto fabric and animal fur.
This inventor’s name was George de Mestral, and he used this mechanism to invent a material that would change the way people fastened things by making it simple and easy.
The term Velcro is from the French words ‘velours’ (loop) and ‘crochet’ (hook). Mestral’s invention caught on in no time.
He formed the Velcro Industries and today the term Velcro is actually the trade name for Velcro® the product’s brand name.
Velcro fabric consists of two parts, the hooks and the loops. They are attached to opposite surfaces that need to be fastened together, and because they are uneven, they stick together.
They can be separated by pulling, or peeling them apart, and when the do they make a ripping sound.
At first Velcro was made from cotton, but was later replaced by Nylon and polyester.
You would recognize Velcro as most commonly appearing on shoes instead of laces, but also on bags, and on clothes instead of buttons or zippers.
It is also used in space shuttles to fasten things together, for example, chess boards with Velcro attached to the pieces makes sure that the games on even during zero gravity.
Velcro held the human heart together in the first open-heart surgery, and is used on nuclear power plants, and army tanks to hold flashlights to the walls.
It is also found on notebooks, baby diapers, briefcases, and many other things.
Today, Velcro is such a versatile material that it can be used to attach almost anything anywhere.