A hunting trip to the Alps in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral and his dog gave birth to the idea of inventing the ‘velcro’, an easy to use, durable fastening.
What happened was that some burrs, tiny seeds of burdock plant attached themselves to the fur of Mestral’s dog. Burrs have small hooks which get latched to the loops that cover fur, hair and clothing. Mestral took a look at the burrs under a microscope and realised the potential of creating a fastener along similar lines.
Inspired by the idea, Mestral created the world’s first hook-and-loop fastener and named it velcro. He patented it in 1955. The name was derived from the French words, ‘velour’ meaning velvet and ‘crochet’ meaning hook. Velcro essentially is a two-sided fastener with hooks on one side and loops on the other.
Velcro is not only used in clothing but it has found use in a number of industries such as consumer packaged goods, transportation, personal care, health care and transportation.
George de Mestral’s outing with his dog thus proved to very fruitful.