Invention of Hook
In 1948, a Swiss
mountaineer named George de Mestral was walking through the
woods and was very frustrated by the burs that clung to his
clothes. While picking them off, he realized that it may be
possible to use this principle to make a fastener to compete
with the zipper.
Everyone laughed at him, except
for a weaver at a textile plant in France.
Together, they designed what they
called "locking tape". It was made from cotton.
The biggest problem that they
faced was mass producing it. Sophisticated equipment was needed.
He searched for a solution. Accidentally, de Mestral discovered
that nylon, when sewn under infrared light, formed
indestructible hooks, and the design was finished.
Next problem - the name. Somehow
'hookless fastener' or 'locking tape' did not seem right. If I
were there, I would have suggested a name like 'man made bur
tape that sticks to the other side and fastens things together'
- a much catchier name.
He liked the sound of "vel" from
velvet and "cro" from the French word crochet (meaning hook).
And the name VelcroŽ stuck, just like those annoying burs.
(their legal department wants you to know that Velcro is a
trademarked name of Velcro USA and not a generic name - in other
words, they don't make the hook and loop fasteners - they make
By the end of the 1950's, textile
looms were churning out sixty million yards of this stuff a
year. Just think how much they make today.
Here's an idea for a new product
- VelcroŽ (again, Velcro is a registered trademark for Velcro
USA's brand of hook and loop fasteners) patches glued to the
mouths of people that seem to never shut up. May work....
By the way, VelcroŽ (and yet
again, Velcro is a registered trademark for - you know who -
Velcro USA - don't confuse them with the hook and loop fasteners
Velcro has a major problem - the name has become generic. Any
day now the U. S. Courts are going to tell them that they no
longer have exclusive rights to the trademark any more (probably
the main reason they want me to use care with their name.
Remember we are not Velcro, we
are generic Hook and Loop which is why we can save you so much