Velcro

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hooks (left) and loops (right).

Velcro is a brandname and trademark owned by the Velcro Companies for hook-and-loop fasteners.[1] Hook-and-loop fasteners have a "hook" side, which is a piece of fabric covered with tiny hooks, and a "loop" side, which is covered with even smaller and "hairier" loops. When the two sides are pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops and hold the pieces together.[2] When they are separated, they make a special "ripping" sound. Contrary to popular belief, it was invented by Lloyd Patrick Arnold in the late 1930s who was inspired by watching the way that plant fibres stuck to the fur of his pet dog, Sidney, while going on country walks. This led to extensive experimenting at his home in Dorset before he eventually found the fully functioning system that is widely used to this day.

Creation[change | change source]

The hooks on a piece of Velcro imitate the hooks found on burrs.

The person who invented hook-and-loop was a scientist named George de Mestral.[3][4][5][6] During a hunting vacation in Switzerland, de Mestral came home one evening and tried to remove the burrs stuck to his dog's fur. He was very surprised to see how hard the burrs were to remove. That night he studied the burrs under a microscope and noticed that each burr was covered with hundreds of small hooks acting like grasping hands.[6] De Mestral decided that this burr could be made to close fabric instead of buttons and zippers.[6] By copying the hook pattern hat he saw on burrs, he made hook-and-loop!

Vocabulary[change | change source]

George de Mestral created the Velcro trademark by combining the French words for velvet (velour) and hook (crochet).[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Velcro." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. "Velcro". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. Stephens, Thomas (2007-01-04). "How a Swiss invention hooked the world". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  4. McSweeney, Thomas J. (1999). Better to Light One Candle: The Christophers' Three Minutes a Day: Millennial Edition. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 55. ISBN 0826411622. Retrieved 2008-05-09.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. "About Us:History". Velcro.uk. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Fulbright, Jeannie (2004). Exploring Creation with Botany. 1106 Meridian Plaza, Suite 220: Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. ISBN 1-932012-49-4. 

Other websites[change | change source]