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Who Invented Velcro and How?

One of the most popular inventions of the 20th century,  Velcro is used in everything from children’s shoes to blood pressure gauges to laptop bags. But in spite of its near ubiquity, few folks know the history of the famous fastener, or even who invented. Here’s a brief review.

George de Mestral got the idea for Velcro after returning from a hike one day in 1948. The Swiss engineer and weekend mountaineer noted how burrs stuck to his clothes and wondered if there was a commercial application for the natural design. It took de Mestral eight long years to develop the material we now know as Velcro, which is a portmanteau word that combines the original ingredients: velvet and crochet.

Although it was highly effective from the start, few people thought  Velcro had any real-world applications, let alone profitable ones. That was until de Mestral received a patent for his invention and the hook-and-loop technology was introduced. The product became so popular that 60 million yards Velcro were sold within de Mestral’s lifetime. It remains one of the most popular inventions of the modern era for one very simple reason–it works!

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