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George de Mestral, Inventor of Velcro
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Microscope photo of Velcro’s® hooks and loops

Microscope photo of Velcro’s® hooks and loops

More Photography:

A man stuck upside down to a Velcro® wall
A man stuck upside down to a Velcro® wall

The Work of George de Mestral

It took de Mestral nearly a decade of trial and error to create a fastener that would cling as well as the burrs. In early trials, the loops were too big for the hooks, or the hooks were too big for the loops. Together with a skilled French weaver, de Mestral eventually learned how to make nearly indestructible burr-like nylon hooks. And the men developed a fabric that the “burr” side would stick to.

Velcro’s® name is derived from the French velours (velvet) and crochet (hook). This magnified view shows the hook and loop strips of nylon that make up Velcro®.

Today Velcro® is everywhere. It’s used in sneakers, backpacks, jackets, wallets, watchbands, and children’s toys. It even turns up in places you wouldn’t expect it. Velcro helped hold a human heart together during the first artificial-heart surgery. NASA uses Velcro® to keep equipment from floating about in U.S. space shuttles, and on the insides of space helmets so that astronauts have a rough surface to scratch their itchy noses and chins.

Next: Ruth Foster, Coinventor of the Gentle Leader® Dog Collar ›

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