VELCRO® Brand hook and loop fasteners are used in all walks of life… From home DIY to medicine and space exploration. But do you know who invented hook and loop and what inspired its creation?
Stick with us for the fascinating history of the hook and loop fastener – and find out how it’s all down to a dog named Milka!
The story of the VELCRO® Brand
Who invented hook and loop fasteners?
Hook and loop fasteners were invented by a Swiss engineer called George de Mestral and he commercialised them under the VELCRO® trademark. You may not recognise his name but you will have certainly used his most famous invention!
Born in 1907, George had an inventive mind from an early age and received his first patent for type of a model plane at just age 12. He grew up to become an electrical engineer but it wasn’t until 1941 that he had his eureka moment!
How did George de Mestral get his inspiration from the burdock fruit?
In 1941, George de Mestral had the inspiration for the hook and loop fastener while he was on a hunting trip in the Alps with his dog Milka. George noticed that burdock burrs – a tiny seed covered in hundreds of microscopic ‘hooks’ that catch onto the natural ‘loops’ that cover fur, clothing and hair – kept sticking to his dog’s fur.
This was the moment that George saw a huge opportunity. He spent the next decade with a microscope investigating how the burdock burr’s barbed, hook-like seeds engaged with the ‘loops’ on his trousers, trying to create a new type of clothing fastener.
He received help from friends in the weaving industry and in 1955, he filed the first patent for the hook and loop fastener. The rest is history!
How did he choose a brand name for his hook and loop fastener?
To commercialise his invention, George de Mestral needed a memorable brand name. And the VELCRO® trademark has a pretty unique origin. It’s a combination of the French words “velour” (velvet) and “crochet” (hook), essentially meaning “hooked velvet”. And the rest is history!