Black Velcro® is a type of fastener that consists of two pieces. It features a piece comprised of numerous hooks and another piece covered with loops. The two portions stick together as the hooks latch onto the loops.
Black Velcro® was originally the idea of a Swiss inventor named George de Mestral. In the early 1940s, Mestral went on a walk with his dog. When they returned home, he noticed that his wool pants and his dog's fur were covered with cockleburs, tiny, prickly plants. He examined them under a microscope and discovered that the burrs were shaped like hooks.
Mestral decided to replicate them to make fasteners with two sides. One side would have hooks like burrs, while the other side would sport loops just like the fabric of his pants. By the late 1940s, Mestral had created looms that made materials with the same hook and loop format.
In the 1950s, the wrong type of yarn was sent to Mestral's workshop. The yarn was nylon, which turned out to be the best material for hook making. In 1951, Mestral applied for a Swiss patent for his invention. He called it Velcro®, a name that was a combination of two French words: velour and crochet.
By 1953, the hook and loop fastener invention was used for the first time. The invention spread to Europe and the U.S. It was trademarked in the U.S. on 13 May 1958. Velcro® was so popular that a 1959 issue of Reader's Digest declared Velcro® as the most revolutionary clothing invention since the emergence of the zipper.
Since then, black Velcro® has continued to influence the world in all facets of life. It traveled with Neil Armstrong in 1969 to the moon. TV personality David Letterman used the fastener in 1984 when he created a Velcro® hook suit to fasten himself to a Velcro® loop wall.
Today, black Velcro® is used in a variety of products, including athletic shoes, office supplies, personal care items, and materials within the automobile and industrial field. People use black Velcro® in crafts and sewing projects. The simple fastener is even used to attach equipment on NASA's space shuttle.
George de Mestral's walk with his dog influenced him to create an invention that ultimately changed the way people lived their lives. Upon entering most stores, it's possible to locate countless products that feature black Velcro®. Mestral's ability to use a prickly plant as a catalyst for the invention of Velcro® ensures him a permanent place as one of the most influential inventors of our time.