Family owned carpet and rug binding equipment since 1947

The History of the Hook-and-Loop Fastener

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Did you know that the invention of hook-and-loop fasteners, more commonly known by the brand name, Velcro, was inspired by a walk in nature? The idea came to George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, after he’d taken his dog on a hunting trip in the Alps. Both he and the dog had gotten burrs all over their fur and clothes because you only have to brush against a burdock plant fro them to attach themselves. They stick very stubbornly and are very hard to remove from fur. Later, when de Mestral examined the seeds carefully under a microscope, he learned why that is. Each burdock seed has hundreds of tiny hooks that latch onto anything that has loops – like fur or clothes or hair.

Inspired, de Mestral set about inventing a material that could be used as a fastener replicating this same natural “technology.” This is called biomimicry. His first attempt was made from cotton fabric, but he found that cotton degraded quickly over time. At the time nylon was a new fabric, introduced to the world by DuPont who debuted a toothbrush made from it in 1938, and scientists were coming up with all kinds of new uses for it, including wartime ones like parachutes. Nylon is a synthetic material, made from coal or petroleum. It does not degrade quickly and proved to be the ideal cloth to use for de Mestral’s invention, which he called “Velcro,” combining two French words, “velours” and “crochet” (French for “hook”).

Initially de Mestral meant his fastener to replace zippers, but this wasn’t a use that took off. Instead it was incorporated into space suits, ski suits, scuba and marine gear and then eventually used for children’s clothing. When the Velcro patent expired in 1978, many companies replicated and sold it far less expensively, and it became much better known and widely used.

Today there are so many ways to use hook-and-loop fasteners, from clothing to crafts to carpets. It can be sewn onto material as it always has been or adhered to plaster, wood, or metal. Bond Products offers a number of different hook-and-loop products designed with peel-and-stick application to adhere carpet to floors. These come either tapes or coins and in a variety of colors to match your carpet.

If you’re looking for hook-and-loop fastening for larger products or bulk needs, call Bond Products today to order. Take some time and browse our other narrow tape options as well. Our company has long specialized in narrow fabrics, and we still have a large selection for any consumer need.

 

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