This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Inspired By Mom (Nature)

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May 13, 1958: Velcro Trademark Registered

Invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer George de Mastral (below) and later patented by him in 1955, the trademark name is not registered until this day in 1958. The word Velcro is a combination of the two French words velours (velvet) and crochet (hook).

Layayacosturera-velcro-invento_22-05-2013

Inspiration From Nature

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Burdock

The idea came to Mestral one day after returning from a hunting trip with his dog. They were both covered with burrs ~ seed of the burdock ~ that were sticking to him and his dog. Being a curious fellow he examined them under a microscope and noted their hundreds of hooks (below) that caught on anything with a loop, like clothing, hair or fur.

Burdock Burr 3velcro

Inspiration is one thing but practical application is another. It took him ten years to create a mechanism that actually worked and was granted a patent in 1955. Velcro got its first break when the astronauts used it on their space suits. As Velcro became more widely used, NASA was incorrectly credited with its invention.

Velcro20HD

In 1978 de Mastral’s patent expired prompting a flood of low cost imitations onto the market. Today, the trademark is the subject of more than 300 trademark registrations in over 159 countries. George de Mestral was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention.

Letterman 1984 ~ Velcro Man

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43064915 Burdock Burr 2 burdockseed

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