Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gripping stuff

While hunting, Georges de Mestral, a Swiss aristocrat, was inspired to create an alternative to the zip by the burs that attached themselves to his clothes and to his dog. Examining the burs under a microscope, he realised they were covered in thousands of hooks and tried to reproduce the effect. The result, patented in 1956, was two strips, one with tiny loops to which the little hooks on the other clung. Although his fastener was made from nylon, de Mestral named it Velcro, from the French velours, 'velvet', and croche, 'hooked'.

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