Velcro

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Velcro IP Holdings LLC [1]
Velcro Companies [1]
FormerlyVelcro SA. [2]
Type Privately held company
IndustryManufacturing: fastening systems
Founder George de Mestral
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
Number of locations
Manufacturing: 7 countries [1]
Area served
Worldwide [1]
Key people
  • Bob Woodruff (CEO)
  • Dirk Foreman (president, Velcro N. America)
  • Norbert Nieleck (president, Velcro EMEA)
  • Paulo Garutti (president, Velcro Latin America)
  • Frank Liao (president, Velcro APAC)
[1]
Products Hook-and-loop fasteners, and other products [1]
BrandsVELCRO [1]
Number of employees
2,500 [1]
Subsidiaries Alfatex Group [3]
Website www.Velcro.co.uk

Velcro, [2] [4] [5] officially known as Velcro IP Holdings LLC, and trading as Velcro Companies, [1] is a British privately held company, founded by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral in the 1950s, that is known for being the original creator and manufacturer of hook-and-loop fasteners. [2]

Contents

History

Hook-and-loop fastener, invented by de Mestral Velcro.jpg
Hook-and-loop fastener, invented by de Mestral

Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral invented his first touch fastener when, in 1941, he went for a walk in the Alps, and wondered why burdock seeds clung to his woolen socks and coat, and also his dog Milka. [2] [6] He discovered it could be turned into something useful. [5] He patented it in 1955, [2] [5] and subsequently refined and developed its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s.

The fastener consisted of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could 'mate' with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart. [7] Initially made of cotton, which proved impractical, [8] the fastener was eventually constructed with nylon and polyester. [5] [9]

De Mestral gave the name Velcro; [2] [4] a portmanteau of the French words velours ('velvet') and croché ('hook'), [2] [5] to his invention, as well as to the Swiss company he founded; Velcro SA. [2]

The company continues to manufacture and market the fastening system. Originally envisioned as a fastener for clothing, today, Velcro is used across a wide array of industries and applications; including healthcare, the military, land vehicles, aircraft, and even spacecraft. [6]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Company Information". www.Velcro.co.uk. Velcro IP Holdings LLC. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Stephens, Thomas (4 January 2007). "How a Swiss invention hooked the world". www.SwissInfo.ch. Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  3. "Alfatex Group history". www.Velcro.co.uk. Velcro IP Holdings LLC. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  4. 1 2 "Velcro - Meaning of Velcro in English". www.Lexico.com. Oxford English Dictionary online. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Suddath, Claire (15 June 2010). "A brief history of: Velcro". content.Time.com. TIME USA, LLC. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  6. 1 2 "Who Invented VELCRO® | History of VELCRO® brand and George de Mestral". www.Velcro.co.uk. Velcro IP Holdings LLC. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  7. "Velcro | Definition of Velcro". www.Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  8. Strauss, Steven D. (December 2001). The Big Idea: How Business Innovators Get Great Ideas to Market. Kaplan Business. pp. 15–18. ISBN   978-0-7931-4837-0 . Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  9. Schwarcz, Joseph A. (October 2003). Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 99 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life. ECW Press. p. 178. ISBN   978-1-55022-577-8 . Retrieved 9 May 2008. But not every Velcro application has worked ... a strap-on device for impotent men also flopped.