Fact File about the Invention of Velcro: Date of Invention: 1948 *** Name of Inventor: George de Mestral *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1907 - 1990 *** Nationality of Inventor: Swiss *** Historical Period: Cold War *** Category: Textiles *** Country of Origin: Switzerland *** Facts about the Inventor, George de Mestral, and
his invention ***
Fact 1: Who invented Velcro? Velcro was invented by George de Mestral in 1948 during the Cold War era of inventions
and a major advancement in the area of Textiles.
Fact 2: Who invented Velcro? Prior to the invention of Velcro in 1948,
the zipper had been invented in 1913 but there was
no fast and easy way to fasten shoes or clothes or items such as blood pressure cuffs. The
invention also played a significant role in the Space program.
Fact 3: Who invented Velcro? The inventor of Velcro, George de Mestral, was born on June 19, 1907 in Lausanne, Switzerland died on February 8, 1990.
Fact 4: Who invented Velcro? The early years of George de Mestral were
spent in Lausanne, Switzerland where he was raised by his family. His father was
Albert de Mestral, a civil engineer and his mother's name was Marthe de Goumoens.
Fact 5: Who invented Velcro? George de Mestral was an extremely
intelligent and curious child and received his first invention patent in 1919,
at age 12, for designing a toy plane.
Fact 6: Who invented Velcro? George de Mestral was educated at Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL)
where he studied electrical engineering. Following his graduation in 1930
he was employed as an engineer in a machine shop of a Swiss engineering company.
Fact 7: Who invented Velcro? Like many inventions Velcro was not planned
it was an accident, inspired by a common, everyday event. In 1948 George de Mestral
went on vacation to the Jura Mountains in the Alps. Accompanied by his Irish
pointer they enjoyed a hike but were plagued by cockleburs (Xanthium), a tall
plant covered with stiff, hooked spines, that stuck to his clothing and to his
Fact 8: Who invented Velcro? The cockleburs stuck relentlessly to his
clothes and his dog's fur, arousing George de Mestral's curiosity as to why the
burrs clung so stubbornly. He examined the burrs under his microscope and
discovered that stiff, hooked spines were the reason why the cockleburs were so
difficult to remove. Each burr was covered with hundreds of tiny hooked spines
that "grabbed" into loops of thread or fur.
Fact 9: Who invented Velcro? George de Mestral realized that the tiny
burr hooks were catching, although temporarily, to fabric hooks in his clothing.
Fact 10: Who invented Velcro? It was a "Eureka" moment for George de Mestral
who recognized the potential of a similar man-made fastener.
Fact 11: Who invented Velcro? The invention of 'Velcro' was to take eight
years of experimentation and development to perfect the invention. George de Mestral
experimented with combinations of numerous types of fabrics and materials only
to find that the loops were too big for the hooks, or vice versa.
Fact 12: Who invented Velcro? Cotton had a similar 'sticking' effect but
George de Mestral eventually discovered that nylon, when sewn under infrared
light, formed nearly indestructible hooks.
Fact 14: Who invented Velcro? In 1951, George de Mestral applied for a
patent for his hook and loop fastener with the Swiss government.
Fact 13: Who invented Velcro? George de Mestral called his invention
"Velcro", from the French words 'VELour', meaning "velvet") and 'CROchet'
meaning "hook". The trademark name Velcro was officially registered on May 13,
Fact 15: Who invented Velcro? In 1952 he established the first of all
Velcro companies Velcro S.A., in Switzerland to manufacture his new hook and
loop fasteners, which contained 300 hooks and loops per square inch.
Fact 15: Who invented Velcro? The mass production of Velcro proved
problematical due to the limitations of existing manufacturing technology so
George de Mestral designed a special machine to duplicate the hooks and loops.
On September 13, 1955 a U.S. Patent No. 2,717,437 was issued to George de
Mestral for "Velvet Type Fabric and Method of Producing the Same".
Fact 16: Who invented Velcro? The invention of Velcro, marketed as a "zipperless
zipper", was not an overnight success, however NASA found numerous uses
for this invention for their astronauts on missions in space. The lack of
gravity in space creates a weightless environment and means when an item is put
down it will float away. Velcro was used by the astronauts to attach items to
the space craft, to stop items such as food or trash floating away, and to get
in and out of these space suits easily.
Fact 17: Who invented Velcro? The invention of Velcro became a huge
success and was perceived as a modern, space-age fabric. In 1968, Puma became
the first major shoe company to offer a sneaker with Velcro fasteners, quickly
followed by Adidas and Reebok.
Fact 17: Who invented Velcro? George De Mestral unsuccessfully tried to
update his patent and it expired in 1978
Fact 18: Who invented Velcro? The invention of Velcro is now used in an
assortment of other items such as jackets, backpacks, wallets, watchbands and
toys like child safe dart boards. It is particularly favored in ski-suits and
scuba diving gear. It is also used for making blood pressure cuffs.
Fact 19: Who invented Velcro? George de Mestral died on February 8, 1990
in Commugny, Switzerland. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of
Fame in 1999 for inventing hook and loop fasteners commonly known as Velcro.
Fast Info and Fact File: Country of Origin: Switzerland *** Name of Inventor: George de Mestral *** Nationality of Inventor: Swiss *** Date of Invention: 1948 *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1907 - 1990 *** Invention Era: Cold War *** Type: Textiles *** The Inventor and Invention ***