After a walk in the Swiss woods with his dog one day in 1941, Georges de Mestral was astounded by the ability of burrs to stick to his dog’s coat and his own clothes. When he got home, he shoved burrs under a microscope and saw that its barbed seed pods hooked easily with the looped fibers of his coat. He realized that he could produce a new type of fastening product.
It was not an easy task, though, eventually taking him 10 years to perfect the product, using cotton but settling on nylon. At first people laughed at the idea but by the time Georges de Mestral (1907 – 1990) received a patent for the product in 1955 the idea for the “zipperless zipper” was well received. He named the product Velcro, from the French words velours (velvet) and crochet (hook).
Today, Velcro is used almost everywhere: apparel, shoes, leashes, nuclear power plants, battle tanks, in the space shuttle and many more. All thanks to the burr plant.