The invention of Velcro was created by Swiss engineer, George de Mestral.
He received a patent from the Swiss government in 1955 and was subsequently granted patents from other countries around the world.
As with many successful inventors, George had invented other products.
When he was 12, he received a patent for a toy airplane. He also invented an asparagus peeler.
He studied engineering at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and worked in a machine shop for a Swiss engineering company.
The invention of Velcro resulted from what is known today as the science of biomimicry, derived from the Greek words bios meaning “life” and mimesis meaning “imitate”.
Biomimicry is the examination of nature in order to create models, systems or processes that imitate life and solve human problems.
For example, sonar technology was developed from studying how whales and bats use echolocation for navigation, and paper was invented from studying how wasps made their nests.
Biomimicry is actually how George de Mestral became inspired to create Velcro. He was hunting birds with his Irish pointer and traveled through some burdock thistles.
The prickly seed burrs from the plants clung to his clothing and to his dog. While pulling off the burrs he noticed how they were removable yet easily reattached.
He studied the burrs under a microscope and discovered a hook system used by the burdock plant to migrate its seeds by attachment. The hooks could grab onto loops of thread or fur. This gave him the idea of creating a hook and loop fastener.see more