Saturday, February 16, 2013

Velcro US2717437 (2)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Velcro© is practical. It was inspired by Burdock Burrs. Yes, those pesky little round dry pods that stick to your clothes. See below for a picture of what a Burdock Burr looks like, just in case you are wondering!.... 
The close-up photograph shows the little hooks that hook onto anything that is soft, like fabric or hair or your pooch’s fur. And it probably looked exactly like that to George de Mestral, the Swiss inventor of Velcro©, who spent a dozen years trying to reproduce, and finally manufacture, fabric that could emulate a similar attachment.
What a story Vel(ours) + Cro(chet) tells! The story of a great invention and of US patent 2717437

In 1952, plenty of fasteners existed, of many sorts: laces, buckles, buttons, bows, even zippers (since 1917). Who would have ever thought of a hook and loop fastener, much less inspired by Burdock Burrs?! Indeed, this was not was not only a novel type of fastener, it was completely non-obvious!

The manufacturing process was tricky. Mestral went to Lyon, in France, the capital of weaving and textile industries. Cotton loops and hooks did not work. More resistant nylon fibers were needed. And when the patented Velcro was finally produced, it also did not sell well… It was only after the development of successful applications for astronaut suits and scuba diving equipment that Velcro©
 finally broke into the fashion industry.

Perhaps that one day it will also break into Hollywood: “Vel + Cro”! That would be required viewing for this patent translation course!J

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Article on Velcro (Feb 15. 2013)
US Patent 2717437

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