A Swiss engineer was taking his dog for a walk in the wild fields. When he returned, burrs (seeds with a hairy outer covering ) were sticking all over his trousers and the fur of his dog. He could have brushed it off, and forgotten about it. But he didn't.
He took the burr and rushed to his microscope. He saw that the burrs had hundreds of tiny hooks. The hooks latched on to loops of thread on his trousers. No wonder then, that the burrs clung so tightly that they could not be easily brushed off.
This Swiss engineer was George de Mestral, and the year 1940. The world knew of zippers and various other types of fasteners. After viewing the burrs, de Mestral realized that he could create a convenient fabric fastener. He experimented for eight years with various types of material in Lyon, France. Lyon, in those days was one of the most popular centers of weaving. Drawing idea and inspiration from Nature de Mestral managed to create a unique fastener.
The fastener was made of two strips of nylon fabric. One strip containing thousands of small hooks. The other strip containing small loops. When the two strips were pressed together, they formed a strong bond. He called this invention velcro. The word Velcro originates from the French words velour, meaning velvet, and crochet, meaning hook.
Velcro has been a huge success. Today, it is used in everyday items of utility from clothes to mosquito nets. Velcro is washable and long lasting. And unlike zippers, it does not get jammed.