Velcro

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This article is about a brand of touch fastener. For other uses, see Velcro (disambiguation).
For discussion of the fastener, see Hook and loop fastener.
Velcro hooks
Velcro hooks
Velcro loops
Velcro loops

Velcro is a fabric hook and loop fastener,[1] invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral. De Mestral patented Velcro in 1955, subsequently refining and developing its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s. The name "Velcro" is also that of the company that first made and commercially marketed this type of fastener, and continues to do so.

The word Velcro is a portmanteau of the two French words velours ("velvet"), and crochet ("hook").[1][2][3]

Hook-and-loop fasteners consist of two components: typically, two lineal fabric strips (or, alternatively, round "dots" or squares) which are attached (e.g., sewn, adhered, etc.) to the opposing surfaces to be fastened. The first component features tiny hooks; the second features even smaller and "hairier" loops. When the two components are pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops and the two pieces become attached temporarily, until they are pulled apart.[4] The hooks are somewhat flexible, so when the surfaces are pulled apart, the hooks straighten and slide out of the loops without doing any damage. The hooks return to their normal shape when the straightening force is released, so the Velcro can be used again. When being separated, by pulling or peeling the two surfaces apart, Velcro makes a distinctive "ripping" sound.

The first Velcro sample was made of cotton, which proved impractical[5] and was replaced by nylon and polyester.[6] Velcro fasteners made of Teflon loops, polyester hooks, and glass backing are used in aerospace applications, e.g. on space shuttles.[6]

The term Velcro is commonly used to mean any type of hook-and-loop fastener, but remains a registered trademark in many countries used by the Velcro company to distinguish their brand of fasteners from their competitors'.[7] The Velcro company headquarters is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.[8]

Variations on Velcro[edit]

On August 26, 2013, YKK Corporation, a subsidiary of YKK Group, filed a patent infringement complaint in the Middle District of Georgia against Velcro USA Inc. relating to a fastener strip used in foam molded products like a cushion body used for an automobile seat.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, Velcro is, albeit indirectly, invented by the Vulcans. In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Carbon Creek", a sample of Velcro is taken from a crashed Vulcan starship and given to a patent clerk to raise money for a teenage boy's college career. Also, one of the Vulcan crewmembers in that episode is named Mestral.[citation needed]

In 1988 Velcro was mentioned in the comic-strip Peanuts. In the March 21 cartoon Sally brings a Praying Doll into school for "show and tell". The dolls hands are held together by Velcro, which leads to the question if Velcro is mentioned in the New Testament.[10]

In 1992 Velcro was mentioned in the sitcom Seinfeld, episode "The Wallet", where Jerry's father, Morty Seinfeld, states that he hates Velcro, due to the distinctive sound it makes when the two sides are being separated: "The Velcro! I can't stand Velcro! That tearing sound".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Velcro." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ Stephens, Thomas (2007-01-04). "How a Swiss invention hooked the world". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  3. ^ "Who is Velcro USA Inc.?". Velcro. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  4. ^ "Velcro". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  5. ^ Strauss, Steven D. (December 2001). The Big Idea: How Business Innovators Get Great Ideas to Market. Kaplan Business. pp. 15–pp.18. ISBN 978-0-7931-4837-0. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  6. ^ a b Schwarcz, Joseph A. (October 2003). Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 99 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life. Ecw Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-55022-577-8. Retrieved 2008-05-09. But not every Velcro application has worked ... A strap-on device for impotent men also flopped. 
  7. ^ About us: Our brand, Velcro UK company site, retrieved 25 April 2012 
  8. ^ http://www.manta.com/ic/m9spgyr/nl/velcro-holdings-b-v
  9. ^ Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC (October 10, 2013). "YKK Corporation Files Patent Infringement Action Against Competitor Velcro USA". The National Law Review. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Charles M. Schulz, "The complete Peanuts 1987-1988", Fantagraphic Books, 2013, p192

External links[edit]