Velcro

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This article is about a company. For other uses, see Velcro (disambiguation).
For discussion of the fastener, see Hook and loop fastener.
Velcro Companies
Privately held company
Industry Manufacturing
Headquarters United Kingdom
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products Hook and loop fasteners
Number of employees
2,500
Website www.velcro.com

Velcro Companies is a privately held company that produces a series of mechanical based fastening products, including fabric hook and loop fasteners, under the brand name "Velcro".

History[edit]

The first touch fasteners were developed by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral who in 1941 went for a walk in the woods and wondered if the burrs that clung to his trousers — and dog — could be turned into something useful.[1]

The original patented hook and loop fastener was invented in 1948 by de Mestral, who patented it in 1955 and subsequently refined and developed its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s.

De Mestral developed a fastener that consisted of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could "mate" with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart.[2] Initially made of cotton, which proved impractical,[3] the fastener was eventually constructed with nylon and polyester.[4]

De Mestral gave the name Velcro, a portmanteau of the French words velours ("velvet"), and crochet ("hook"),[5][6] to his invention as well as his company, which continues to manufacture and market the fastening system.

Humphrey Cripps began investing in Velcro in the 1960s. In 2009, the company was taken private by a private equity firm linked to the Cripps family.[7][8]

Patents and trademarks[edit]

In 1958, de Mestral filed for a patent application for his hook-and-loop fastener in Switzerland, which was granted in 1961. De Mestral’s original patent expired in 1978, and competitors began to enter the market. The company frequently uses the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system for international filings, and as of late 2010 has filed 134 PCT applications.[9]

Velcro Companies has relied on its Velcro trademark to build a brand name since the original patent expired. The term Velcro is a registered trademark of Velcro Industries B.V.[10] Velcro Companies also owns trademark registrations for many of its other brands.[9]

To reduce the risk of the Velcro name becoming a generic term and thereby losing the distinctiveness necessary to maintain its trademark protection, the company claims that there is no such thing as “Velcro,” and that the term is a company name, a brand and a trademark, not a generic term for a type of product.[9] This is despite the fact that de Mestral himself gave the name Velcro to his invention rather than the company.[9] Additionally the former director of industrial Sales for Velcro USA said "Velcro is a series of hooks and loops, a male and female, one grabs the other and sticks."[11] Many dictionaries define Velcro as being a type of fastener, but generally note that the term is a protected trademark or proprietary name.[12] Through advertisements, product literature and marketing campaigns the company informs consumers that not all hook and loop fasteners are Velcro brand products.[9]

Products[edit]

Velcro make fastening products for a wide array of industries, including consumer packaged goods, transportation, personal care, military, packaging, construction, apparel, and agriculture.[13]

Products of Velcro Companies include:

  • General Purpose adhesive backed fasteners
  • Ties and Straps
  • Heavy Duty Fasteners
  • Fabric Tapes and Fasteners
  • Traditional Hook-and-Loop fasteners
  • Woven, knit and molded products
  • Kid’s Construction Sets

Causes[edit]

The Neeson Cripps Academy, a high performance school for the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) in Phnom Penh was funded by Velcro Companies. New York City-based COOKFOX Architects designed the eco-efficient building, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.[14] [15]

In 2015, Velcro Companies and Velcro Brand Ambassador and design expert Sabrina Soto launched an annual Classroom Makeover contest that takes place during Teacher Appreciation Week. The first winner from Joplin, Missouri received two redesigned classrooms.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

  • 1968 - Velcro brand fasteners are used on the suits, sample collection bags, and lunar vehicles brought to the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.[17]
  • 1984 - David Letterman wears a suit made of Velcro brand fasteners and jumps from a trampoline into a wall covered in the product during an interview with the company’s USA director of industrial sales.[18]
  • 2012 - Shoes with Velcro fasteners feature in the song "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. quote: "I could take some Pro Wings, make them cool, sell those. The sneaker heads would be like "Aw, he got the Velcros"" [19]
  • 2016 - As an April Fool's Day joke Lexus introduces “Variable Load Coupling Rear Orientation (V-LCRO)” seats, technology that attaches the driver to the seat with Velcro brand adhesive to allow for more aggressive turns.[20]

See also[edit]

  • Xerox, a company with similar trademark usage

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1996883,00.html
  2. ^ "Velcro". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Velcro." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989.
  6. ^ Stephens, Thomas (2007-01-04). "How a Swiss invention hooked the world". swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  7. ^ "History of Velcro Industries N.V. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved 2016-02-08. 
  8. ^ Kowitt, Beth (2013). "Velcro Just Wants Some Closure". Fortune 168 (1): 52–1NULL. ISSN 0015-8259. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Hooked on Innovation". World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  10. ^ "Invention of Velcro® Brand Hook and Loop". HookandLoop.com. Hook and Loop. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  11. ^ YouTube. "Letterman in a Suit of Velcro". 
  12. ^ "Oxford English Dictionary". Oxford University Press. 
  13. ^ "VELCRO®Brand Products". Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "COOKFOX unveils design for new Academy in Cambodia". Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "State of the Art High School to Serve Former Scavengers". Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Velcro Companies And Sabrina Soto Announce Winner Of Classroom Makeover Contest". Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "Working on the Moon". Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  18. ^ "LiveScience: Who Invented Velcro?". Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS - THRIFT SHOP FEAT. WANZ (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". 
  20. ^ "TIME: Best April Fools Day Jokes". Retrieved 16 May 2016. 

External links[edit]