Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Velcro, which has transformed outdoor sports and products, is one of the best known examples of biomimicry. Velcro was invented in 1948 by George de Mistral, an inventor and mountaineer. Returning from taking his dog for a walk he found he and his dog were covered with burrs- the hooked seed of the burdock. The tiny burdock hooks cling to anything they come in contact with and he saw the potential for a new kind of fastening. The success of this well-known ‘naturfact’ depended on the use of relatively new materials and combined nylon cloth with hooks to another with tiny hoops. Patented in 1955, it really took off when the American military experimented with it calling it the –zipper-less zip. The textile processes used to create Velcro were all well known and it was their combination which created the innovation.