The History of VELCRO®

By: CableOrganizer®

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It's a product we all know by sight, touch and sound. Two halves: one rough, the other soft, which join silently — but create an unmistakable ripping sound when pulled apart. It's used for everything from fastening shoes and hanging pictures, to bundling cables and securing supplies in space shuttles. You guessed it: VELCRO®.

Many of us use VELCRO® hook-and-loop every day, without ever giving a though to how this nature-inspired modern marvel came to be. But isn't it about time you found out? Read on to learn more about the history of VELCRO®, from its beginnings in Switzerland in the early 1940s, to its many uses around the world today.


It all started back in 1941, when Swiss engineer George de Mestral took advantage of an Alpine summer's day by walking through the countryside with his dog. When the duo returned home, Mestral noticed that both his dog's fur and his own pants were covered with cockleburs, the spiny seedpods of the burdock plant. With his interest piqued as to how the burrs managed to retain such a tenacious grip on both he and his dog, Mestral quickly freed a seed pod and inspected it more closely through a microscope.

He discovered the "spines" covering the burrs weren't the straight spike-like structures they appear to be at first glance, but rather tiny barbs that allowed the seeds to hook easily onto any fibrous material. Woven fabric, fur, and even hair provided a natural loop. As he saw how effective the burrs' hooks were at adhering to various fibers, Mestral became inspired to create a commercial bonding system based on the "hook and loop" concept found in nature.

In order to fully develop his idea, Mestral needed the services of a professional weaver, so he promoted the concept in Lyon, France, which was then a booming center of the European textile industry. Many with whom Mestral shared his invention refused to take him seriously, but he at last managed to convince one weaver to join forces with him. The weaver produced several cotton prototypes, but Mestral found they wore out too quickly, turning to synthetic materials instead.

Mestral eventually settled on Nylon as his material of choice, because after extensive experiments, he found it held its shape, becoming extremely resilient when treated with heat. After 10 years of product development, in 1951, Mestral finally succeeded in creating a practical mechanized process for manufacturing VELCRO® — the product name pieced together from the words "velour" and "crochet."

He formed his company VELCRO® SA in Switzerland in 1952. VELCRO® was patented there first in 1954, then in the United States and other countries in 1955. Mestral began producing his product throughout Europe, finally expanding his operations to Manchester, New Hampshire in 1957, then to Trois Rivières Quebec the same year. In 1958, VELCRO® received its trademark in the United States. The company expanded its European footprint in 1957, with a manufacturing location in Argentona, Spain.


George de Mestral had originally envisioned VELCRO® being used in clothing. But when VELCRO® first hit the mainstream market in the early 1960s, the public's response wasn't as enthusiastic as expected — mainly due to the product's appearance. Then the 1960s brought some monumental innovation milestones for VELCRO®, with its first big break in the aerospace industry. The technology was used in the Apollo space program beginning in 1961, with fasteners ultimately implemented in spacesuits worn for the 1969 lunar landing. The public soon realized that VELCRO®, used as a space suit closure device, was far superior to cumbersome zippers and snaps. It started to be used in everyday items beginning in 1968, including gloves, hair rollers, jackets, ski-suit fasteners, and scuba gear.

More cutting-edge products followed in the 1970s, including the creation of VELCOIN® in 1972, the recognizable hook and loop dots used for a range of applications and materials. In 1976, VELCRO® opened another facility in Australia. The company developed fire retardant hook and loop products in 1979.

Several major project landmarks were realized in the 1980s, beginning in 1980 with high temperature hook and loop tape. It was created for the NASA Space Shuttle program but later used for industries with a need for fire retardant hook and loop tapes. In 1984, the company expanded operations to Agua Prieta, Sonora Mexico. MIL-SPEC VELCRO® was introduced for military use in 1985. In 1988, it was first included in automotive seating.

Hook and loop tabs were the first product application for VELCRO® innovated in the 1990s, when it became the closure material for diapers in 1992. In 1995, the company achieved ISO 9001 registration in the United States, as well as opened its first office in Zhangjiagang, China. VELCRO® ONE-WRAP® tape was launched in 1996. The company was awarded QS900 certification in 1997 for automotive manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada.

After entering the millennium, VELCRO® created LOGISTRAP® pallet straps for the Australian market in 2003. Then FLEX-ZONE™ fasteners were made in 2004 for personal care items and transportation in 2007. Australia made EASY HANG™ Straps in 2008, with FERROZONE™ used for automotive seats in 2009. In the 2010s, VELCRO® was introduced into packaging in 2012 with PRESS-LOK® closures. The company started making high-pressure surgical blood pressure cuffs in Mexico with VELCRO® in 2014. In 2015, the company opened new facilities in Uruguay and Belgium, the same year industrial products were made. ALFA-LOK® hook to hook fasteners were introduced in 2017 for construction and industrial applications.

The 2020s have focused on eco-friendly products, including tape launched in 2020 made of 65% reclaimed materials. In 2021, that recycled material concept took off in the apparel and footwear industries. VELCRO® made other fashion industry strides in 2021 and 2022, with SLEEK & THIN™ fasteners, which were 60% slimmer than previous products. The company won awards for its innovation and the fastener was used in the clothing for the NASA Artemis mission broadcast. The company also had products featured in an adaptive fashion show in 2022, the same year it introduced PRESS-LOK® 954 recycled closures and its new electronics’ cable organizing line.

Shop for VELCRO® Brand products here at CableOrganizer®.

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