The Sebir That Bred Velcro

In1941, a Swiss agricultural engineer George de Mestral, went for a walk with his dog in the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. On their return, he noticed that many burs from the cocklebur plant were stuck fast to his trousers and to the dog's coat. Under a microscope, he detected that the burs contained tiny hooks that caught in the loops of his clothes and the dog's hair

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Improve the mutual stickability of cloth and other materials


Cloth and other materials did not naturally attach to each other


Attaching two pieces of material together was achieved through creating a physical pattern of artificial hooks on one piece of material that would then affix to artificial loops on another These separate materials adhered to each other because the hooks and loops had a natural affinity to interlock

Breeding Comment

Generalizing from a specific observation or experience and then specializing from there to a specific application in a different setting is the secret behind idea breeding. George de Mestral associated more broadly from the capability of cocklebur plants in nature to adhere to 'loops' in other materials via tiny hooks they possessed and, in so doing, was able to breed artificial hooks and loops embedded in materials to achieve a reciprocal binding mechanism

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Historic Impact

Being alert to the needs of people for greater ease and convenience can be the trigger for an innovative solution. As a result of developing an artificial material that mimicked nature, George de Mestral invented Velcro

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