Shower thought: What’s the deal with Velcro, anyway? How long has it been around?

The hook-and-loop fastener Velcro was conceived in 1951 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. Ten years later, he founded the Velcro company in 1951.

Wikipedia: Hook-and-loop fastener:

Columnist Sylvia Porter made the first mention of the product in her column Your Money’s Worth of August 25, 1958, writing, “It is with understandable enthusiasm that I give you today an exclusive report on this news: A ‘zipperless zipper’ has been invented – finally. The new fastening device is in many ways potentially more revolutionary than was the zipper a quarter-century ago.”

A number of Velcro Corporation products were displayed at a fashion show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York in 1959, and the fabric got its first break when it was used in the aerospace industry to help astronauts maneuver in and out of bulky space suits. However, this reinforced the view among the populace that hook-and-loop was something with very limited utilitarian uses. The next major use hook-and-loop saw was with skiers, who saw the similarities between their outerwear and that of the astronauts, and thus saw the advantages of a suit that was easier to don and doff. Scuba and marine gear followed soon after. Having seen astronauts storing food pouches on walls, children’s clothing makers came on board. As hook-and-loop fasteners only became widely used after NASA’s adoption of it, NASA is popularly – and incorrectly – credited with its invention.

The patent expired in 1978, which is why we have hook-and-loop fasteners from many companies today.

Each Space Shuttle flew equipped with ten thousand inches of a special fastener made of Teflon loops, polyester hooks, and glass backing. Hook-and-loop fasteners are widely used, from the astronauts' suits, to anchoring equipment. In the near weightless conditions in orbit, hook-and-loop fasteners are used to temporarily hold objects and keep them from floating away. A patch is used inside astronauts' helmets where it serves as a nose scratcher. During mealtimes astronauts use trays that attach to their thighs using springs and fasteners. Hook-and-loop fasteners are also used aboard the International Space Station.


Velcro jumping is a game where people wearing hook-covered suits take a running jump and hurl themselves as high as possible at a loop-covered wall.

David Letterman popularized the game in 1984, and it’s still widely played where alcohol is served.

Pop culture references to Velcro are amusing.

The zipper was patented in 1892.


The zipper gets its name from a brand of rubber boots (or galoshes) it was used on in 1923. The galoshes could be fastened with a single zip of the hand, and soon the hookless fasteners came to be called “Zippers”.

Mitch W @MitchW