velcro, hook & loop fastners

Velcro is a fabric hook and loop fastener,[1] invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral. De Mestral patented Velcro in 1955, subsequently refining and developing its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s. The name "Velcro" is also that of the company that first made and commercially marketed this type of fastener, and continues to do so. The word Velcro is a portmanteau of the two French words velours ("velvet"), and crochet ("hook").[1][2][3] Hook-and-loop fasteners consist of two components: typically, two lineal fabric strips (or, alternatively, round "dots" or squares) which are attached (e.g., sewn, adhered, etc.) to the opposing surfaces to be fastened. The first component features tiny hooks; the second features even smaller and "hairier" loops. When the two components are pressed together, the hooks catch in the loops and the two pieces fasten or bind temporarily during the time that they are pressed together.[4] When separated, by pulling or peeling the two surfaces apart, the velcro strips make a distinctive "ripping" sound. The first Velcro sample was made of cotton, which proved impractical[5] and was replaced by nylon and polyester.[6] Velcro fasteners made of Teflon loops, polyester hooks, and glass backing are used in aerospace applications, e.g. on space shuttles.[6] The term Velcro is commonly used to mean any type of hook-and-loop fastener, but remains a registered trademark in many countries used by the Velcro company to distinguish their brand of fasteners from their competitors.[7] The Velcro company headquarters is in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.[8]

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