George de Mestral's walk in the woods in 1941 inspired him to wonder if he could make an artificial version of the burrs that stuck to his clothes (and his dog).

He came up with a fastener that consisted of two lineal fabric strips; one was covered with tiny hooks, which could link with the smaller loops on the other strip. The two strips were thus attached temporarily, until they were pulled apart. The fastener was initially made of cotton, but this proved impractical; it was eventually made with nylon and polyester.

De Mestral named his invention Velcro – a portmanteau of the French words velours (velvet) and crochet (hook). He gave his company the same name, and it continues to manufacture and market the fastening system to this day.

© Haydn Thompson 2017