What is Velcro?

Velcro is an acronym formed by the union of two French terms: (vel) Nosso and (cro) chet . The compound expression can be translated as “velvet hook”. It is a registered trademark that refers to a system for holding or closing something by means of two strips that adhere when in contact.

In addition to the trademark in question, registered in 1951, today the method of closing and opening something with ease is known as Velcro, simply making two strips of different fabrics touch or separate. It is worth mentioning that this opening and closing system receives different names in our language, depending on the country, as can be seen below: in Argentina, abrojo; in Bolivia, scrash ; in Colombia, magic closure; in Cuba, stew, adhesive and glue; in Spain, self-adhesive closure; in Guatemala, “Pega Pega”; in Mexico, contactel, mozote and “hook and plush”; in Nicaragua, apegatinal; in the Dominican Republic, cadillo. In most of these regions, on the other hand, using Velcro is also correct.

For Velcro to work, one tape must have small hooks that, when pressed against the other tape, close and hook between the fibers of that second tape. In this way, adhesion occurs. Let’s look at the case of a pair of pants that are adjusted using a velcro system. At the waist, you should have two strips glued or sewn into the fabric: one with hooks and one with tangled fibers. When the person puts on the pants and wants to adjust them or close them, they must bring the two Velcro strips together and press them to fit them. The moment you want to take off the pants, just separate the two straps. Velcro is currently used in clothing, shoes, bags, belts, gloves and wallets, among other products. Its function is always to allow closing or adjusting something in a simple way, without wasting the user’s time: just press and separate the Velcro strips for the system to work. When reviewing the history of Velcro, we find a very curious fact: it was not the human being who invented it, starting only from their imagination, but it is an imitation of the properties of the burdock seed , a plant, which has hundreds of protrusions that we could call of “hooks”, which naturally adhere to the small loops that cover the hair of people and animals or clothes. In 1941, George de Mestral, an engineer from Switzerland, was out in the middle of the field with his dog and paid attention to these particular seeds for the first time. Thanks to this arbitrary event, Mestral decided to start working on a system that would replicate burdock’s wonderful ability to adhere to other surfaces.

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His first job was the Velcro closure for clothing, although over the years this system has begun to be applied in various fields, from the medical field to the military, passing through gardening items. Despite the particularities of each product, it is important to note that the fundamentals of the mechanism are always the same. Velcro is just one example of how much nature has helped us solve problems of all kinds in our societies: although humans tend to think they are above other species, they rely on a large part of them for many of the pillars of their organization. . . Dancing, singing, pigments, mirrors, flight and food preservation methods such as refrigeration are other inventions inspired by nature.

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