Velcro has been around for ages. Since the 1940s, in fact, when Velcro was invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral. And he has his dog to thank! One day, returning from a hunting trip with his dog, de Mestral saw that the dog’s fur was covered in burrs. That got de Mestral to thinking…and inventing.
Invented in 1948, De Mestral called the resulting hook and loop fastener Velcro, a name formed by combining the French words velour (velvet) and crochet (hook). One side of the fastener is formed of hooks; the other is continuous loops. Joined together they lock but can be peeled apart to re-use. Velcro was patented in 1955 but when the original patent expired in 1979, and others could recreate the technology, the hook and loop market exploded.
Hook and loop material is, by far, one of the best known and most widely-used inventions. Users range from astronauts to skiers, to soldiers and adventurers, and to everyday people worldwide.
The Hook and Loop Fastener Debate
Advantages of Hook and Loop Fasteners Material:
It works. Hook and loop material is a simple and quick fastener and not as complex as ties, snaps, buttons or hook and eye closures.
It holds. Hook and loop stays closed and only opens with some forceful pulling.
Inexpensive. Hook and loop materials are produced in large quantities at a relatively low cost.
Choice. Hook and loop closure materials have been produced in many different sizes, from light duty to heavy and in different lengths, sizes and in various configurations.
Disadvantages of Hook and Loop Fasteners Material:
It wears out. After repeated use, and over some time, the loops can break or fatigue and will no longer attach.
Rips and Tears. The nylon backing for the hooks and loops can tear from repeated use – this is particularly an issue with smaller, narrower pieces of hook and loop.
Limited Lifespan. The hook side can become clogged with dirt, hair or debris and won’t work; if the loop side is damaged (usually torn loops). The hook side can be cleaned, but with some difficulty. If the loop side is damaged, it cannot be fixed.
Snags. The hook side snags – grabbing onto anything with some texture. This can ruin clothing or other textiles.
Sound off! The RRRIIIIPPP sound hook and loop fasteners make when you open them is pretty loud and disturbing if you’re opening your jacket at the theater.
Love it or hate it, Velcro or hook and loop materials have many positive uses but with some annoying side effects. Great for kids’ shoes (which will wear out before the closure does)…not as great for a backpack or storage straps where hook and loop fasteners can snag fabric.
Looking for a storage strap that won’t snag, is easily adjustable, virtually unbreakable, reusable, washable, heat- and cold-resistant, and above all, quiet? Packbands could be just what you’re looking for!