Am I Older Than Velcro?

I have no idea what I had been dreaming about, but that question was still echoing in my head upon waking up this morning. It kind of freaked me out, to be honest. Why on earth would I be asking that?

But then I got curious. I distinctly remember my first encounter with Velcro (which is technically a brand name for “hook and loop fastener”, just as Band-Aid rolls off the tongue easier than “adhesive bandage”). I was fascinated. My whole family was. What’ll they think of next? I remember playing with it. Rrrrrip… rrrrrrrrrip…

It is rather disconcerting to realize that something as handy as Velcro hadn’t been around all my life. But I could say the same thing about cell phones, laptops, and DVD players. I’m not as old as dirt, but on some days it sure feels that way.

But can I just say this? I absolutely love Wikipedia. When I looked up their entry for hook and loop fasteners, I discovered that they were actually conceived of in 1941 by a guy named George de Mestral when he was taking burrs out of his dog’s fur. It took him about 10 years to figure out how to make the product and get people to take him seriously, but he applied for a patent in 1951, and didn’t actually get it until 1955. His product wasn’t made in the US until 1957, and didn’t really appear in goods used by the general public until the mid 60’s.

So, it turns out that Velcro is older than I am. So are zip ties. Somehow I find that comforting.

micrograph_of_hook_and_loop_fastenervelcro_like

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4 thoughts on “Am I Older Than Velcro?

  1. lyn sutton

    Thanks…next time my children make derogatory comments involving my age and modern tech I’ll let them know I’m younger than Velcro. I can hear their snickers and see their eyes rolling already… 🙂

      1. lyn sutton

        We know that, but my kids need another 10 to 15 years to catch on. Wonder if I’ll live long enough to support their crushed egos when they experience their first tastes of age discrimination. Maybe it will comfort them to know we are all younger than fiber optics… first demonstrated in the 1840’s. 🙂

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