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Velcro

The hook-and-loop fastener was invented in 1941 by Swiss engineer, George de Mestral who lived in Commugny, Switzerland. The idea came to him one day after returning from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps. He took a close look at the burrs (seeds) of burdock that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog's fur. He examined them under a microscope, and noted their hundreds of "hooks" that caught on anything with a loop, such as clothing, animal fur, or hair. He saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion, but he just needed to figure out how to duplicate the hooks and loops.

 

Originally when he took his idea to Lyon, which was then a center of weaving, people refused to take him, and the idea, seriously.  He did manage to gain the help of one weaver, who made two cotton strips that worked. However the cotton wore out quickly, so de Mestral turned to synthetic fibers. He settled on nylon as being the best synthetic, which had several advantages. Nylon doesn’t break down, rot, or attract mold, and it could be produced in threads of various thickness. Nylon had only recently been invented, and through trial and error he eventually discovered that, when sewn under hot infrared light, nylon forms hooks that were perfect for the hook side of the fastener. Though he had figured out how to make the hooks, he had yet to figure out a way to mechanize the process, and to make the looped side. Next he found that nylon thread, when woven in loops and heat-treated, retains its shape and is resilient; however, the loops had to be cut in just the right spot so that they could be fastened and unfastened many times. On the verge of giving up, a new idea came to him. He bought a pair of shears and trimmed the tops off the loops, thus creating hooks that would match up perfectly with the loops in the pile.

 

Mechanizing the process of weaving the hooks took eight years, and it took another year to create the loom that trimmed the loops after weaving them. In all, it took ten years to create a mechanized process that worked. He submitted his idea for patent in Switzerland in 1951 and the patent was granted in 1955. Within a few years he obtained patents and began to open shops in Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada. In 1957 he branched out to the textile center of Manchester, New Hampshire in the United States. Columnist Sylvia Porter made the first mention of the product in her column Your Money's Worth of August 25, 1958, writing "It is with understandable enthusiasm that I give you today an exclusive report on this news: A 'zipperless zipper' has been invented — finally. The new fastening device is in many ways potentially more revolutionary than was the zipper a quarter century ago." A Montreal firm, Velek, Ltd., acquired the exclusive right to market the product in North and South America, as well as in Japan, with American Velcro, Inc. of New Hampshire, and Velcro Sales of New York, marketing the "zipperless zipper" in the United States.

 

De Mestral obtained patents in many countries right after inventing Velcro as he expected a high demand immediately. Partly due to its appearance, though, Velcro's integration into the textile industry took time. At the time, Velcro looked like it had been made from leftover bits of cheap fabric, and thus was not sewn into clothing or used widely when it debuted in the early 1960s.

 

In 1978 de Mestral's patent expired, prompting the flood of low-cost imitations from Taiwan, China and South Korea onto the market. Speedtech’s sales team is standing by to walk you through material specifications to ensure you receive a hook & loop material the meets the specifications and needs of your application!

 

1993 Velcro® USA invents and patents a back-to-back, hook and loop material, constructed without the use of adhesives.  This industrial grade material is superior to many others in that it does not delaminate over time.  For this reason, Speedtech only employs Velcro back-to-back for our customers seeking industrial quality and longevity for their application or their customers.

 

1994 Speedtech starts fabricating finished products from this raw material and becomes a pioneer in the field of hook and loop cable management.

 

While Speedtech offers everything from industrial velcro fasteners, sticky back tape and custom logo’d Velcro straps, our specialty remains velcro tape and ties or what is commonly referred to as ‘cable management.’  In fact, Speedtech is considered the pioneer of hook and loop cable management, having manufactured finished cable ties and straps out of Velcro® material – from its inception.  Leverage our experience for your important project by contacting one of our sales engineers today.

 

Looking for a customized hook & loop fastening solution?  Speedtech’s design team is standing by to walk you through the steps, from conception to production.  Our experienced staff will not only recommend the raw material options and design features, but will help to value engineer your project.

 

The landscape of distributors reselling Velcro’s is crowded and several have set up a shop in a back room to fabricate hook and loop products.  Consumers can find it challenging to find the right supplier that not only understands raw material options, handling concerns, customized packaging, as well as custom fabrication.  Speedtech also has customized packaging expertise and retail experience- all under one roof.

 

Speedtech is large enough to meet your Velco needs, yet small enough to appreciate every order.  Our client list ranges from fortune 500 Corporations, National Retailers, to home users, musicicians electricians and repair shops.  After 16 years working exclusively with hook & loop fastening, servicing some of the largest MRO, Telecom, Datacom and electrical distributors, Speedtech is prepared to serve your unique needs and we invite you contact us today to learn more.

 

We maintain a healthy stock of VELCRO® and Speedwrap® hook and loop fasteners. Items that are in stock are shipped next day by 3:30 pm Central Time using UPS.  Overnight and International shipping are also available; please contact us for a quote.

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