Velcro, the company, has stuck around for 50 years--and is still going strong.
To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the hook-and-loop fastener, Velcro used current and former employees lined up to rip apart 8-inch lengths of the company's famous product.
That's a little over 1.5 miles of Velcro for the mathematically-minded reader.
It's was May 20, 1958, that Velcro was trademarked in the U.S. Velcro's headquarters are in Manchester, NH.
Lorraine Thiem, who retired after 27 years as a weaving instructor, excitedly ripped and reattached her swatch in anticipation as she waited for the wave to reach her under a tent in the company's parking lot. She left the company 13 years ago but still feels a pang of pride whenever she spots a Velcro product.
"I think, 'I had a hand in making that,"' she said. "It's just wonderful."
Velcro was invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who came up with the design a decade earlier after noticing the way burrs stuck to his dog's fur and his own wool pants after a walk in the woods. The name Velcro came from a combination of "velour" and "crotchet", French for "velvet" and "hook".
Velcro products are so pervasive that the company's name is virtually synonymous with hook-and-loop tape. Velcro's patent, however, expired in 1978, allowing competitors, chiefly 3M, to move into the market. But, said company President Joan Cullinane, Velcro remains the industry leader.
Velcro has been used on everything from jackets to electronic cable ties to replace shoelaces on sneakers--even to stick people onto walls at school fairs and on David Letterman.
Something special seems to be in order.
Maybe a 21-staple gun salute?
* Ripping sound marks Velcro's 50th anniversary
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