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  Velcro and its connection to NASA history

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Author Topic:   Velcro and its connection to NASA history
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 32040
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-14-2008 01:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Velcro USA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its trademark (May 13, 1958) this week (May 2008). Though developed separately from NASA (also 50 this year), the company is highlighting, in part, their role within U.S. space exploration history.
It captured our imaginations along with the space program, and now it's something we can't live without. This world-famous invention inspired by Mother Nature has put convenience at the fingertips of a whole generation.

For 50 years, VELCRO brand hook and loop fasteners have permeated the lives and imaginations of inventors, designers and households throughout the world. We've come to rely on hook and loop for everything from replacing shoelaces to securing lifesaving medical devices.

...the first use of hook and loop fastener was in 1953. De Mestral's invention soon spread throughout Europe and to America as Velcro S.A. obtained patents on both continents. The VELCRO brand was trademarked in the United States on May 13, 1958, and a cultural phenomenon was born.

Since then, these beloved products have traced a storied history through America's pop culture, including flying with Neil Armstrong to the moon and fooling around on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

As part of their celebration, Velcro USA has opened an exhibit at at Innoventions at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Though primarily focused on household uses for Velcro, guests end their visit to the "Slapstick Studios" exiting through a gallery presenting real-life industrial and commercial uses of hook and loop product.
Visitors will view many VELCRO brand products, seldom seen by the general public, but used widely in applications and products for the NASA space program, automotive, medical and industrial markets.

New Member

Posts: 7
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-01-2015 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Redglare     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know what year NASA first started using Velcro? What mission was it first used for?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Steven Kaplan

Posts: 113
From: New Jersey
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-01-2015 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steven Kaplan   Click Here to Email Steven Kaplan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don’t know if it is the earliest use, but I am fairly certain that some of the flight items (binoculars?) displayed as flown on Friendship 7 in the National Air and Space Museum have Velcro glued to their surface which would date to February 1962.

New Member

Posts: 7
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 04-07-2015 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Redglare     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I looked for the binoculars and found a few more items with Velcro on a National Air and Space Museum webpage of artifacts from John Glenn's Friendship 7 flight. In addition to the binoculars there was Velcro attached on a Leica Camera, a Viewfinder for the Leica Camera, an Ansco Autoset 35mm Camera and a Blood Pressure Sensor.

A collectSPACE posting of a related topic mentions Velcro on the Friendship 7 flight. John Glenn recounts in an interview that he "pulled the Velcro fastener that kept some of the equipment held down during launch, the first thing that came floating up out of there was a little felt mouse."

Lou Chinal

Posts: 1151
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 04-08-2015 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first story I heard about Velcro was in 1948. A gentleman was hiking in Europe while wearing a knit sweater. He noticed when he got home some of the barbs caught on the loops of the wool. The rest as they say is history.

Attention Skydivers around the world; check your Velcro with regularity. Both sides should be replaced every 100 jumps.

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