Thursday, 17 March 2011

Burdock and velcro

Walking is the perfect aid to creativity.

For example, George de Mestral was walking in the Swiss mountains with his dogs. This was in the 1940s. Maybe the mountains helped a bit. He noticed the burrs from the burdock had got stuck in his dog's coat and were effectively taking a ride to help disperse themselves.

This thought stuck in his mind too and when he got home, he stuck the burrs under the microscope and realised they used hooks to hang in loops of matted animal hair.

Mestral was an inventor and eventually recreated these hooks and loops in plastic form to create velcro. Later to be used in David Letterman's famous velcro suit and garment fastening.

I recommend a walk in the woods.

For more useful vegetal stories, check out Richard Mabey's Weeds

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