50 years ago, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. On Sunday, July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin put on their suits to step out of their lunar module, Eagle, and onto the moon. At 9:32 am, Armstrong emerged and uttered his famous line, “That’s one small step for man… one giant leap for mankind.”
While we pause to reflect on this moment in history, 28 years prior another remarkable breakthrough happened during a walk in the Swiss Alps.
The amazing discovery of Hook and Loop was first made in 1941 by a Swiss Engineer. While walking in the Alps with his dog he noticed barbs of the cocklebur plant sticking to his clothing and his dog. He took a closer look and observed that the burs were made up of tiny hooks which attached themselves to fiber and hair. Thus came about the invention of Hook and Loop, a simple but very effective fastening system now used throughout the world. Today many versions of this original fastener exist providing different strengths, appearances and cycle life for countless applications.
Hook & Loop technology gained significant publicity in the 1960s when NASA began to adopt it for the Apollo Space program, including the famous mission to the Moon.
In both the Command and Lunar Modules, it was used to secure checklists and miscellaneous small piece of equipment to instrument panels or bulkheads for easy viewing or access. On the lunar surface, it was used to keep suit pockets closed or open, to secure Sample Collection Bags, securing antenna leads and dust covers on the Lunar Rover, and securing wristwatches, small mirrors, and cuff checklists to the suit sleeves. In other words… almost anything.
“Velcro in free fall is very effective”
Its effectiveness in space exploration led to further use during the Shuttle & International Space Station (ISS) programs. Astronaut Thomas D. Jones, author of Skywalking and a veteran of four Shuttle flights commented “Velcro in free fall is very effective.”
Nearly every loose object had Hook & Loop on it so the astronauts could attach it to a panel or wall. Locker fronts and flight deck panels had patches of loop to accept the hook-type coins on pencils, notebooks, and much more.
Today, years after Neil Armstrong’s history-making mission to the moon, Halco continues to build on the genius of reclosable fastening technology to enable new breakthroughs in every industry, from wearable electronics to surgical equipment, automotive assembly to aerospace interiors, firefighter turnout gear to consumer packaging, abrasives to furniture and much more.
However obscure it may seem, Hook & Loop technology is all around us. Nearly every part of our lives has some connection with hook and loop.
It helped put a man on the moon. What possibilities can you think of using hook & loop?