Beware of Cockleburs

Category Hiking
Cockleburs are a nuisance to remove from clothing and pet hair. It is exactly this trait, the hooked ends on their spines, that actually lead to the invention of VELCRO® hook and loop style fasteners. So as you are deburring your clothes and pet's fur, remember that they were inspirational to Swiss inventor George de Mestral, it may make the task a bit more fun.


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While picking up litter, during my weekly walk on the roadside, I got into some cocklebur bushes and didn't know it. Later, as I was turning around and heading back home, I felt something sticking in me and discovered the back of my jacket was knotted up and filled with cockleburs. I was a sight to be seen.

It took me several minutes to pull off all of the cockleburs. All the while, I was thinking, this must have been how Velcro was invented.

When I got home, I looked up Velcro and found that in 1941, the inventor, George de Mestral was hunting with his dog. When he got home he found cockleburs clung to his trousers and to the dog. After doing some research, he came up with the idea of Velcro. However, it was not until the 1960s that Velcro became the in thing.

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