Invented by the Swiss George de Mestral (1907-1990), it was patented in 1955. While walking his dog one evening, he bacame annoyed by the burrs that stuck tenaciously to his clothes and dog. He examined them under a microscope and found the myriad hooks of the burr caught on the loops of his wool sock. He realized that if he could replicate this method of fastening, it would be superior to the zipper. After eight years of trial and error, he finally had an automated manufacturing process that could make the loops at the required 300-per-square-inch density.