In 1941, Swiss engineer George de Mestral was taking his dog for a walk when he began to wonder about those irritating burrs that tend to stick to your clothes (or your dog) on a hike. Being an engineer, de Mestral grabbed a microscope and the rest is history. His idea for a hook-and-loop fastener, now known as Velcro, was initially met with condescending skepticism by the European fabric industry. And as we all know, there are few entities more intractable than the European fabric industry. It took another 14 years to patent the "zipperless zipper" and in 1999, de Mestral was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.