How a dog-walking chore revolutionized the trade show industry

Trade shows have been around for as long as modern man has been. Once we had learnt how to cultivate our lands, cook our food, and once man had settled down in little villages, there came the need to exchange their wares, and food stuff, so each village could get a taste of what the other had produced. Enter… trade shows. From time immemorial, men have moved around in rickety cow or donkey carts, setting up their wares on precariously standing tables, and sold virtually everything – from food stuff to human beings. Slaves were sold, and so was food, and other necessary items. There was a time, when exhibits were the only way people sold their goods, when they moved from village to village, marketing or selling their stuff.

All throughout history, people have set up exhibits pretty much the same way until very recently. It was only post industrialization that the old system got a new facelift, and trade shows as we know today came into existence. And to bring about this revolutionary change was the invention of a hook and loop contraption that goes by the name of Velcro.

Yes, the innocuous looking Velcro fastener that children prefer on their shoes, some adults prefer on their clothes because they save time, the Velcro… that even found a place of honor in Star Trek and the comic strip Peanuts. The humble fasteners that are typically made of fabric has saved many an exhibitor from bleeding fingers.

Before Velcro was invented, in 1948, trade show graphics were attached to boards with nails and screws that were hammered in, leading to injuries and injured tradesmen. Today, if you have a bloody good trade show because you used great pop-up displays in your booth, you wouldn’t be referring to the vital juices that flow through your body. And you can thank Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral for it. (It was when he was walking his dog one fine day that the first seeds of Velcro were planted in his mind.) He patented Velcro in 1955 and within a few years, it had caught the imagination of trade show exhibitors.

Today this fastener has freed exhibitors from the limitations of using only a few displays at a time. Just Velcro on your graphics on the display framework, and you can work as many graphics as you want to!

We’ve listed below some of the excellent advantages of one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, and how it has made the lives of trade exhibitors easy.

  • Inexpensive: Velcro uses hairy loops and tiny hooks that feel bristly and thorny to the touch (of course never thorny enough to draw blood) and is made of Teflon loops and polyester hooks. It is inexpensive and finds usage in virtually every industry. While it may not be used in daily activities in homes, the commercial use of Velcro is extremely high. It saves exhibitors a lot of costs of exhibiting their products. Imagine changing only your graphics by peeling off one scroll, and just pasting on the other without any effort!
  • Ease of Use: Using this hoop and look fastener also helps save time. And labor. Earlier, before its invention, specialized workers were required to hammer on the displays to the display frames. It involved time, labor costs, and of course the danger of injury. But none of that with Velcro. Just strap on and go! No wonder children love it. And adults are not far behind either. Think backpacks and laptop cases.
  • Easily replaced: Because it is inexpensive, Velcro is also easily replaced. It can be used many times, before it starts to lose its stickiness. It happens mainly because the loops start to come off when the fabric skin containing the hooks is peeled away from the loop skin. It takes many pasting and peeling repetitions before you have to change your Velcro. So go ahead, change those graphics at successive trade shows, or change them repeatedly in the same trade show and amaze your visitors. Velcro’s got your back!
  • Can be used anywhere: You want it on your modular display? Want it on the ground? Want it on your wall? Velcro can be used anywhere… wherever you want to put up your displays. It is versatile and easy to use, so go ahead use it anywhere. They use it on space shuttles, so why shouldn’t you use it for your commercial exhibition?


So go ahead, take advantage of the uses of this revolutionary success, and turn your trade show into a raging success.

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