Almost everything these days seems to have those plastic Airloc buckle fasteners and nylon webbing straps. This is the standard for infant high chairs, haversacks, backpacks and all sorts of equipment and clothing for sports and military applications.
The Airloc Fastener was invented in 1977 and has basically revolutionised buckles. The buckles are plastic, which means they can be made in any colour to match the design of the product to which they are attached. When metal buckles heat up in the sun, they can be uncomfortable to the skin — something that plastic closures avoid. They cannot rust, and they are extremely strong, easily matching the strength characteristics of traditional metal buckles. The integrity of the strap is not compromised because the closure does not depend upon a tang and belt-hole arrangement and are cheaper because they do not require aiglets /aiguillettes/ aglets / eyelets/ grommet shields.
The company that invented and which manufactures these side-release fasteners is called ITW Nexus. However, I cannot determine who was responsible for the design/ invention.
The webbed or braided strap or belt is laced through the side release buckle in a special way to create one of the safest closures known.
The classic Airloc has been developed into a 3 prong buckle called the World Side Release Buckle or WSR and DWSR (a dual ladderlock version).
These plastic closures do not usually require some form of separate adjustment mechanism — a cam buckle or other friction device located elsewhere on the belt due to the lacing.
However, on the downside, they are notoriously difficult to open — which is a good thing in the case of safety of children, but for some adults — the arthritic, those with a weak grip, large fingers, manicures or long finger nails, or even those who are wearing gloves — it is a distinct disadvantage.
- Compare with traditional styled metal buckles: www.abbeysaddlery.co.uk