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Lanyards: From Pirates To Today

Aug 17, 2007
It's strange to think how some of the oldest pieces of equipment are still used today, and perhaps in greater number than they ever were. If you have an iPod, for instance, perhaps you wear it around your neck on a chain, as opposed to sitting in your pocket, to avoid it falling or pulling your earplugs out. If so, you're making use of an ancient knot combination called a lanyard

Whenever you think of pirates, or classic old seafaring films, one of the most visual things that spring to mind are the little sashes that sailors wore to hold their swords or cutlasses in place. These were some of the first lanyards ever, and although the design may have evolved, the idea behind it has always been the same; keep the most important things close to hand and easy to access. It is also the type of knot that would be used to keep rigging on a ship tied together.

In the days when the British Empire ruled most of the western world, a lanyard would be in the shape of a collection of braids. These would be worn on the shoulder of a military officer, to denote what rank he held. They were (and still are) especially popular with the military on horseback, as they allowed concealed whistles to be secured to pockets, which could then be used to ensure troops weren't separated on a battlefield for too long.

Nowadays, lanyards have a multitude of uses. Walk into most retailers on the high street or in a shopping mall, and you'll notice that many associates wear either their nametag or a security pass around their neck. This is a modern-day reinterpretation of a lanyard, yet the age-old need of requiring something with easy access is still the thinking behind it. The same goes for roadies or press people at a major concert or tour - all these laminated "Access All Areas" passes are lanyards at heart.

Perhaps the most widespread use now, though, is via iPods and digital cameras. As opposed to taking up valuable space in either your pockets or handbag (especially with the more advanced digital cameras), many people are now using lanyards to hang the devices around their neck. Not only does it allow quick and easy access, it's just more comfortable than having bulky pockets. Even everyday objects like keys can be kept on some form of a lanyard.

So, even though we may just take it all for granted today, you may want to remember the next time you see an old naval film or swashbuckling epic, that we're using the same ideas that seem so quaint now, which just goes to show how the simplest ideas can last the longest.
About the Author
Find Lanyards for wearing and displaying your Id card at our site http://www.compucardinc.com/ which features many types of lanyards for different tasks.
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