Friday, November 2, 2012

The Origin of Lanyards

In our modern world of work, the lanyard has become a way to easily carry identification. These lanyards are simple cords in a circle that lie around one's neck and have a holder for identification that ends about mid-chest. In some work places everyone has a standard issue lanyard, while in other places there are a variety of styles to choose from. Sometimes a lanyard is created to commemorate a special company event, or there may be special lanyards based on a business or geographical unit. Here are some categories of people, in addition to corporate employees, who find a lanyard for identification useful: public speakers, coaches, trade show attendees, trade show vendors, fundraiser attendees, retail clerks, school personnel, hospital personnel, police and law enforcement, church attendees, campers, airline employees, TSA employees, political meeting participants, patients in hospitals, film crews, security workers of all kinds, taxi drivers, bank employees, residential tradesman such as plumbers or electricians, skiers and snowboarders and anyone who has a need to be hands free for tasks and identification.
Modern lanyards come in many materials including cords, beads, embossed fabrics and just about anything you want. There are retractable models making it easy to scan an identification card while wearing the lanyard. There are also lanyards for our wide variety of electronic gear such as cell phones, cameras and even water bottles that attach to either your wrist or around your neck. As we routinely carry around very expensive items to enhance our lives the lanyard is a great way to make sure you don't lose valuable accessories.
Those of us who have been to summer camp or after-school programs may have made a lanyard out of plastic string or tubing. The string comes in a wide rainbow of colors and there are many patterns used to create the basic cord design. Popular plastic tape lanyard patterns include the square stitch and double knot. Key chains are a common product of the plastic lanyard craft. You may have heard to the craft of weaving lanyards as "scoubido". It is thought the first crafting of lanyards was in France in the 1950's at the time when a French recording artist had a hit entitled "Scoubido". The decorative weaving technique has also been done with leather or paracord to create a strong strap for heavier gear such as keys or knives. It is possible to purchase lanyard-making supplies and create the custom lanyard you want for the task at hand. Your custom lanyard can be of plastic tubing, fabric or leather and include the sturdy clip of your choice including breakaway clips or carabineers. You can also choose a badge holder if that is part of your plan.
Lanyards also have an important role in workplace and recreational safety. A vital type of lanyard is called a safety strap lanyard. This lanyard is used in industrial settings and attaches the worker to a switch that would stop a piece of machinery should the worker become incapacitated and fall. There are also lineman lanyards that anchor a worker in place and if they slip or fall they do not go into free fall but are stopped by the lanyard. These lanyards are made of strong material and may include a heavy-duty carbineer to help anchor the lanyard to the attachment point. Mountain climbing aficionados use similar equipment. Lanyards are also an important piece of safety gear for personal watercraft such as Jet Skis. These lanyards are usually attached to the wrist. If a rider falls off the Jet Ski the lanyard detaches and the machine slowly stops so it does not injure the rider who fell off or anyone else.
Like night vision goggles, surveillance cameras and many kinds of survival gear, the lanyard's first use was for military purposes. It may have first been used on ships to secure gear to the deck, but was generally referred to as a length of rope or cord used to anchor something important in place. In times past lanyards have been used to secure swords to soldier's wrists, keep a variety of items anchored in a soldier's shirt pocket such as a pocket knife or a whistle with the lanyard draped over the shoulder for easy access while riding a horse or running. And over time, the lanyard has been used as a colorful display of military achievement draping over the shoulder of a military uniform. Ornamental lanyards denote regimental assignment or military honor. Some dress uniforms of many military units, both International and US do include a lanyard at certain ranks and in certain circumstances.
However, in our modern day, even in the military, the lanyard is often thought of as the neck cord to secure an identification badge or keys, but the fabric is printed with the details of the military unit.
Lanyards will continue to be an important piece of personal equipment to protect our belongings and our personal safety.

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