History of Lanyards

The history of the lanyard is an interesting and colorful one. When you think of the term “lanyard”, I bet your mind immediately goes to the cords you see people wearing around their neck. Most times, people will attach their keys or an ID card to these lanyards for convenience and ease of use. It’s also much harder to lose something when it’s dangling around your neck! This was very much the thought process that went into designing and using the first lanyards.

The First Lanyards

Lanyards have a swashbuckling and daring past! In the early 1500’s, lanyards were invented because there was a need to keep weapons close at hand. French soldiers and pirates were first seen with lanyards as a way to keep their weapons close at hand. In fact, the word lanyard comes from the French word “laniere”, meaning ‘strap’ or ‘thong’. Lanyards would help these men while engaging in combat or climbing the rigging on ships.

The earliest lanyards were not the fancy and customizable bling that you can buy from our shop. The earliest lanyards were simple straps or strings made of rope and cord that were found aboard the ship. As time progressed, so did the function and versatility of lanyards. Specific attachments were developed over hundreds of years to make civilian and military life easier. Soldiers fighting in WW2 often used lanyards to carry pistols or various types of equipment in the field. It’s hard to lose a sword, knife, pistol, whistle or tool while it’s tied around a lanyard and fixed to your person.

Modern Lanyards

Except for becoming much more decorative and customizable, lanyards still serve the same purpose they did when they were invented in the 1500’s. They are still popular as a craft, even though lanyard weaving became popular as a craft for French and American children in the 1950’s. As a craft, lanyard weaving can teach children or adults many new skills. Some of these include the box knot, triangle knot, butterfly knot, and Chinese knot. It’s a great tool to develop hands-on dexterity. Lanyards are as much as a functional tool as they are a decorative one.

If you think about military applications of lanyards, you only have to look at a decorated military veteran. The colored braid on many soldiers is a type of lanyard used to identity specific awards, rank or achievements that the officer or soldier has acquired. Often times the knots and types of braiding can become quite complex when used in this application.

ID Badge Lanyard

In recent years, lanyards have been used in the corporate and professional world as a versatile and useful tool. Often times, lanyards are used to display ID badges and access passes. Lanyards make it easy for security to quickly determine whether or not someone has the proper credentials at an event or at certain levels of a corporation. You don’t want an intern gaining access to high-level security clearance! This is why lanyards with ID badges can be such an advantage in the workplace. Whether it’s a corporate event, a concert, a festival or a convention, custom lanyards with an ID badge are always a good idea.

custom lanyard

Lanyard Designs

All of our products at Southern Girl Gifts are handmade and hand-packaged using only the highest quality materials available. We are a small business focused on creating functional and innovative products for working professionals with style! I strive to create one-of-a-kind products that draw inspiration from the lanyard makers that came before me. Lanyards have come a long way; from French sailors to corporate America, lanyards have a rich history that deserves to be celebrated. Don’t just go with any lanyard! Choose one of our custom designs or commission us to create a unique one just for you! Email me at southernggifts@gmail.com for more information about our custom lanyards and designs.


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