The History of Lanyards

March 21, 2016 Uncategorized 1

The History of Lanyards

When the word ‘Lanyard’ is mentioned it usually bring two things to mind, the first is nothing because hardly anyone knows what a lanyard is, and there is the looped piece of material you put around your neck to carry things like ID badges or keys. It may be surprising to know that lanyards have an interesting history that we would like to share with you! Enjoy.

Lanyards have had a gritty start when they first made an appearance in the 1500’s, they were primarily used by French Soldiers and Pirates to ensure their weapons are close to hand when climbing rigging or engaging in life or death combat.

We may be used to seeing colourful branded lanyards these days but they were originally made using rope or cord that was found on ships, there were tied around a pistol or sword for ease of access. Even in WW2 soldiers could be seen using similar ideas with their weapons.

Eventually, some lanyards had specific attachments for certain weapons and they developed something we can use in military AND in civilian life.

Lanyards still serve a very functional purpose today, but have also become more decorative. They are popular as a craft and as security device in the corporate world. For instance, lanyard weaving became a popular craft for French and American children during the 1950’s.

As a craft, lanyard weaving teaches children how to create complex knots such as the box knot, Chinese knot, triangle and butterfly knot, as well as develop manual dexterity. In France, the craft became known as “scoubidou” (and yes, the cartoon character is named after the craft) and is known in the U.S. as “boondoggle”.

Going back to military applications of the lanyard, they too took on a more decorative function. Perhaps you’ve seen military officers with a colored braid at their shoulder? This is actually a lanyard used to denote a rank or award achieved by the officer and is represented by the color, type of braid and side of the body it is worn on. These types of lanyards can become quite complex in terms of the types of knots and braiding used in their creation.


In the corporate world and event passes industry, lanyards are used to display an ID badge or access pass. Lanyards make it easy to maintain security at events and corporate sites because a visibly displayed pass allows others to see who people are, what organization they belong to and what level of access they have.

Lanyards also serve another very important function at events: corporate branding. Companies use lanyards as a medium for printing their logo on and using them as promotional items and morale boosters both within and outside of their organization. As an item that can be used for a variety of functions from holding ID badges to keys, they are undoubtedly one of the most useful items to print your logo on for attaining further brand recognition.

So, the next time you’re at a corporate event, concert or convention – remember that the lanyard you’re wearing is more than just strap designed to display your event pass. It’s a functional work of art with a rich history and an adventurous past.