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Abstract

It seems a little curious, that until recently, most of us hadn’t even heard of the word lanyard, let alone knew what it meant or where it came from, given its ubiquitous presence in our daily lives. Rooted in 15th century maritime history, lanyard derives from the French word lanière, meaning strap or thong, which was made from scraps of rope on board ships, presenting a hands-free solution to working on a vessel, whilst keeping weapons close at hand. It is from this utility, as an attachment, that the history of lanyards is largely a military one, gracing different traditions over the centuries. Lanyards were used to connect a sword, pistol or whistle to a uniform by cavalry and naval officers. This is where decoration meets function; a soldier’s or sailor’s status determining what braiding or colour combination might apply. Any appraisal of the lanyard now within a contemporary context cannot ignore this antecedence, which is so central to the object’s DNA.

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