When talking about lapel pins, I don’t like to state the obvious because in most cases the obvious doesn’t really matter. But, the obvious is 100 to 1000 years plus.
Many articles have been written on the question “How long have lapel pins been around” and the answer is always the same, they have been around in some form or fashion for hundreds if not thousands of years. Most credit the Egyptians as the first culture to begin using processes that are incorporated into lapel pin production today.
China is the next culture given most credit for progressing the manufacturing of these little metal items. This of course makes sense given the majority of the world’s pins are produced in China today. China most likely earns the credit for the improvement and development of lapel pins in our lifetime – less than 100 years. But ultimately credit for lapel pins might reside with Americans who adopted, purchased, promoted, sold, wore, and basically fell in love with pins and made them relevant in our everyday lives on a big scale.
What we know today is not what transpired hundreds and thousands of years ago with pins. Early lapel pins might have been called medallions, brooches, or emblems rather than lapel pins. Early pins may have been produced by casting – pouring liquid metal into a mold, or carving – using a knife to shape the design out of wood or other soft material, or assembling wire – linking wires together in a manner to create a design. It is unlikely due to the tedious nature of all these processes that huge volumes of pins would have been produced. Rather it is most likely, in the early days, each pin was unique with only small volumes produced. All this makes it hard to trace back the actual origins of lapel pins.
I have personally worked in the pin industry for 20 plus years and during that time been involved in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Having also observed other Olympic Games held in other countries it became obvious Americans love pins more so than other countries. Millions and millions of pins were sold during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. There was something in the air, it was an infectious feeling that stirred the Americans to buy pins. Maybe it was the American Dream that said, I have to have that collector’s item.
With any promotional type product, a person would naturally wonder is it a fad or does it have staying power? This may be the reason so many people ask “How long have lapel pins been around?” While it is easy to get caught up in a fad, when making purchasing decisions, you want to invest your money in something that will last. So, that said, even if a person only credits the existence of lapel pins for 100 years, that seems to be evidence of staying power. Lapel pins have outlasted numerous other products that have come and gone and have proven there is power in the pin. So, you should have great confidence in purchasing lapel pins and making them an integral part of your marketing strategy.
To be honest, as a pin manufacturer, it would be fun to go back in time and trace the timeline, the changes, the improvements and more importantly the impact lapel pins have had on our society. I call them mini billboards today, because they literally advertise, promote and advocate wherever the pin is seen. A regular billboard is anchored in one spot, a lapel pin is constantly in motion as it is worn and displayed on whoever owns it.
The next time you are out and about look around and see how many pins you see displayed on a shirt, a jacket, a backpack and more. It might surprise you. But then again, it is the power of the pin that has been around for 100’s if not 1000’s of years.