The history of button Pin badges dates back 150 years. Button badges in the past were patches sewn onto jackets and used to mark military men and personnel. Scouting Organizations also used button badges to identify one’s group or rank.
The birth of celluloid in 1869 paved the way towards the invention of the first semi-synthetic plastic that give the same effect as a traditional enamel badge minus the labor cost that characterize working with enamel badges. The use of semi-synthetic plastics in button badges eliminated the use for soldering and screwing as there are less metal used in producing badges. Traditional button badges are still made with the same high standards that badges were made 100 years ago.
The components of a button badge remained unchanged for decades except that twentieth century buttons have options for plastic acetates instead of celluloid and D-pins in place of the more traditional open pins.
It was during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1897 that some of the first button badges were introduced in the UK. The button badges made popular souvenirs of the huge occasion in Britain at the time especially as they were cheap to buy.
Whitehead and Hoag, a New Jersey company manufactured the first button badges during the first half of the twentieth century. In the same period, the same company produced The Boer War badges. The use of button badges as a promotional item in its first year had caused millions of button badges to be produced due to low production costs.
The popularity of button badges among the young dates back 1960s and early 70s when the world was filled with unrest, Nuclear Disarmament and psychedelic. Button badges were worn by students, hippies, and musicians as a symbol of protest.
With the explosion of punk music in 1976, button badges became fashion statements where everything is said by the button badges one wears on his jacket. Badges became a means for people, all over the world, to express their affiliation to a band, music, or cause.
In the early years button badges were made to promote sports stars, celebrities and politicians. As they were cheap to buy, button badges were at certain times given free with a pack of cigarettes. Button badges were also issued by political parties to their activists in during promotional campaigns.
The purpose of button badges has not changed over the years. Badges of today continue to express one’s belief in causes, passion for certain products, high regard for politicians and celebrities. Some companies consider button badges as a cost-effective means of promoting their products. In certain establishments, button badges can be seen worn by employees to express the company’s values for excellence and good customer service.