The history of the pin badge

11 October 2017

Heroes, birthdays, politics, rebellion and fashion.

Whether worn to celebrate, rebel or support the pin badge has been a staple accessory throughout the years and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Our brand new ‘Badge of honour’ card range pays homage to all of these variations and people that wear them with pride.

In 1896 a man by the name of Benjamin S. Whitehead had a patent issued for a ‘Badge Pin or Button’ which used a metal pin anchored to the back of the button the fasten the badge, thus resulting in the birth of the button badge!

 By 1897 his company, Whitehead & Hoag had produced some of the first badge pins to appear in the UK for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. These badges were mass produced, cheap and the perfect souvenir for a huge occasion in British history.

Fast-forward to the protest movements of the 1960’s & 70’s and the Pin Badge was given a whole new lease of life, empowering and uniting students, hippies and musicians as a symbol for protest. Perhaps one of the most memorable and recognisable uses of the badge at this time was in the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), where they were produced in mass quantities for events such as the Aldermaston Marches.

It wasn’t until the arrival of the Sex Pistols and the punk genre in 1976 that the button badge became an essential fashion statement. The result? Nearly a decade of people from all over the world displaying their allegiance to a band, genre, youth cult or political cause, by wearing one or more of these badges with honour.

Despite a lull since the days of The Sex Pistols, they remain a firm favourite today and have seen something of a revival in fortunes of late. This is not only evident within the fashion industry but their importance is perfectly highlighted in the current exhibition Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories at the British Museum, where around 400 powerful badges that relate to LGBTQ experience can be found.

This exhibition is on until the 15th October 2017 for more details click here

The badge will live on even when the card giving is done.

From colourful hearts to tropical birds these pins can be attached to your favourite backpack, jacket or tee to brighten up your outfit. Each pin comes attached to one of our beautifully illustrated ‘badge of honour’ cards to set the scene.

About Caroline Gardner

Caroline Gardner is best known as one of the UK's leading and most prolific accessory, gift and stationery designers.

Her distinctive designs now stretch across various product categories, including paper, accessories and lifestyle, all linked by her design hand print of quirky use of colour and placement.

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