Belt Buckle History


The following is presented to you so that perhaps you might obtain a greater understanding and appreciation for the common Belt Buckle. It is a clothing accessory which is under appreciated and for the most part is taken for granted.

Buckles are normally made of metal that is quite strong so as to hold the weight and pressure that could accidentally unclasp the belt or strap. So a belt buckle is a buckle that is used on a belt. At one end of the belt is a belt buckle that is fashioned onto it. The other end of the belt contains several holes, into which a prong or post (which is part of the buckle) is inserted into it for the purpose of securing the belt. In Western civilizations, men usually insert the belt through the pant loops in a counter-clockwise manner (looking down from above), while women tend to insert the belt in a clockwise direction.

Belts and buckles have been used for clothing since the Bronze Age. Both sexes used them off and on, depending on the current fashion, but it was a rarity in female fashion with the exception of the early Middle Ages. During the 2nd and 3rd century B.C. the Chinese semi nomadic people known as the Xiongnu wore belt buckles over long Tunics. These belt buckles were highly decorated and were worn as a mark of status. Germanic invaders, imported animal motifs characteristic of Scythian-Sarmatian decorative arts for their belt and buckles. This decorative art often represented animals entwined in mortal combat. A fine example of a buckle of a heavy rectangular type decorated with filigree was found in the tomb of Childeric I, king of the Franks, who died in AD 481/482. Several 7th-century gold buckles with interlacing curvilinear patterns and cutaway tongues, now in the British Museum, London, were found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial.

These modern additions to your wardrobe did not start out as such. Rather, buckles usage was started for their basic utility. Belts and buckles for the common man go back to the early 1600s, and the trials and tribulations of the British maritime industry.

These were the days before World War I, when the era belonged to the British Empire. This was also before the start of the railroad, which had a hand in diminishing the importance of the British fleet. Just like the railroad (and so many other inventions throughout human history), the belt buckle came about as a response to the needs of both the military and the merchant class.

British sailors, faced with brutal weather at sea, used eyelets and string to fasten their clothes, even though a goldsmith had recently invented the button. These eyelets were woefully inadequate once you were soaked, however. It was at this time that a seaman invented the very first belt buckle, and soon it became all the rage. Sailors attached them to leather belts and found them useful for holding up water-logged clothes, as well as easy to remove even with shivering fingers.

For many collectors, collecting antique belt buckles is also a great investment, they look for belt buckles that have a historical value. The most popular buckles are those manufactured and worn during famous wars, eg: the American Civil War. Some of these buckles are auctioned for thousands of dollars.

In modern times, men started wearing buckles and belts in the 1920s, as trouser waists fell to a lower, natural line. Before the 1920s, they served mostly a decorative purpose, and were associated with the military. Today, most men wear buckles and belt with their pants; women tend to wear them for more decorative functions.

Today we value belt buckles for much more than their utility. Indeed, today belt buckles serve as a creative means of self-expression. Most fashion experts say that belt buckles give you a glimpse of a person’s personality. There are assortments of belt buckles that cater to teens and fashion aficionados. Just recently, interest in belts as fashion accessories has been revived. Belt buckle designs range from the exquisite to the simple yet elegant styles. Belt buckles that we know today are evolving as a fashion revival. Both the belt and buckles have become an important accessory of men’s and women’s wardrobes.

Belt Buckles worn during the 1900’s and those worn during the Art Nouveau period are highly collectable

The cowboy belt buckle did not come about until the first of the 20th Century. In reality all cowboys usually wore suspenders or buckles that were derived from military friction buckles.

Cowboy belt buckles are more like old paintings, They can be duplicated easily. It is very hard to distinguish between the genuine antique buckle and a duplicate, especially when the materials used in the copy are the same as those in the original. You must be very careful when buying a antique belt buckle, ask an expert before deciding to spend thousands of dollars.

The Old West is a unique period of our national history. Those buckles were dreamed up by Hollywood when Cowboy movies were big box office. The costume designers wanted the Cowboys to look stylish and distinctive; buckles set them apart. Today Cowboy belt buckles are used by our own President, the Governor of California, movie stars, celebrities and just about anyone else who wants to be uniquely dressed. Western buckles are highly prized and some custom designed buckles sell for thousands of dollars.

The Western belt buckle is an American original. The Western Movies gave rise to what is known today as the Western Belt Buckle. Western belt buckles (which were inspired by cowboy belt buckles) inherit the masculine culture of those, which wore the first belt and buckles – the Roman Soldier. Most Western belt buckles are made of iron and plated in silver. But nowadays, other materials have been put together such as the discovery of alloys that will project a heavy look but are very light to wear.

Several of the most wanted belt buckle designs consist of the American eagle and patriotic flag belt buckle which are very common designs on belt buckles. Another popular design is the cowboy riding a bronco or bull, and yet another is flags of various countries and for various causes.

Today buckles come in all sizes and are made of all kinds of materials such as plastic, silver, wood and even gold. Buckles are made to be seen. Some are covered with Rhinestones as well as Diamonds. Throughout the ages belt buckles have been created and utilized to denote a person’s profession and status. Military buckles may denote rank and perhaps decorative vital information. Various professions have decorative buckles that signify their association i.e. fireman, military, police and of course rodeo belt buckles are some of the coolest designs around. More and more people in today’s society realize that the belt buckle can definitely dress up any given outfit. Buckles do not have to be expensive to do the job in expressing ones individuality. But the important thing is, buckles do not have to be expensive to express ones individuality or personality

There are buckle designers who are true artists, like Dan Ellis, Clint Orms and Edward Bohlin. They command high prices for their buckles. In there designs they use fine materials such as Silver and Gold and incorporate precious stones like diamonds rubies and emeralds in their buckles. Those who can afford them usually commission their personalized works of art, and must patiently waiter for their very own distinctive belt buckle.

From the first half of the century there are well known names in the manufacture of belt buckles. These include: Don Ellis, Michael Srour, Al Pecetti, William Nelson, John McCabe, Les Garica, Edward H. Bohlin, and Robert Schaezlein. Today there are an equal number of custom buckle makers but these older ones are the most prized for collections.


Source by Rayford Hubbard

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