Lapel Pins: How It All Started

Lapel pins have been used for a long time. There are different ways to use these pins in addition to the primary use as a lapel accessory, but how did it all begin? How did these pins become important in daily living?


The pins were used in the American Civil War. Soldiers needed a way to distinguish members of each troop; therefore, they came up of brass pins with their unit number engraved on them. This was an effective way of determining each soldier’s area of service in the military. This is an efficient way to keep units in the military organized. Soldiers also garnered pride and showed camaraderie upon wearing their unit’s pins. On the other hand, they also used these pins to secure items that they carry during battle.

With this reason, the use of lapel pins was continued until World War I. Exemplary soldiers who fought and survived during the war were awarded with pins that represent valor and heroism. This is also done for the brave soldiers who served their country well but were not able to get through. The pins are then awarded to their family members, in honor of their fallen loved ones. This military method was very admired by the public that civilians even made old awarded pins as memorabilia or collectibles.

People who promoted nationalism and love for their country came up with the idea of these pins. This is why they are also used in flags and uniforms. Even the president of a country wears a pin with their flag printed on it, to show their support and love for the people.

People today were inspired by this military method hence; they developed the use for pins and modified them as their own. Organizations such as fraternities and sororities made great use of these pins. In every year, recruited members-to-be undergo an initiation process that lasts for a week. Once they have overcome these trials, they are awarded membership pins on the night of their graduation. The pins symbolize their brotherhood or sisterhood and new members were suggested to wear or keep them throughout their lives. This act shows the members loyalty and commitment.

custom-lapel-pinThe use of lapel pins today spread and they are now widely used in businesses, medical facilities and even to promote awareness of certain causes. Activists endorse their cause by using pins as promotional items. They are handed out to people that may put interest into their campaign. This way, they gain new members and help the growth of their group. Social causes such as Breast cancer awareness, AIDS awareness, etc also use these pins in order to spread valuable information the public.

Wearing lapel pins can also show patriotism. An example is the people of the USSR who wore these pins to show political pride for their leader, Vladimir Lenin. Another example is the people of China, who wore pins for Chairman Mao. In the United States of America, citizens wore pins in honor for those who were affected during the September 11 attack.

 Lapel pins are not just for the military or for businesses, they are also for embellishment and fandom. But still, this decoration on clothing shows support on a particular group or party whether it is in politics or in sports. These pins are symbols of support, devotion, respect and admiration. These are the main reasons why they are necessities even on today’s generation. The history of these small but valuable items has evolved into what they are known today. Their original use was not depleted but instead enhanced and stretched out for the better use of political men, the military and the general public.