Wherever you go today it is possible to buy a pin badge as a souvenir. They can even be a part of birthday cards giving your age or a cheeky message. So they have become a cheap and cheerful part of everyday life.
These common objects date from the end of the nineteenth century which was a time of great innovation. The patents for these badges were taken out in 1894 and 1896 by Whitehead and Hoag Ltd of Newark in New Jersey, USA. They used celluloid to protect the design and were the first major use to which this new material was put. In 1897 Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee all over the world and so the first mass market for cheap souvenirs like this was created. The badges were a great success and ever since then millions have been made.
Another early pioneer of the use of badges was none other than Mahatma Ghandi. In 1907, as part of the campaign for Indian independence, badges known as Mutiny Buttons were made to commemorate the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and distributed in London.
Today's love of button badges dates back to the 1960s and early Seventies when they were used by students, hippies and musicians, often as a symbol of protest. John Lennon loved them and from then onwards the one inch button badge has always been seen as a cool thing to wear.
It was the arrival of the Sex Pistols and punk in 1976 though that was to make the button badge an essential fashion statement. For the next decade, people all over the world displayed their allegiance to a band, music, youth cult, or cause, by wearing one or more button badges. Despite lulls in their popularity since, they remain a firm favourite today and are enjoying something of a revival in fortunes of late.