The History Of The Fob
A fob can be defined as a short strap attached to an object to make the object easier to handle. The watch fob is a good example. Small decorative objects attached to the strap are also called fobs. Sometimes they are used to identify the object; key fobs are a good example of this use. Today, small devices attached to keys are sometimes called fobs.
Before World War I, when wristwatches became available, personal watches were carried in pockets. They were attached to short straps that could be leather, ribbon, or metal chain. The strap made it easier to remove the watch from the pocket and easier to handle the watch securely.
Men usually carried their watch in a small pocket on the waistcoat, called a fob pocket. Around 1775, waistcoats had several pockets, and for a time it was fashionable to carry a watch in each pocket. Sometimes only one watch was functional, while the others were merely decorative. The fobs hanging from each pocket became quite elaborate, and small personal seals were often attached to the free end.
As chain-style fobs began to be made of jewelry quality metal such as gold, silver, or even platinum, they began to be called watch chains or fob chains. These were valuable objects in themselves. During the Victorian period, fob chains of human hair were quite popular. Many Victorian wives were happy to braid a lock of their own hair into a fob for their husband’s prized watch.
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