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HISTORY OF BELT BUCKLES
Belt buckles go back at least to the Iron Age - The belt buckle has evolved over a period of two thousand years, from the primitive bone buckles and looped belts use by tribes of Hunters/Gatherers - Our first ancestors from long, long ago, to the more functional belt buckles developed in ancient Rome. The Latin word for buckle is “buccula”. The oldest styles of belt buckles had a simple loop or "D" shaped frame but "double-loop" or "center post" buckles whose prongs attach to a fixed center section appeared in the 8th century. Very small buckles with removable center pins and chaps were introduced and used on shoes, beginning in the 17th century, but not often for waist-belts. A "chap" is the fixed cover or plate which attaches buckle to belt while the "mordant" or "bite" is the adjustable portion.
Late 6th or 7th century, Byzantine Belt Buckle.
EARLY AMERICAN BUCKLES
THE RISE IN POPULARITY OF THE BELT BUCKLE
With their strong association with military equipment, belt buckles were primarily a masculine ornament well into the 19th century. Later Belt buckles became more popular as fashion accessories in the 20th century, as the tops of trousers moved more toward the waist. From the first half of the 20th century there were no more than a dozen major buckle manufacturers. Today there’s thousands if not millions of custom buckle makers but the older ones are the most prized for collections. Western style belt buckles were largely popularized by cowboy movies in the United States and are often awarded to winners in rodeo events as prize medals or trophies. These belt Buckles became very popular after Hollywood began using them in movies for their "fresh cool look." This custom was later adopted by the general population in the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Now they dominate the belt buckle production, as more fashionable and attractive but less functional.
PATRIOTISM FLAG BELT BUCKLES
POPULAR BELT BUCKLES