Sometimes the most important things escape our attention. This is what history makes of man. Sometimes it’s a bit nice to delve on the history of little things such as belts. You never know, you might find out some interesting bits of inspiration sprinkled throughout the leather belts history. Let’s have a quick history tour about your little friend who’s literally holding your pants together.
Leather belts have become what it is today due to the accumulation of several decades of development. Leather belts came about when leatherworking started to blossom. As early as the Bronze Age, which is slated at 3000 BC to 1050 BC, leather belts were already used. People during those times mostly use softened tree bark and cloth to tie in their waist.Pieces of leather with boiling rocks were discovered in Norwegian Lower Paleolithic sites. These pieces of leather are said to be an early form of cuir-bouilli. Cuir bouilli is a method of leather molding by boiling it in water. Allegedly, ammonia from the urine is used as a treating chemical for the leather.
The Syrian armed god figurines wear eight-inch wide leather belts. During the Trojan War, which was set in 1200-1100 BC, there were three prominent belts, namely; the zoster, telamon, and the aortēr. The zoster is a girdle made out of leather with precious stones as decoration. The telamon is a belt worn on the shoulder. Finally, the aortēr is a form of women belt thrown over the chest, which usually holds a sword.
Leather belts and leather, in general, were used as protective gear in war. As advancement in technology and leatherworking started gearing, leather wasn’t just used in battles. People started using and making it for practical purposes. People started making leather belts with little pockets on them. The belts and hooks were made out of bronze during the reign of the Roman Empire.At first, leather belts were stiff as the hides were made to rot directly in the heat of the sun. Soon, leatherworkers included animal fat to make leather belts semi-soft and flexible. Leatherworkers also started using Aldehyde to create the tan color of the leather. Alum, often seen on volcanic spots, was also used as a tanning agent.
In the eighth century, Spain introduced Cordovan leather production. Leather belts during the eighth-century varied and style and use depending on your social standing. Girdles or leather belts in the Middle Ages were adorned with brooches and jewelry. At this time, leather belts are popular embellishments or fashion statements.Soon, girdles became full-blown belts that are worn around waists to secure gowns for men and women. These leather belts are thick enough that they can support scabbards and swords. Craftsmen often use belts with pockets and bags in them. That way, craftsmen could put their tools and things. Women during the middle ages wear leather belts above their waist. In men, they would usually wear them below the waist. Belts in the middle ages have symbolized chastity, purity, and religious abstinence. Leather belts were also worn during those times to signify once social status and are often included during traditional cremations.
American cowgirls and cowboys
Leather belts and basically anything leather was venerated on American cowboys. Leather belts worn by cowboys and cowgirls signify strength. The buckles at this point were intricate, and some have brandings. Buckles were often received as awards on rodeos and various valorous acts on ranches. Leather belts on were often worn below the waist with holsters on them for revolvers and spare bullets.
In the 19th century, Levi Strauss added belt loops for jeans. Suspender button was slightly diminishing their popularity at this time. At first, belt loops were usually worn for sportswear, but the style soon trickled down to civilian wardrobe. In World War I, leather belts were made into hate belts and souvenir belts. German soldiers would attach buttons on their dead enemies’ leather belts to signify conquest.
In the 20th century, leather belts were mainly used for holding a pair of pants together and as a fashion statement. Men usually wore leather belts for suits and other purposes. Women at this time rarely use a belt. If they do, they would usually use leather belts as an accessory or as accents to their wardrobe.