The History of Dad's Favourite Father's Day Gifts

Most of us have relied on the old standards for Father's Day Gifts. Whose dad doesn't have a Father's Day tie, wallet or pair of socks? Let's take a look at the invention stories of these favourite Father's Day Gifts:

History of Socks

The sock is one of those items that was invented organically. That is, there was no real "eureka!" moment in their history. The first socks in history were different than we are used to today - they were the skins of animals that were placed over the feet and tied up at the ankles. Thankfully for Dad, socks were improved upon over the years. In the 8th century BC, people in ancient Greece figured out that matted animal hair made nice warm socks, while ancient Romans used leather and the first socks made from woven fibres. In Europe in the 5th century AD, religious people wore socks that were called "puttees." These socks signified their holiness and purity. Here's a fact you can tell Dad when you present him with his new socks - they were a symbol of wealth and prosperity around the year 1000.

Two things happened in the history of socks that helped in their evolution. The 1589 invention of the knitting machine enabled socks to be created six times faster than the old hand-knitting method. Also, the invention of nylon in the 1930s meant that yarns could be blended together in making socks. In fact, socks are still made this way today.

History of the Tie

Louis XIV wearing a cravat in 1667Louis XIV wearing a cravat in 1667The history of the tie starts with the cravat. The cravat was a strip of cloth knotted at the necks of Croatian soldiers in the 1630s who fought alongside French soldiers in the Thirty Years' War. Parisians liked these scarves and adopted the fashion craze as their own. In fact, the word cravat is a corrupted French version of the word for Croat. In the Battle of Steenkerque in 1692, soldiers didn't have time to tie the cravats as normal, so they just let the fabric hang loose and twisted the ends together. A 1913 tieA 1913 tieThis look went through a few incarnations before the Industrial Revolution necessitated the invention of the tie that we know today. The tie was invented because men needed something to wear around their necks that was easy to use and could last for a long day at work.

The tie has seen some innovation in its history, from hand-painted ties during the First World War, to the huge ties of the '70s, to the skinny ties of the '80s and even with the invention of the clip-on tie - an invention that is the favourite of little boys everywhere.

History of the Wallet

The wallet's history dates back to about the first century AD, when the term "wallet" actually referred to a bag used to carry items - more like the purse of today. The word "wallet" is thought to come from a translation of the Greek word, kibisis, This is the sack Perseus used to carry Medusa's head. Dad will like that fact too.

The wallet as we know it today was invented in the 1600s. This is about the time that the Western world switched to paper money, so the wallet was more practical. The earliest invented wallets were pretty rudimentary. They were made of leather, much like today, but contained only one slot, meant to hold calling cards. The multi-slotted wallet was invented in the 1950s, when credit cards became popular.

Wallets didn't see much innovation in their history after that, except for the 1970s when Velcro was introduced to them. However, the next step for this accessory is already with us: the digital wallet, which is used to store information when making online purchases.

History of Father's Day Gifts Sources:
Wikipedia - Sock
Wikipedia - Necktie & Cravat
Wikipedia - Wallet

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