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A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath (e.g., police and fire), a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple means of identification. They are also used in advertising, publicity, and for branding purposes. Police badges date back to medieval times when knights wore a coat of arms representing their allegiances and loyalty.
Badges can be made from metal, plastic, leather, textile, rubber, etc., and they are commonly attached to clothing, bags, footwear, vehicles, home electrical equipment, etc. Textile badges or patches can be either woven or embroidered, and can be attached by gluing, ironing-on, sewing or applique.
A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable or ductile. A metal may be a chemical element such as iron, or an alloy such as stainless steel.
Plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and so can be molded into solid objects.
Leather is a natural durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhides and skins. The most common raw material is cattle hide. It can be produced at manufacturing scales ranging from artisan to modern industrial scale.
Badges have become highly collectable: in the UK, for example, the Badge Collectors' Circle has been in existence since 1980.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The UK's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
In the military, badges are used to denote the unit or arm to which the wearer belongs, and also qualifications received through military training, rank, etc. Similarly, youth organizations such as scouting and guiding use them to show group membership, awards and rank.
A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards.
Scouting or the Scout Movement is a movement with a strong focus on the outdoors and survival skills that aims to support young people in their physical, mental, and spiritual development so that they may play constructive roles in society. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys and, in 1910, a new organization, Girl Guides, was created for girls. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.
Badges were popular as jewellery in the Middle Ages, and varied from extremely expensive works of jewellery, like the Dunstable Swan Jewel, to simple mold-made badges in lead or other base metals. Specialized forms were the pilgrim badge, worn by those who had completed a pilgrimage, and heraldic or livery badges, worn to denote service or allegiance to a political figure — these last were especially popular in England, and became very controversial in the period leading up to the Wars of the Roses. One royal celebration in 1483 was marked by the distribution of 13,000 badges, a huge number relative to the population at the time. Other types were funerary badges, presumably presented to mourners for the funeral of important figures, and simple decorative badges with animals or hearts. The grandest form of badge was worn as a pendant to a metal collar, often in gold or silver-gilt.
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
The Dunstable Swan Jewel is a gold and enamel brooch in the form of a swan made in England or France in about 1400 and now in the British Museum, where it is on display in Room 40. It was excavated in 1965 on the site of Dunstable Friary, and is presumed to have been intended as a livery badge given by an important figure to his supporters; the most likely candidate is probably the future Henry V of England, who was Prince of Wales from 1399.
Pilgrim badges are decorations worn by some of those who undertake a Christian pilgrimage to a place considered holy by the Church. They became very popular among Catholics in the later medieval period. Typically made of lead alloy, they were sold as souvenirs at sites of Christian pilgrimage and bear imagery relating to the saint venerated there. The production of pilgrim badges flourished in the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, but declined after the Protestant Reformation of the mid-16th century. Tens of thousands have been found since the mid-19th century, predominantly in rivers. Together they form the largest corpus of medieval art objects to survive to us today.
From the livery badge, various badges of service evolved, worn by officials, soldiers and servants. In the British Army a metal (today often plastic) cap badge denoting the soldier's regiment became standard by the 17th century, as in most European armies (though not always navies). By the 19th century a badge was an almost invariable part of any uniform, including school uniforms, which in the UK usually still feature the school's badge in cloth on the breast pocket of the jacket or blazer.
The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.
A cap badge, also known as head badge or hat badge, is a badge worn on uniform headgear and distinguishes the wearer's nationality and/or organisation. The wearing of cap badges is a convention commonly found among military and police forces, as well as uniformed civilian groups such as the Boy Scouts, civil defence organisations, ambulance services, customs services, fire services etc.
A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the country and the arm of service.
One of the best-known badges is the typically star-shaped U.S. sheriff's badge, made famous in Westerns. The Chairman Mao badge is probably the most famous political badge. Members of fraternities and sororities often refer to the pins that signify their membership as badges.
In the United States, a sheriff is an official in a county or independent city responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. Unlike most officials in law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected, although some states have laws requiring certain law enforcement qualifications of candidates. Elected sheriffs are accountable directly to the citizens of their county, the constitution of their state, and ultimately the United States Constitution.
Western is a genre of various arts which tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse. Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, neckerchief bandannas, vests, spurs, cowboy boots and buckskins. Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys, Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers, soldiers, and settlers. The ambience is usually punctuated with a Western music score, including American and Mexican folk music such as country, Native American music, New Mexico music, and rancheras.
Chairman Mao badge is the name given to a type of pin badge displaying an image of Mao Zedong that was ubiquitous in the People's Republic of China during the active phase of the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1971. The term is also used for badges associated with Mao that do not actually have a picture of him on them. Chairman Mao badges were, together with the "little red book", some of the most visible and iconic manifestations of the Cult of Mao. It is estimated that several billion Chairman Mao badges were produced during the period of the Cultural Revolution.
The BBC children's programme Blue Peter also awards its own "Blue Peter badge" to members of the public who appear on the show. These are highly collectable as they cannot be bought—except from people who have been awarded one and wish to sell it.
Case badges are thick, about 3 mm (0.12 in) deep, 3-by-3-centimetre (1.2 in × 1.2 in) lucite stickers that are often packaged with various computer parts, such as processors and video cards. Modern computer cases are frequently embellished with an indentation on the case's front panel to facilitate the affixing of a case badge.
Button badges are a highly collectible round badge with a plastic coating over a design or image. They often have a metal pin back or a safety pin style back. The most popular size is 25.4-millimetre (1.00 in) but the badges can range anywhere from this size right up to 120-millimetre (4.7 in) badges. This style of badge is used in political campaigning and often given as part of a birthday greeting such as a birthday card.
In the United States, the badges used by law enforcement, fire, and security guards are usually made of metal in various colors and finishes and are worn above the left chest pocket on the uniform shirt or jacket.
Detectives and other plainclothes personnel may wear them on a belt holder, or on a chain around the neck. Shapes are manifold, with municipal police departments tending to have some variation of a shield shape, and sheriff's departments usually going with a 5, 6, or 7 point star shape. In most cases, an enameled seal of the organization, city, county, or company can be found in the center of the badge.
In computing, badges are used to demonstrate skills.In education, digital badges are used as alternative forms of credentials, similar to those being used in the MacArthur Foundation's Badges for Lifelong Learning initiative.
Patch collecting or badge collecting is the hobby of collecting souvenir patches or badges.
In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, now most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently made of metal, wood or seashell, which joins two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of folk art, studio craft, or even a miniature work of art.
A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are given as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way. They may be struck like a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in the livery. Alternatively, some kind of a personal emblem or badge, or a distinctive colour, is featured.
A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. It has been worn by military personnel from many different nations including Australia, Britain, India, New Zealand, Southern Rhodesia, France, the United States, the Confederate States, Germany and many others. Australia and New Zealand have had various models of slouch hat as standard issue headwear since the late Victorian period.
A lanyard is a cord or strap worn around the neck, shoulder, or wrist to carry such items as keys or identification cards. In the military, lanyards were used to fire an artillery piece or arm the fuze mechanism on an air-dropped bomb by pulling out a cotter pin when it leaves the aircraft. They are also used to attach a pistol to a body so that it can be dropped without being lost. Aboard a ship, it may refer to a piece of rigging used to secure or lower objects.
The Air Force Security Forces Shield is a military badge of the United States Air Force Security Forces. Originally known as the "Air Police Shield" and the "Security Police Shield", the Air Force Security Forces Shield has existed since the early 1960s. The shield is worn in the center of the left shirt pocket of all Air Force uniforms, with the exception of the Mess Dress Uniform, where it is not worn in accordance with (IAW) AFMAN 31-201v3, para. 126.96.36.199.2., and is the primary identification for officers and enlisted airmen of the Air Force Security Forces.
Identification badges of the Uniformed Services of the United States are insignia worn by service members conducting special duties, many of which can be awarded as permanent decorations if those duties are performed successfully. There are a few identification badges that are awarded to all services, others are specific to a uniform service. The Office of the President and Vice President and department/service headquarters badges are permanent decorations for those who successfully serve in those assignments. Some of the service level identification badges can be permanent decorations and others are only worn by a service member while performing specific duties, such as the Military Police Badge.
A heraldic badge, emblem, impresa, device, or personal device worn as a badge indicates allegiance to, or the property of, an individual or family. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance. They are para-heraldic, not necessarily using elements from the coat of arms of the person or family they represent, though many do, often taking the crest or supporters. Their use was more flexible than that of arms proper.
A rosette is a small, circular device that is typically presented with a medal. The rosettes are either worn on the medal to denote a higher rank, or for situations where wearing the medal is deemed inappropriate, such as on a suit. Rosettes are issued in nations such as Belgium, France, Italy and Japan. Rosettes are also sometimes called bowknots, due to their shape. Moreover, a large rosette is sometimes pinned onto the ribbon which suspends a medal, typically the Officer 's badge of certain orders of chivalry.
The uniform and insignia of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) gives a Scout visibility and creates a level of identity within both the unit and the community. The uniform is used to promote equality while showing individual achievement. While all uniforms are similar in basic design, they do vary in color and detail to identify the different membership divisions of Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA and Venturing. Many people collect BSA insignia such as camporee and jamboree emblems, council shoulder strips and historical badges.
A locket is a pendant that opens to reveal a space used for storing a photograph or other small item such as a lock of hair. Lockets are usually given to loved ones on holidays such as Valentine's Day and occasions such as christenings, weddings and, most noticeably during the Victorian Age, funerals. Historically, they often opened to reveal a portrait miniature.
A livery collar or chain of office is a collar or heavy chain, usually of gold, worn as insignia of office or a mark of fealty or other association in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards.
Scouting memorabilia collecting is the hobby and study of preserving and cataloging Boy Scouting and Girl Guiding items for their historic, aesthetic and monetary value. Since collecting depends on the interests of the individual collector, the depth and breadth of each collection varies. Some collectors choose to focus on a specific subtopic within their area of general interest, for example insignia issued prior to the 1970s Boy Scouts of America requirement that all insignia have either the fleur-de-lis or the acronym BSA; or only the highest ranks issued by each nation. Others prefer to keep a more general collection, accumulating any or all Scouting merchandise, or Scouting stamps from around the world.
The custodian helmet is the modern name applied to the helmet worn by male police officers in England and Wales and certain other places around the world. It is synonymous with the "bobby on the beat" image.
A name tag is a badge or sticker worn on the outermost clothing as a means of displaying the wearer's name for others to view.
An embroidered patch, also known as a cloth badge, is a piece of embroidery which is created by using a fabric backing and thread. The art of making embroidered patches is an old tradition and was originally done by hand. During the first half of the twentieth century they were commonly embroidered using a shiffli embroidery machine. High-speed, computerized machines have led to mass production.
The Singapore Police Force has employed several different styles of uniforms throughout its history. Since 1969 it has used dark blue for its uniforms, although the first police uniforms introduced in 1856 were also in the same colour.
Police uniforms in the United States vary widely due to the nation's tradition of highly decentralized law enforcement. Over time, however, a number of general conventions and styles have become representative of American police fashion. Police officers wear uniforms to deter crime by establishing a visible presence while on patrol, to make themselves easily identifiable to non-police officers or their colleagues who require assistance, and to quickly identify each other at crime scenes for ease of coordination.