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Key chains have been in use for a long time, since 1888 according to Webopedia. The origin of the word “fob”, according to Sid Kemp (life coach) is (…)either Middle English fobben, or German Fuppe (pocket) or the German foppen meaning sneak-proof.
According to Merriam Webster: Definition of fob1: watch pocket (not the one in the vest)
2: a short strap, ribbon, or chain attached especially to a pocket watch
3: an ornament attached to a fob chain
4: or key fob: an object attached to a key chain or key ring; especially : a small electronic device used typically in place of a key (as to unlock a door or start a vehicle) or to remotely initiate the action of another device (such as a garage door)In modern times fob can be used as an imprecise description of the object attached to keys or a watch.
Before the 1980s it was chiefly a low-tech device that would personalize one’s key ring. And as such it could have also been called a key chain even though chain was not always part of the set.
Since the 80s, the meaning of fob began to include an electronic access device to substitute or support a key. Recently, fob can also mean a small security device for an electronic item.
Fob as a personalized key chain can also play a decorative role. Two Chicks Conspiracy produces this kind of fob. Our fob is a 9” polyester webbing imprinted with a design. We offer fobs with our original stock designs and we also design custom images for organizations and locations (visitor centers), businesses, and groups of aficionados. In recent years, a lanyard became another way to flag a bundle of keys. Although lanyards were originally 36” long strings to hold up an ID tag around one’s neck, recently some social groups (mostly people under 30) use it as an extralong key fob.
We can also produce many of our designs as lanyards. Just ask!