It may be hard to believe, but dog tags are not the fashion accessories they have made out to be. This jewelry item is oval, round, or rectangle in shape, and many people have been seen donning it. Even though it is legal, but dog tags when worn as a fashion accessory, are regarded as disrespectful by some people. What to know why? It is all because of the history associated with these dog tags.
Here is all you need to know about the history of dog tags and from where it all started.
What is the Purpose of Dog Tags?
Dog tags have served the military an essential purpose for a long time. Its primary use was to help identify soldiers who died during an operation. Each dog tag contains the necessary identification and medical information of the soldiers. Some even use it for religious purposes as well.
Dog tags first came into being during the Civil War. They were used as a replacement to the plastic identity cards, which would get damaged due to the weather conditions.
How it All Started from the Civil War:
Before dog tags were invented, soldiers used to have printed plastic identification cards. These cards were prone to get damaged due to the harsh weather conditions. This made the soldiers scared of being buried in unmarked graves, so they adopted other measures for their identification. They used wood or old coins to make their tags; some even marked their uniforms. There were a few soldiers who bought engraved metal tags from local sellers.
The soldiers did everything they possibly could to mark themselves. However, around 50 percent of the soldiers who died were buried unmarked after the Civil War. This was because there was nothing to identify them with. This caused uproar in the nation and everyone wanted a solution to this problem so that the soldiers could be buried the proper way
in the future.
In 1862, a citizen, John Kennedy, offered to make engraved disks for the soldiers. The War Department declined his offer, and everyone witnessed the aftermath.
When it Became Official:
Dog tags finally became official in December of 1906. All the soldiers in the Army were required to wear aluminum disc-shaped ID tags. These tags had the soldier’s name, rank and regiment engraved. In 1916, an order for a second tag was given. The soldiers now had two tags, one which they wore with their uniforms and the order had their records. After the Army, the Navy got their tags later in May of 1917. The difference between their tags with the Army’s was that all Navy tags included fingerprints of the soldiers as well.
By the Second World War, the dog tags had become an official part of the uniform. Each tag had the soldier’s name, rank, blood type, and religion. They were made up of nickel-copper alloy. By this time, the Navy had stopped engraving the fingerprint of the soldiers. They too then started including two dog tags like the Army had introduced years before.
How Did the Name ‘Dog Tag’ Come into Being?
No one is quite sure how the name ‘dog tag’ came into being. Most people say it was because of a newspaper worker William Randolph Hearst. He named these dog tags when he was criticizing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s consideration of giving out nameplates to people for identification.
Another source says that people started calling these dog tags because the plates looked familiar to those worn by dogs. Some even say the tags got this nickname because the soldiers were treated nothing less than dogs during World War II.
The Evolution of Dog Tags:
Looking at how dog tags are used by nearly everyone these days, it tells a lot about the evolution of this item. Mostly these tags are known for serving fashion statements. However, dog tags have proved to be useful in other fields too. They are worn as medical tags by individuals, these tags contain their medical information in case an emergency arises. They also include emergency contact and information related to allergies. The best part about this jewelry item is that it looks good on any material. However, gold dog tags have been at number one for ages! And rightfully so.
In the field of fashion, dog tags have become immensely popular with the younger generation. Even though this jewelry item is unisex, it has mostly been seen in men. Such dog tags contain engraved quotes or information for basic identification.
The Maintenance of Dog Tags:
The only downfall with dog tags is that their quality is very hard to maintain. They get rusty pretty quick and cleaning them is a task. Do you want to know how to clean rusted jewelry? Here are some most common ways that can help you!
- Use Dish Soap:
Simply take a cup of warm water, pour it into a bowl, and add your dish soap. Soak your jewelry into the bowl for a few minutes and lightly scrub with your fingers. If you want, you can use a toothbrush as well. Rinse it off and use a soft cloth to wipe the water off.
- Use Baking Soda and Salt:
Take an aluminum foil and cover the inside of your boil with it. Take a cup of warm water and add it to a bowl. Next, add one tablespoon of baking soda and salt. Put your jewelry into the bowl, and let it soak in for ten minutes. Use cold water to rinse it off and let the jewelry air dry.
Would you have imagined that dog tags we wear so casually today have such an important history behind them? Dog tags have now not only become a fashion necessity, but they pose great importance in other fields as well.
What started as an item for identification purposes is now worn by almost everyone. From World War II and after that, dog tags have served greatly!