Today I’m going to answer a few questions that have probably never even been asked! Where do keyrings come from? How have they developed over the years? and what uses are made of them in the present day – hey, you never know how useful this trivia could be!
Keyrings were invented back in 1922 by a man named G Herluf Johnson who secured a patent for a device that was extremely simple to mass-produce and very practical to use – attach your keys to the ring, and they’ll never fall off! Not long after the introduction of the keyring, other useful accessories were being attached to keyrings other than just their keys – the key fob was born! Although the true origin of the word ‘fob’ is unknown, certain studies show that the word may be linked to the German word ‘fuppe’ meaning ‘pocket’. Some believe the word originated from watch fobs (an ornament attached to the pocket-watch chain), which existed as early as 1888. These days we use the word fob to describe a variety of items including, key chains, car starters, garage door openers, and keyless entry devices.
In the 1950s and 1960s with the improvement of plastic manufacturing techniques, promotional keyfobs became more and more unique. Companies could place their names on 3d promotional keyrings for a fraction of the price of the standard metal keychains.
As electronic technology continues to become smaller and cheaper, miniature key-fob versions of previously larger devices are becoming increasingly popular. The modern day keyring is no longer just a piece of plastic with a small message insert. Now digital photo frames, simple video games, USB flash drives and keyless entry systems all dominate the keyring world!
Even in recent years technologies in keyfobs have come a long way. Take for example early electric key fobs for un-locking cars remotely. Using infrared technology, they required a clear line-of-sight to function and at the time, they could be easily duplicated using a programmable remote control allowing thieves easy entry to your locked vehicle. Recent models now use radio frequencies, which are harder to copy and don’t need line-of-sight to operate. Believe it or not, modern car key fobs can sometimes be confused as weapons! Nathan Rau, the proud owner of a 2003 Audi A4 found this out in April 2006, when he was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon – police confused his car keys for a switchblade!