Fobs and Seals

Fobs and seals decorated the waists of fashionable men during the early nineteenth century, continuing a trend that started in the late eighteenth century. Fobs were short straps, ribbons, tassels, or chains. A fob attached to a watch carried in the pocket of a waistcoat on the man's right side. Seals were engraved gold or other metal medallions attached to fobs, used for marking a person's signature impression in sealing wax for important documents or other correspondence, or purely for ornamentation. The fad for single or clusters of fobs and seals was replaced by the end of the century with a simpler fashion: the display of the pocketwatch chain. Men's main ornamentation during the later years of the nineteenth century was a draped pocketwatch chain hanging across their buttoned waistcoat or vest.

Fobs were short straps, ribbons, tassels, or chains. Reproduced by permission of © .


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Laver, James. Costume and Fashion: A Concise History. 4th ed. London, England: Thames and Hudson, 2002.

Lister, Margot. Costume: An Illustrated Survey from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century. London, England: Herbert Jenkins, 1967.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: