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The History of Beanies

Updated on May 10, 2012

Beanies have been very popular throughout the years in the fashion world. But where did it start? Who invented it and why? Keep reading!

The term “beanies” is a name that was coined in the early 20th century, and was a type of cap that was usually worn by boys. Other terms this headgear is known for include dink, beanie, calot and dinky. They’re also known as welder’s caps and skullcaps. The term “beanies had evolved from the American slant term for head-bean.” No one really knows the origins for this odd expression, but we do know it’s also currently a baseball slang. A “bean ball” was a pitch aimed at the batter’s head, and so to strike the batter in the head with a baseball pitch is known as “to bean” the batter. The term “beanies” became mainstream in the 1950s when the cartoon “Beanie and Cecil” became popular. The boy of the cartoon wore a beanie propeller.

Now, “beanie” is used to describe headgear worn to protect someone’s head in cold weather, like a watch cap. A beanie can actually refer to different forms of head gear, but it is worn by nearly everyone in the sporting world, because it’s a casual wear, whether they’re wearing it the game or not. It’s a sporting fashion. Beanies are very popular in winter sports, such as skiing, that sometimes features ear flaps. Imagine just a regular old propeller beanie right beside it. You can see how different these are, but they’re both beanies. Beanies have a wide ranging fashion and form of use that have developed over the decades.

Beanies were originally a distinctive American cap. However, they are also beginning to become popular in other countries, and you may here the English call it a “dinky” or “dink.”

Beanies can be made of felt and different colors sewn together, or knit made from wool or man-made fibers. Many beanies are simply skull caps that are small and worn on the back of head. Other beanies are a bit larger with a small brim and ear flaps. The shape of the beanie depends on what it’s intentional use is.

In the early 20the century, the beanie was used to keep someone’s hair out of the way when he was working harsh demanding work. It was used to keep their hair out of the way—away from the eyes so they can see, and not just swishing around and being a pain. Beanies eventually became popular with college students and were sometimes dyed school colors and even custom caps were created with school seals to match other school spirit clothing.

With such a long history, it’s hard to believe that a beanie is known as just that type of cap today. Around the world, it’s also known as a toque or touque and a watch cap. Other names for beanies are toboggan cap, knit cap, skullcap, stocking cap, sock caps, ski cap, sipple cap, chook cap, and monkey cap. The style you’re into may depend on where you live in the world and what you’re using that cap for. It’s popular with men, women, children, young and old.

There have been a variety of propeller beanies over the years. It would spin freely, however, recently, we’ve developed power propellers with lights and they fly freely on their own. Remember, propeller beanies were not developed to try to help people fly—so don’t do it.

Popular people who are known for wearing beanies include Jughead from the Archie comic book series Spanky from Our Gang and Goober Pyle.

Beanies today are designed for fashion and function. It’s mostly worn to protect from cold weather, and are known for being used in winter sports. Beanies come in many different colors and styles just like most other caps are. They’re also worn indoors for fashion. Watch caps and beanies are easy to store and wear, extremely functional, yet light weight.

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