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5 Things You Might Not Know About Ties

Article May 31, 2019  |  Text by Radek Antl Text by Radek Antl

Every office gentleman’s wardrobe should certainly include a tie or three. And if you like accessories with stories tied into them, you should definitely have a tie from Croatia. Why? You’ll find out in our 5 reasons why ties are everything but boring.

1. They’ve been hanging around for centuries

We have Croatian women to thank for ties. When their beloveds went off to fight in the foreign legion of Louis XIV in the 17th century, they tied their men’s scarves with a knot similar to a typical necktie knot of today. The king loved this aesthetic so much that he made it a required part of the French uniforms. Thus the French “cravatte” (and later in turn the Czech “kravata” among others) was born from this scarf worn “Croatian-style”: “à la Croate.”

2. The Croatians have the biggest tie

Croatians are rightfully proud of their invention, and thus they one day made sure to be the country with the world’s biggest tie. They wrapped a record 808 meters of cloth weighing 450 kilograms around the Roman amphitheater in the port city of Pula, and only then did they tie its knot. It was held in place by a metal construction designed by the shipbuilder Dr. Bruno Calić.

A special megaphone gave off howling sounds to ward away any birds who might have thought to soil it. This took place on October 18th, 2003, and ever since, October 18th has been celebrated as the national Tie Day.

3. Their martial DNA remains

Ties have become wrapped up in battle on several other occasions since their genesis. In a certain era, they even evoked battles: To touch another man’s tie meant that you were calling him to duel. But they have helped in battle as well. 300 years ago, the English developed ties so thick that they could turn a blade.

4. And those knots… How many, actually?

The year 1818 saw the release of the (satirical) Neckclothitania, depicting 14 different ways to produce a nice knot. But this was not enough for some, and they sought out more ways. In 1999, Yong Mao and Thomas Fink, mathematicians from Cambridge University, came out with 85 different ways, and that seemed to be the end of it.

But then their Stockholm colleague Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson noticed an error in the Matrix: While he was watching The Matrix Reloaded, a little-known Edieta knot on one of the bad guys’ ties struck his eyes. He found that his predecessors hadn’t taken it into account, and he set forth to create a mathematical tie knot generator. He ultimately arrived at the conclusion that there are precisely 177,147 ways to tie a tie. But seriously, who’s going to double-check?

5. Wooden ties? Ha! How about fish ties!

Wooden ties may seem like one of the strange hipster fads of today’s generation. But they were invented by the Englishman Marv Beloff all the way back in 1993 – and even this was still less bizarre than – just for example – the once-infamous Ralph Marlin Fish Ties. If you like weird stuff, you can still pick one up to this day on eBay. The trend of skinny ties – often all-black – that ties lived through and (mostly) outlived in the 1950s and 60s is a similar story. Have any guesses on ties’ future stories?