The earliest references to lanyards dates from 15th century France, during which the word "Lanière" was used to describe a thong or strap apparatus. Later, in the French military, lanyards were used to connect a pistol, sword or whistle (for signalling) to a uniform on a semi-permanent basis. Lanyards were used in situations where there was a good chance of losing the object—commonly by cavalry and naval officers at sea. A well-made pistol lanyard can be easily removed and reattached by the user, but otherwise will stay connected to the pistol whether it is drawn or in a holster. Lanyards later became a more decorative item.The style, design or material used will vary widely depending on end-purpose of the lanyard. Common lanyard materials include polyester, nylon, satin, silk, polythylene terephthalate(PET), braided leather or braided paracord.