Key Status Symbols

category: > History Now/Then

written by: Jaap Proost

STATUS symbols come in all kinds of forms. For example in the form of a key, like the ones this page.

 
The first key(s) hanged on the watch chain of the American author William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943). The most important one is the top one, the Phi Beta Kappa key. (The other ones are a golf medal and tokens from his student years.) The Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded in 1776, is an American academic honor society for the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities.

 
The Playboy Club key once belonged to TWA executive Barry Wiksten. In the early sixties, the Playboy key became quickly a status symbol. Only 21 percent of all key holders ever went to a club. The key was replaced by a plastic key-card in 1966.

 

 

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