Regulations concerning tie tacks or tie clasp devices are generally quite permissive across the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, with all of them allowing tacks and clasps featuring rank insignia as a design element.  The rank of General Officers has been denoted by stars since the days of the American Revolution, with the four-star rank first being introduced in 1866 when Ulysses S. Grant was appointed "General of the U.S. Army."


Military clothing has long been recognized for its major impact on men’s fashion and styles, and neckties are no exception. One of the earliest examples of soldiers with neckwear that bears a strong resemblance to modern neckties is found among some of the soldiers in the famous “Terracotta Army,” thousands of sculptures of Chinese warriors that were manufactured for burial with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in approximately 210 B.C. Not all the statues depict soldiers with neckwear, which would seem to indicate that the wearers have some status as commanders or leaders, a theory bolstered by the fact that no other Chinese artwork features soldiers wearing any type of neckwear we would associate with ties.

Over 300 years later, the Romans erected Trajan’s Column to celebrate the famous emperor’s success in the conquest of Dacia; the artwork on its spiral bas relief featured thousands of Roman soldiers wearing various types of neckwear. Just as with the Terracotta Army, this is the only example of Roman soldiers being depicted with neckwear, and it might have been added to the relief as a sign of respect and honor for the military achievement.

But these are theories, whereas actual recorded history points to a more recent origin for the necktie. During the Thirty Years’ War during the early 17th century, Croatian mercenaries fighting for the French arrived sporting colorful neckerchiefs that caught the attention of the fashion-conscious Parisians. Over the next couple of hundred years, these kerchiefs evolved into different types of neckwear, including cravats and ascots, but it was not until late in the 19th century that the long tie on which tie tacks or tie clasps are worn became popular.

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