Once upon a time, EVERYONE carried a big square piece of cloth as a normal part of their everyday attire. Depending upon the culture, it was called a Scarf, Kerchief, Bandana, Handkerchief, Shemagh, Turban, Keffiyeh, or Furoshiki.
And no matter if you lived in the city or on a farm, worked in a factory or aboard a ship, roamed the wilderness, raised a family, rode a herd of cattle, or rode the rails, it was your Best Friend. Because it could be used for everything from wiping your brow to helping with chores to carrying your lunch to padding your load to handling hot pots to signalling your friends to cushioning your head, to protecting your gear to swaddling your child. It was carried and used daily by farmers, trappers, house wives, tradesmen, gentlemen, school children, and in fact just about anyone.
What we nowadays call the bandana is the last vestige of this once ubiquitous and universally useful piece of every day equipment. While the original kerchiefs and pocket handkerchiefs measured from 36 on up to 42 inches on a side, the modern bandana and handkerchief have been reduced over time to a pitiful 18 to 21 inches square. As we have become "modernized" over the past century or so, this once powerful tool has been reduced to an ornament and a fashion accessory.