Just click on the graphics to view them. I'll be posting Part Three soon.
Part Three: https://youtu.be/uDoDyw8jNlM
When I posted information on the Hernando County Button Collector's Facebook page about my recent presentation about bone buttons, a lot of people were interested. I decided to share it more widely by creating self-narrated videos of my presentation. Bone Buttons Part One: "How Do I Tell If it is Made of Bone?"; Part Two: "The Making and Use of Bone Buttons" and Part 3: "Collecting Bone Buttons." They are all less than 10 minutes long each.
Just click on the graphics to view them. I'll be posting Part Three soon.
Part One: https://youtu.be/r-pQlYiEZuI Part Two: https://youtu.be/FbLLJ_sv08o
Part Three: https://youtu.be/uDoDyw8jNlM
For our November 20, 2017, meeting we will find and bring buttons that work in The Thanksgiving Story. (Thanks to Helen Acker for providing the story!)
Be creative when looking for appropriate buttons. It's all about having fun!
The story is below.
We had a lot of fun at our October meeting of the Hernando County Button Collectors Group! If you are interested in seeing Part One of my presentation on Bone buttons, use this link: youtu.be/r-pQlYiEZuI
Following my presentation on bone buttons, I gave each attendee a "dirty" bone button and a slice of lemon and a piece of soft t-shirt material with which to clean it.
I am pretty excited about my presentation on Bone Buttons for our Oct. 16, 2017 meeting. So much so, that I have created this little preview! Just click here to go to Youtube and the promo. youtu.be/La2tlVL_g6U
For October 16, 2017 meeting of Hernando County Button Collectors Group
Below is a list of categories from which you can choose your favorite "V through "Z" button(s) to bring for "Show 'N Tell." If there is not a website link with the description, you can try google-ing the term and add the word "images" to find photos of the type. Also look for Vegetables, violets, Women, Yellow, etc..
Van Wart, Sons & Co. Buttons: Made uniform buttons in the 1860s. Name can be found on their buttons.
Vegetable Ivory Buttons: Made from the nuts of the cores or tag palm. The vegetable ivory name was used to distinguish this nut “ivory” from tusk ivory. Nuts are about the size of a large egg and irregularly round. The nuts are kiln-dried for about 10 days and then the bark is removed by tumbling and hand cleaning. The best slices of the nut for buttons was closest to the bark. Buttons were dyed in vats and for multi-colored buttons, they were but on conveyor belts and dyed in succession. Vegetable Ivory buttons were decorated by embossing, stamping, crying, stenciling or with transfer designs. Large buttons are scarce and more valuable. www.buttoncountry.com/VI-1.html
Venetian Glass Buttons: These buttons somewhat resemble Venetian beads. A cane of glass is twisted over a glass button and generally, a wire shank is applied. Cone or dome-shaped tops. www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Paperweight-Buttons-Venetian-Art-Glass-Roses-Mica-Green-Pink-Blue-/282648478592?hash=item41cf298380
Vest Buttons: In the 19th century, men’s vest buttons were made smaller than buttons used in the 18th century. Sometimes set with jewels, but more commonly decorated with molded glass, printed pictures under glass, etc. Shanks on men's buttons were usually larger than buttons worn by women (called jewel shanks). www.buttoncountry.com/GlassInM1.html www.ebay.com/itm/3A-Lot-3-Stunning-Waistcoat-Buttons-Pearl-w-Turquoise-Weskit-Glass-in-Brass-/263213449416
Victorian Buttons: Denotes a variety of different types of buttons made between 1850 and 1900. Molded glass buttons with raised designs and a lot of gold. Because too many buttons were made in this period, the term is not very effective and it is not used as often anymore.
Victorian Jewels Buttons: Large jewel buttons with glass centers that were made mostly for coats. Most have wire shanks; very few with self-shanks. Identical smaller versions of these buttons were also made so it can get confusing.
Volute Shell Buttons: These are now called Pinna Shell Buttons. Pinkish-brown in color and finely incised with line designs on their flat polished surface, which has been filled with silver, old or white paint. Made in the 19th century. 1/2” to over 2”. Can be scarce. (See photos from Button Country (NBS site) at end of list.)
Wafer Buttons: Wafer-thin buttons were made with flat glass fronts, metal backs and loop shanks. Between the glass and metal was usually a design — paper cutouts, tinsel, silver paint. 1/2” to 1”.
Waistcoat (Weskit) Buttons: In the 18th Century, mens’ waistcoats (vests) were heavily embroidered, buttons, as well. Buttons used on the trouser were the same size as the vests’ ones, so it is hard to tell where they were sewn on. However, very few embroidered buttons were used on pants. Shanks on 18th century buttons were heavier than what was made in the 19th century.
Wanamaker, John W. Buttons: Wanamaker was a merchant and his employees wore uniforms on which five different styles of buttons were used over the years. The name Wanamaker is on the back.
Washington Inaugural Buttons: Buttons made special for delegates to wear to George Washington’s inaugurals. Highly coveted! Hand-stamped coat buttons were large (in the fashion of the day) and made of copper, brass or Sheffield silver plate. Small buttons also made of those materials. Twenty-two different patterns have been found, five which were small. www.georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com/
Watch Crystal Buttons: Buttons with a glass face as thin as a watch crystal. Usually convex with a reverse-painted circles or flowers (rare with birds). Backs were flat metal disks with loop shanks. On the inside of the back, a cream-colored cement holds small pieces of pearl shell, which enhanced the overall effect.
Watchcase Buttons: A two-piece gilt button shaped similarly to the hunting case of a watch. They have a flat top with a very low-relief design. Backs are a little larger than the fronts.
Waterbury Button Company Buttons: Began in 1812 when Aaron Benedict began making bone and ivory buttons in Connecticut. In 1944, the company took the Waterbury Companies.
Waterbury Manufacturing Company Buttons: This firm was organized in 1814. The buttons have high relief designs and are of fine quality of workmanship and material…also very rare.
Waterville Manufacturing Company Buttons: (Waterville is a section of Waterbury). Fine sporting buttons marked on the back with the company name.
Wedge Shank Buttons: The flat or wedge-shaped shanks were cast or handwrought with the body of the button and then a hole was drilled by hand. Found on bronze, brass and white alloy buttons made in the 18th century. www.buttoncountry.com/BackTypes2.html
Weinman, Frank X. Buttons: Glassblower who began making paperweight buttons in the 1940s. Most were flat, slightly domed or cone shaped. The buttons were advertised as Aventurine Glass Art and are very rare.
Wessel Buttons: 1950s and 60s.Harry Wessel made enameled stainless-steel buttons with designs that were enclosed by glass. Tiny objects, flowers or pictures were put inside often almost like 18th century habitat buttons.
Whistle Buttons: Started with small two-piece chinas with a hole on top and two on the bottom. Now includes one-piece buttons with a hole on top and two on the bottom. When the button is sewn on, the thread becomes recessed, therefore protecting it from daily wear. Whistle buttons can be found in a wide variety of materials. Small china whistles range from less than 1/4” to nearly 1”. 1creativeone.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/fridays-favorite-whistle-buttons/
William Eaves & Sons Buttons: Mostly found are one- and two-piece gilt sporting buttons with the name on the back.
Williston and Knight Company Buttons: Mrs. Samuel Williston started making buttons with bone and wooden molds by hand in 1826. The company grew and expanded until it ended in 1922. Machine made buttons have been found with Samuel Williston and S. Williston on the backs.
Wire Mesh Back Buttons: Commonly called Screen Back Buttons, they were patented in 1873. Hot glass used in making the buttons was squeezes into the holes of the mesh, which made the glass stronger. The mesh is still obvious. Mostly used for black glass button making.
Women’s Land Army of America Buttons: Worn on the uniforms of officers of the Women’s Land Army of America, 1918-19. In the center of the round bronze buttons was a raised shield design in the shape of a “V” for victory. It enclosed WLAA in a banner motif over a sheaf of grain resting on a sickle. Rare.
Wood Buttons: Almost every type of wood has been used to make buttons since at least the 18th century. As buttons age, it becomes harder and harder to determine what type of wood they were made from unless they are cut. 18th century wood buttons were plain and often featured pin-head shanks. in the 19th century were decorated more — inlaid with other woods or materials, carved, painted or trimmed. www.buttoncountry.com/Wood-1.html
Work-Clothes Buttons: Worn on jackets and coats called “jumpers,” which were made to wear over overalls. Sometimes called overall buttons. The button face is brass and the backs were usually made of iron, with black lacquer and a loose wire shank. Many have designs, names or slogans.
Zodiac Buttons: In the 20th century, zodiac symbols and signs have been very popular on buttons. www.buttons-boutique.com/sign-of-the-zodiac.html
For September 18, 2017 meeting of Hernando County Button Collectors Group
Below is a list of categories from which you can choose a favorite "T" or "U" button(s) to bring for "Show 'N Tell." If there is not a website link with the description, you can try google-ing the term and add the word "images" to find photos of the type. Also look for Teacups, Trees, Tigers, Tabbies, Underwear, etc. Look especially for "sew-through" buttons for our card activity.
Tagua Nut Buttons: More familiarly known as Vegetable Ivory buttons. The tag nut, which is about the size of a large egg, comes from the tag or cores palm. www.buttoncountry.com/VI-1.html
Tally-Ho Buttons: Refers most commonly to sporting buttons, more specifically, hunting.
Tapa Cloth Buttons: Buttons made from this soft bark of the paper mulberry tree or bread nut tree that grow on the South Sea Islands. Most sold at tourists shops. Shades of brown and size ranges from 1/2” to an inch.
Tapestry Buttons: The woven cloth found on buttons that are sometimes called “Tapestry” were made on Jacquard looms.
Teardrop Buttons: The teardrop refers to the small mound on the top of mostly molded “Reflector” glass buttons. The mound is also called a dewdrop. www.etsystudio.com/listing/265911088/chartreuse-fancy-dew-drop-czech-glass
Thread Back Buttons: Crisscross black, brown or white threads are wound over the cup-shaped back to create a shank. Then a stiff cardboard was inserted under threads to keep them tight. The button front was secured to the back with a roll or rim. Buttons types with thread backs include: tole, crystallized tin, stamped gilt, inlay, glass, metal pictures, beaded fabrics and lithographs. Made from 1820 to 1900. Threads are old now and are extremely fragile or gone.
Thread Center Buttons: Buttons with center design made of threads. Found mostly in glass and vegetable ivory buttons. www.etsystudio.com/listing/281392930/5-green-buttons-with-thread-center
Tin Buttons: Tin was used to cover the fronts and backs of buttons in the 19th century to help prevent rusting. Very thin coating often has worn off.
Tingue Buttons: Glass buttons (of all colors) with a small piece of gold or silver set into a cavity created for it on the top of the button. A faceted piece of clear glass that had been “flashed” with red, blue or green coloring, was placed overtop. The button bodies are usually faceted, too, and all have self-shanks. Ball, domed, octagon and square shapes. (Senator) Tingue Button Collection: 90,000 buttons made in the 1800s were given to Senator Tingue through a promotion in 1886. Now all reside in Connecticut State Museum.
Tinsel Trim Buttons: Shell, vegetable ivory, composition and glass buttons were drilled to make cylindrical holes that were then filled with adhesive and then powdered with fine tinsel, which sunk below the level of the button where it was somewhat protected. Many are now found without tinsel or tinsel that lost its shine.
Tintype Buttons: Button discs were covered with a ferrotype “print” and then rimmed. First made around 1860. Men wore the picture buttons of their mothers, wives or sweethearts. www.thebuttonmonger.com/tintype-post-mortem-1-1-2/
Toggle Buttons: Known as “Link Buttons” the shanks include an attached round link, which commonly was used to link buttons. Mostly worn on European mens’ coats and breeches beginning in the 1700’s.
Tole Buttons: Tole means “ sheet iron” in French, which now in button “talk” refers to buttons having metal disks that were first tinned and then decorated with lacquered designs and finished with a brass rim to hold the front and back together. Sometimes collectors call all metal buttons treated with lacquer, toles. Often found badly scratched.
Tombac Buttons: Tombac is a variety of brass from which mostly large, one-piece buttons were made. Some were hand-stamped and some were cast in domed or concave shapes. Others were decorated with gilt or brass designs. r.ebay.com/lMrO2c
Tortoiseshell Buttons: Shell that comes from hawksbill turtles. Tortoiseshell is harder and more brittle and less fibrous than ordinary horn. All these buttons were handmade through a laborious process involving scraping, layering numerous pieces and heated under pressure. Very few made in USA. Tortoise shell has also been used to decorate other buttons. www.etsy.com/listing/226437060/antique-buttons-made-of-tortoise-shell?show_sold_out_detail=1
Townsend, Irma Buttons: Ms. Townsend hand-shaped ceramic buttons with molded raised designs. They were sold by George E. Adams, consequently they are also called “Adams” buttons. Very few have her initials.
Transfer Buttons: Refers to adding a design to a button like adding a decal to an object. Porcelain and shell most commonly are seen with transfers. They can resemble fine painting, if done well.
Transportation Buttons: Buttons made for uniforms, including coats, vests and sleeves. Some stock patterns were used (brakeman’s, trainman’s, conductor’s, gripper’s, baggageman’s) that could be used by any company but most companies had their own designs. www.ebid.net/us/for-sale/british-railways-uniform-buttons-set-of-3-vintage-buttons-163251307.htm
Transportation Design Buttons: Modes of transportation depicted on buttons. Automobiles are most common. Age of vehicle does not necessarily relate to when button was made. Buttons of many different materials.
Trifles Buttons: Buttons that were made of a cheap grade of pewter.
Tunbridge Tunnery Buttons: Polychromatic woodwork used in 20th century to make buttons. Tunbridge is a small town in England. M.E. Brown, of California, was later able to duplicate the process to create inlay buttons similar to the early Tunbridges.
Turn-again Buttons: Describes a design that is the same when it is turned. (Like an ink blot bleed when a paper is folded.) The designs are scare and the term is seldom used.
Turner Buttons: Buttons designed with four reputations of the letter “F” — the sign of health in Germany — Frisch (fresh), Fromm (loyal), Froh (happy) and Frei (free). Made around 1911 for an athletic/gymnastics group. Some found on black glass.
Underglass Buttons: Metal buttons with glass centers and designs under the glass. Mostly made in late 19th or early 20th centuries. These cuplike buttons were usually made of brass and had self-shanks or wires. The transparent, clear or colored glass was sometimes domed or flat with built-up sides. The designs under the glass can be made of a variety of materials.
Uniform Buttons: The range of uniform buttons for collecting is extensive. It includes military, government, transportation, protection, societies, institutions and more.
United Confederate Veteran Buttons: These buttons have a Confederate flag in the center and the initials U C V with “1861-1865” at the bottom. get.google.com/albumarchive/117553755650519583461/album/AF1QipNo7la3oBXfO6J85ECPrwatGxlzQ-6SPnxitUZn
I finally got around to doing what I intended to do when I bought this chicken chalkboard. I thought it would make a great background for buttons...and it did! The entire chicken is about 11 inches tall with the stand. The chicken body is 8". The black background really shows off the button colors. Placing the buttons is like doing a puzzle. It can take some time finding the right size to fit and choosing the right colors to add to the design.
For August 21, 2017 meeting of Hernando County Button Collectors Group
Below is a list of categories from which you can choose a favorite "R" or "S" button(s) to bring for "Show 'N Tell.". If there is not a website link with the description, you can try google-ing the term and add the word "images" to find photos of the type. Also look for Roses, Red, Shirt, Steeples, Santa, Sheep, Suitcases, etc. Look especially for "sew-through" buttons for our card activity.
R. & W. Robinson & Company: Brass buttons show company’s name on back (Also R. Robinson & Co., Robertson, Jones & Co., R & W Robinson, R. & W. R. Co. 1812-1840s.
Radiants (Reflectors) Buttons: A clear glass button with colored glass fused to the back. www.cbweiser.com/buttons/3-50.3.htm -- look under "Old Glass Buttons"
Realistics Buttons: Mostly refer to buttons made since 1935 that have realistic shapes. Early ones in clay, glass, metal, plastic. Some also in bone, ivory, shell and wood. Oldest realistic were shaped like flowers or scarabs. Near the middle of the 20th century synthetic plastics were used to make realistic buttons, which very often were carded in sets—like a variety of vegetables, fruits, birds.
Rebus buttons: Painted designs on porcelain resemble (usually French) words or syllables accompanied by pictures of objects under glass. Made in last half of 18th century.
Reeds, Jacobs & Sons: Uniform button makers in the 1900s. Name appears on back of buttons. www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Peekskill-Military-Academy-Uniform-Cuff-Button-16mm-Jacob-Reeds-Sons-/152565845385
Repousse Buttons: Designs hammered or pressed on the reverse side. Not common.
Reverse Painting Buttons: Very early technique of decorating glass by painting one color at a time on the reverse side. Scoville Manufacturing Co. made drum-shaped ones. Very scarce. www.buttoncountry.com/18thCent2.html
Rhinestone Buttons: Imitation diamonds made of colorless glass or paste, with foil backs. bennosbuttons.com/Rhinestone-Buttons-and-Buckles
Ricolite Buttons: Ricolite, known as the “gemstone of the serpentine” because of its wide variety of colors and contrasting lines, were made by Noel Cunningham in Pinos Altos, New Mexico (1930-1945). 5/8” to 1”, round, oval square with self-shanks. Hard to find.
Rimmed Type Buttons: One-piece buttons with a metal rim attached (usually brass). Bone, copper and horn buttons have been found from early 18th century. More common metal ones made in 19th century—3/8”-3/4”—pewter with brass trims and then brass with brass rims.
Robinson, Jones & Company Buttons: Established in1831, they produced Navy, military, fancy and sporting brass buttons. The firm’s full name or R. J. & Co. is found on back of buttons.
Robinson Blackinton & Co. Buttons: Produced one-piece sporting buttons, which included the firm’s name on the back. Very few buttons of theirs have been found though.
Rochester Button Factory Buttons: Vegetable Ivory buttons were made at their Rochester, NY plant and casein buttons were made at their Akron, OH plant.
Rosarian Buttons: (Now more frequently called Pin-Shank Buttons): A term adopted from the word “Rosary” or glass buttons made with a hole through the center like a bead. The shanks of older buttons were usually made of heavy flattened brass wire, which was run through the hole and then fastened to a plain flattened disk on the top. Some tops were fancier…in the shapes of a star or flowers. Most have a loose metal ring around the shank.
Rubber Buttons: Manufacturing of rubber buttons started in the last half of the 19th century. Those recognized as rubber buttons have the name Goodyear on the back. Unmarked buttons that appear to be rubber are considered to be “composition.” Other markings on Goodyear buttons include the button manufacturer’s name, “Patt.” or “Patent.1851.” Also “1849-1851.” Designs are mostly concentric and geometric, but a few flower and animal designs were used. Mostly black but a few reddish browns were made. www.vintagebuttons.net/rubber.html
Ruskin Pottery Buttons: English pottery buttons made in early 1900’s. Featured a color, lead-free glaze over top and a clear glaze over whole button. Colors include blue, green, brown, purple and some mottled. “Ruskin” was stamped under the glaze.
Russells Buttons: Beginning in 1825, the Connecticut company made bone buttons and some ivory buttons.
Rutter, Winfield Buttons: A New Jersey glassblower (1890-1940s) made paperweight buttons in the 40s, especially for button collectors. During WWII, he made a few buttons with a “V” in the center on a white base, with red and blue added.
Safe-Eye Buttons: Buttons with shanks made out of cloth, leather or other materials that were placed between disks of metal and were available to be penetrated by a needle. Charles Goodyear patent, 1831.
Salt Decoration Buttons: Sometimes-used term (incorrectly, actually) for finely crushed glass decoration on glass buttons. Can be white or colored glass.
Sand Casting Buttons: Greek and Roman craftsmen used sand casting, making it one of the oldest methods of decorating metal. A sand casting was made in the design desired and then molten metal was poured into it. only buttons known to be made this way were by John Eutzy of PA in the 1950s.
Sandland, H. and Sandland & Hayes Buttons: Gilt buttons (1830-1850) with these names on them.
Satsuma Ware Buttons: A Japanese pottery or porcelain dating back to the 15th century featuring a light straw-colored glaze. Many buttons were made so they very in quality…20th century ones are generally low quality. The fine early ones (late 19th century) are highly prized. www.buttoncountry.com/Ceramics1.html -- scroll through for Satsuma
Sawtooth Buttons: A “Small China” button whose narrow border of fine lines resemble saw teeth. Most are white with 2, 3 or 4 holes. “Bias sawtooth” have slanted lines on border.
Schmidt, George Buttons: Schmidt made inlaid, jacknife-carved wood buttons for collectors in the 1960s.
Scissors Back Buttons: Refers to a ridge on the back of glass buttons caused by the closing of the mold. Feature a shank made of wire.
Scotch Piper’s Buttons: Diamond-shaped, gilt buttons worn on pipers’ jackets and vests. White metal finish.
Scovill Manufacturing Company: Waterbury, Conn. Began in 1802 and changed names frequently so backmarks can feature: L.H.& S, J.M.L. & W. H. as well. Became Scovills and Company in 1840 and Scovill Manufacturing Company in 1850. Buttons first made of brass and gilt and have since always made brass buttons, including many uniform buttons for this country and others. inkspotantiques.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=1
Scrimshaw Buttons: Buttons made from whales’ teeth and bone featuring finely carved designs.
Seeds Buttons: Difficult to find plastic buttons made in 1956-57 that featured corn, wheat, sunflower and rice seeds glued to center of cup-shaped buttons. A variety of button colors.
Self-shank Buttons: Button shanks that are molded as part of the button. Common to glass, composition, rubber and other moldable materials.
Sevres Porcelain Buttons: Porcelain buttons that were heavily painted and often gold-encrusted. Have crossed “L’s” on the back.
Sew-Thru Buttons: Buttons of any material that have holes to sew through to attach the button to a garment.
Shank-plate: Refers to a small metal disk to which a shank is applied.
Sheffield Silver Buttons: Buttons made from a plate of copper upon which silver was fused on both sides. 18th century buttons for men’s coats had silver only on one side, so copper was seen on back. Livery buttons were made, as well as uniform button.
Shell Buttons: Deep-sea and freshwater shells have been used to make buttons. Freshwater shell buttons are no as “brilliant” as ocean shells, so are not collected as much. Ocean shell buttons can be made of the following shell types: Abalone, Black Mother-of-Pearl, White Mother-of-Pearl. Shell buttons are decorated in many ways…most predominantly, by carved or cut designs. Almost all kinds of shanks have been used and two, three, four and five holes have been employed. www.buttoncountry.com/Shell1.html
Shields and Devices: Nearly all eagles on U.S. uniform buttons have shields on the eagle’s breast or side; on it is a letter or device. There are three designs: the Union Shield (double upper corners, maybe stars, bars lines or letters), the Spade (triangular, pointed bottom, horizontal lines upper and vertical lines on lower), the Eared Shield (like the Union Shield except upper corners extend to long points and often the top is a straight line).
Shipleys Buttons: Made of stone, mostly chalcedony. Middle 20th century.
Shoe Buttons: For leather and fabric topped shoes, Mostly dome-shaped. Black and white most popular. Other colors were often painted or made of colored glass. Unless the buttons are actually found on shoes it is hard to differentiate them from small dress buttons.
Silk Buttons: Have printed or painted designs on silk.
Silver Buttons: It’s almost impossible to find a silver button made before the middle of the 18th century. Solid silver was stamped with a design; decorated with paste gemstones or made of several layers of thin silver which was fused together. Among the designs found on silver buttons are horses, cows, flowers and biblical scenes. www.buttoncountry.com/18thCent2.html
Silver Point Design Buttons: Drawn similarly to pencil drawings, covered with glass. Late 18th century.
Skin Buttons: Most common is snakeskin (made since 1930), but alligator was used too.
Sleepers: Black glass buttons with painted concentric designs in deep greens, browns or white enamel dots. Some on rectangle or square glass buttons were decorated with classical figures.
Small Chinas Buttons: Most made in 1860s. Ranging from 3/8 to 3/4” in size and decorated with transfer designs, including calicoes, birdcages, bulls-eyes, hobnails, igloos, piecrust buttons, ringers, sawtooth buttons and whistles. Most often white, but other colors including black can be found.
Smith, G. and Smith H. Buttons: Pewter with the names on them
Souvenir Buttons: Commemorate people or events and sometimes advertise merchandise. Date back to 19th century.
Spatters Buttons: Small white china buttons decorated with paint spatters of one or more colors. (Included in calico grouping.)
Sporting Buttons: Designs feature hunting, boxing, fishing and cockfighting. Many were made in sets of from five to 18. Mostly made in the 19th century.
Staff Type Buttons: Uniform buttons with a domed front and back piece held together with a separate rim. Named after and worn by U.S. General Staff from 1832-1902.
Steel Buttons (Cups, Trims): Steel was used to make buttons a lot in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cut Steel Buttons: Steel disk trimmed with faceted steel pieces. Also Medallions fastened on front of steel disk and with a pinhead shank. In 19th century, steel disks were stamped or engraved with designs. Saucer-shaped steel discs into which trims were paced are called “steel cups.” Can be picked up with a magnet. www.buttoncountry.com/18thCent2.html
Steele & Johnson (S & J Manufacturing Co.): 1858-1920. Name frequently found on uniform buttons.
Stenciling: A stencil of paper or metal is placed over a button disk and paint was spread over it to leave the design after the stencil is lifted. On shell, metal, horn, glass and porcelain. www.pinterest.com/pin/391039180126203521/
Stevengraph Buttons: Buttons covered with silk ribbons (process invented by Thomas Stevens) with various colors woven into a design. 1880s.
Stone Settings Buttons: Both real gemstones and glass imitations are used. Throughout history and especially in the 1800s, stones were set in cuplike settings. Since mid-1900s, prong settings have also been used.
Stoneware Glass Buttons: Dome-shaped and sometimes molded to have a “cut” effect dull black glass buttons with pebbly back (looks somewhat like stoneware).
Story Buttons: Buttons featuring identifiable nursery rhymes, fables, poetry, drama, etc. Most frequently used on metal buttons. Those with unidentifiable stories are just called picture buttons.
Straw Buttons: Straw was woven across plastic buttons as decoration. Few were made.
Studio Buttons: Refers to 20th century buttons made in the home for collectors. Not usually worn on garments. www.buttoncountry.com/Studio1.html
Stud Buttons: Type of button with a longish post between two disks. Used to fasten cuffs, on men’s vests, ladies’ shirtwaists and in lapel. Not very popular with collectors.
Sulfide Buttons: When clay formula is fused with glass the “sulfide” inside has a silvery appearance. Used in paperweight buttons since the 1940’s.
Swirl Back Buttons: Common with glass buttons made in the 1900s, the swirls were accidentally made when a wire shank was inserted into glass while it was still soft. www.buttoncountry.com/BlackGlass1.html -- look for swirl back on page
Swirl Pattern Buttons: Contrasting colors of glass-canes were overlaid on top of clear glass buttons in a swirl pattern.
Syroco Buttons: Trade name for buttons made of a mixture containing 90% wood, upon which designs were compression-molded to look like carving. Difficult to distinguish from Burwood buttons.
For July 24, 2017 meeting of Hernando County Button Collectors Group
Below is a list of categories from which you can choose a favorite "P" or "Q" button(s) to bring for "Show 'N Tell.". If there is not a website link with the description, you can try google-ing the term and add the word "images" to find photos of the type. Also look for Pandas, Pears, Pickles, Pigs, People, etc. Look especially for "sew-through" buttons for our card activity.
Pad Shanks: A historic button style that actually predates wire eyes, in which a small piece of canvas serves as the shank. Sometimes called a pad back, this is the traditional bridal button. Canvas backs can be sewn very quickly in long rows. Also used when a very low shank is desired.
Pants Buttons: Made of bone, wood, metal, vegetable ivory and plastic to fasten suspenders to pants. Hundreds of varieties, many with clothier’s or manufacturer’s name on them.
Paperweight Buttons: Glass buttons that resemble desk paperweights with their design of high or shorter “caps” of clear glass that cover the design and nearly all the base. www.pinterest.com/pin/411235009698227652/?lp=true
Papier-Mache Buttons: Most found today were made near the middle of the 19th century. Literally meaning “chewed paper” — paper was boiled into a pulp or pressed into thin sheets, then mixed with adhesives. Some have inlayed pearl (Jennens & Bettridge of England), others are painted with natural colors and gold.
Paris Backs: Two-piece metal buttons with “Paris” on the back. At first only those with T.W.&W. were considered, but now all with “Paris” on the back count. picclick.com/Vintage-Brass-Wild-Boar-Hog-Pig-Picture-272625890898.html
Passementerie Buttons: Fabric buttons decorated with beads and fine braids (like dress trimming). Most found today were made in the 18th century, but they were also made in the 19th and 20th centuries. Made over wood or metal molds, commonly. www.vintagebuttons.net/fabric.html
Paste Buttons: Hard, bright glass, often called rhinestone, cut like diamonds are for reflection. But a layer of foil is placed on the back of paste buttons to reflect light. During the 18th century, the glass gems were set in “cup-like” depressions and then later, held with prongs.
Patent Button Company: Manufactured glove, metal overall and plastic buttons. Many made with patented fasteners for attaching the buttons to garments by machinery.
Peacock’s Eye Buttons: Foil decoration under glass that mimics blue-green “eye” design on peacock feather. Made around 1900 or later.
Pearl (Shell) Buttons: Many kinds of deep-sea and freshwater shells have been used to make buttons. Collectors however care about the design, not the type of shell the button is made from and freshwater shell buttons are seldom collected because the original brilliance is not as great as the deep-sea buttons. buttoncountry.com/Shell1.html
Pearlized Buttons: Glass or plastic buttons with an imitation pearl coating (possibly made from ground fish scales). One manufacturer: Leo Popper & Sons.
Peary Coat Buttons: Commemorate Admiral Peary’s expedition to the North Pole. Made of metal, on the cheap side. For kids’ coats. Scarce.
Petoskey Stone Buttons: Made from fossilized crinoids (from Greek krinoeides, “like a lily).
Pettibone Manufacturing Company: An Ohio firm, the name appears on the back of uniform buttons.
Pewabic Pottery Company: “Pewabic means: Clay having copper color.” Pewabic pottery buttons were molded of a combination of blue and gray clay and then covered with a copper glaze.
Pewter Buttons: Pewter was commonly used in late 18th and early 19th centuries for men’s and women's wear. Best pewter includes 90% tin. First pewter buttons made in molds that created self-shank. Lead was also used to make pewter buttons in the last half of the 19th century and were painted or decorated with other materials. buttoncountry.com/Metals1.html
Pick Back or Marks: Marks from the tool used to release a button from a mold. Processed horn buttons often, but not always, have pick marks. Other materials occasionally have them, too.
Picture Buttons: All buttons that have designs on them that are not concentric, geometric or conventional. Subjects are innumerable and have been made from the very beginning of button making.
PieCrust Buttons: Molded edge of fine lines on Small Chinas that resemble a pie crust but do not go all the way to the edge. May have 2, 3 or 4 holes. and decorated with colored rings or bands.
Pinhead Shank: A pinlike wire with a head goes down through a hole in the top of the button and then is bent back p into the body of the button to create a shank. buttoncountry.com/BackTypes1.html
Pinna Shell Buttons: Very scarce. Pinkish brown in color, with finely cut lines for designs carved onto the polished surface of the button. Designs filled in with silver, gold or white paint.
Plant-Life Designs: Real flowers, grasses, leaves, trees and weeds used to decorate buttons. Also pictures of them. When actual specimen is used they are referred to as “Habitat” buttons, especially 18th century ones with glass coverings. www.pinterest.com/pin/417216352960364615/
Plastic Buttons: Buttons made from a variety of synthetic chemical products. Celluloids, Bakelites and Lucites are among the early materials. www.buttoncountry.com/SynPoly1.html
Political Buttons: Politics influenced button designs for 200 years but beginning in 1900, most political buttons have pin-backs.
Pomeroy Manufacturing Company: Maker of paper buttons that are sealed with black japan lacquer and have the company’s name on back.
Porcelain Buttons: Made of white clay and decorated with transfer or painted designs and then heavily glazed. Very fashionable between 1850 and 1920. Since 1940, porcelain buttons have been created in small studios. buttoncountry.com/18thCent.html
Pottery Buttons: Coarser clay buttons are categorized as pottery buttons. Usually ore primitive in shape, texture and glaze. Usually coloring is in the clay and the glaze.
Precious Stone Buttons: Diamonds. rubies, emeralds and other precious stones were sometimes used to decorate buttons, but most of these can only be found in museums. Collectors find garnet and turquoise gems, as well as agates, and marble used for the body of the button.
Presidential Buttons: Made of a variety of materials and featuring a president, including cloth-covered buttons. Series of presidential buttons were often enclosed in cereal and tobacco packages. www.pinterest.com/pin/108719778478244679/
“Punch” Button Designs: Characters from the satirical magazine were used by button designers. Back mark: “Treble Stan’d Extra Rich.”
Pyrography Buttons: Decorating wood buttons with hot tools, including etching designs and scorching to change the look of the surface.
Quality Marks: A term used on the back of buttons to promote sales of the buttons, but the actual difference in the quality of a button is hard to discern. Examples: “Rich Gold,” “Superior Quality,” “Treble Gilt,” “Gilt,” and “Rich Orange.” Between 1800 and 1850.
Quartz Buttons: Bands of variegated colors in agate were featured when the hard material was sliced into disks for buttons. Often seen with pin shanks.
For June 19, 2017 meeting of Hernando County Button Collectors Group
Below is a list of categories from which you can choose a favorite "N" or "O" button(s) to bring for "Show 'N Tell.". If there is not a website link with the description, you can try google-ing the term and add the word "images" to find photos of the type. Also look for Nickels, Nature, Oranges, Oblongs, Orchids, Oats, Owls, etc..
Navy Buttons: Buttons made for uniforms of US Navy service people. www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/173001-us-military-uniform-buttons-interesting-facts/
Needlework Buttons: Buttons embellished with crochet-work or embroidery.
New Haven and Baltimore Button Company (N.H.&B. Co.): 1801-1831 Waterbury, Conn.
Newell Brothers Button Company: 1840’s-1900’s, manufactured shell, fabric and vegetable ivory buttons at separate times.
Nickel Silver: Alloy of copper, nickel and zinc. Sometimes called German silver. Not a generally popular material for buttons but the one button known for being made of nickel silver is a US Air Force button. Nickel silver reacts to acids.
Nicolene, Nicolite: Trade-name of a nickel-plated metal used to trim buttons, including small sequin-size circles added to shell, vegetable ivory, composition, glass and metal buttons. Also used as background for window, moon and water designs of pictorial buttons. Rusts easily so it is not always recognized in buttons.
Niello Work Buttons: A method of ornamentation that dates from the Middle Ages to fairly modern times. Design lines cut into silver disks were treated with a copper, silver, lead and sulfur mix and then sprinkled with borax. After cooling, surface was scraped and burnished to reveal the design lines. Fine quality niellos were brought to US in 1900’s, since then a cheaper grade of niello buttons have been made.
“Norwalk” Pottery Buttons: Highly-glazed, mottled pottery buttons made in two places in Conn.: Norwalk and Prospect. It is believed that Conn. pottery buttons were made of plastic clay — at first molded by hand, and then pressed into dies. www.keephomesteadmuseum.org/archive.htm#no
Novelty Button Company: Rubber button makers. Backmark: N.R.Co., along with Goodyear and the 1851. Metal shanks or holes.patent date. (Excellent resource for rubber buttons: www.vintagebuttons.net/rubberbuttonsbook.html
Nut Buttons: In first half of 20th century, almonds, Brazil nuts and filberts were used to make buttons by adding wire loops. Hazelnut and black walnuts were sliced and hole-punched.
Nylon Buttons: A translucent plastic substance. The only nylon buttons found have two holes and a colored circle for decoration. Very difficult to distinguish from other translucent buttons.
Oak Hall Clothing Company: Uniform Buttons from 1890’s-1900’s used by this company and featuring the company name occasionally on back.
Oblique Design: A particular button designed featuring the head of Henry Clay, which is only visible when it reflects light because the engraving is so fine that the surface appears to be perfectly flat. The process is no longer known. Made by Scovill & Company, considered to be among the very rarest of campaign buttons, as well as Golden Age buttons.
O’Hara Dial Company: Primarily made vitreous enamel dials for watches, clocks and phones, but also, some buttons in about 1895. Beautifully decorated with foil. Scarce.
Omega-Type Button: Shanks in the shape of the Greek letter “Omega.” Buttons with these shanks were among the first to be made with machinery in the early 1800’s. The eye of the Omega shank is slightly rounder than the Alpha shank and the ends bend over more to create a larger base for attaching to button. Almost all Omegas have trademarks on the backs, shanks are heavier and the bodies are thicker. Also found are Omega-Rimmed Type buttons that feature a crimped ring along the edge of the button, which creates a border. www.buttoncountry.com/BackTypes2.html
Opal Design: A very rare design found on Golden Age buttons and only on buttons made by the R. & W. Robinson firm in Atteboro, Mass. Produced by a microscopic grooving of the surface that breaks up the light as it is reflected. The colors reflected are iridescent — hence the tie-in with “Opal.”
Outline Designs: Glass buttons with a finely molded outlined barely scratched into the surface and commonly filled with gold, silver or white paint.
Overall Buttons: Buttons on jackets or coats called “jumpers’, which were made to be worn with overalls. Even thought these buttons are often called “overall buttons” they were never used on overalls, just the “jumpers.” Brass on the fronts, iron with black lacquer or tin on the back. Loose shank or holes. Many have designs, slogans or the garment maker’s names. 100s of different designs available for collecting.
Overlay Trim: Glass buttons with decorations created by fusing glass to the front of a button. Opaque glass often had an overlay of transparent glass and transparent glass was often trimmed with opaque glass that was banded, dotted, swirled, tipped or threaded.
Sylvia Liszka Durell, Author
Owner of HoleyButtons.com and a founding member of the Hernando County Button Collectors Group in Florida.