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.
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.