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Button Lover's Set

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Continued from product description on Home Crafts' Page One...

Historical Background: A button is described as an object that can be used to fasten clothing. A button either has holes to sew the button onto the garment or a loop or shank on the back of the button for this purpose. Buttons have been made from every possible material found on the earth including iron, bronze, silver, gold, brass, pewter, shell, mother of pearl, wood, bone, horn, antler, ivory, glass, stone, leather, ceramic, celluloid, and plastic. The word "button" comes from the French word "bouton," meaning "bud" or "knob."

The history of buttons begins in the Bronze Age. There was no usefulness attributed to buttons then because they were only used for decorative purposes and not for fastening articles of clothing. Buttons were found on the 10,000-year-old "iceman" discovered in the Italian Alps. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese and pre-Colombian Americans used buttons as decorative pieces.

The 13th century saw a change in the way buttons were used. In Western Europe, clothing styles were fitted and buttons were used to fasten clothing together. Buttons were an expensive item for most people and were being made of wood, horn, and metal. By the 14th century, buttons were more of a status symbol and men would flaunt their clothing with the best, largest, or most elaborate buttons. During the 16th century, nobility used buttons made of precious metal, usually gold or silver. Some buttons were even decorated with delicate paintings. The wealthy began to spend large sums of money on buttons to show off their finery. This caused some religious sects to ban the use of buttons. For the next 200 years, men's clothing featured more buttons than women's clothing.

In 1750, a German immigrant, Caspar Wistar, began making brass buttons in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Metal buttons imported from France were used on the uniforms of the Continental Army.

Mass production of buttons began in the 19th century. The button-making industry is associated with the "golden age of buttons" -- from 1830 to 1850. By 1860, women were the main users of the new "novelty" buttons. Queen Victoria began using jet buttons in 1861 while mourning the death of her husband, Prince Albert. Others followed suit and soon black glass was substituted for the jet, which was very expensive. If you want to know whether you have a jet or black glass button, put the button in water. Jet buttons float while glass buttons sink.

Fun Fact: In 1812, Aaron Benedict of Waterbury, Connecticut, bought up all the pots and pans he could find and used the metal to make buttons in his mill.

Fun Fact: Covered buttons are buttons that can be covered with fabric to match a particular piece of clothing, such as a shirt or dress.

Fun Fact: In 1840, rubber buttons were made, but these did not hold up well and were discontinued.

Fun Fact: Before brass was used for buttons in the 1920s, British buttons were made from pewter.

Fun Fact: Celluloid was developed to replace ivory.

Fun Fact: Velcro is considered to be like a button in the usefulness it provides. Velcro fasteners make it easy to put on and take off clothing used by hospital patients and those unable to dress themselves with clothing that have traditional buttons.

Fun Fact: Most uniform buttons are in a category all by themselves because they are stamped with the name of the establishment on the button, such as military, fire departments, police, hotels, airlines, railroads, schools, banks, as well as city and state organizations. Livery buttons even existed which bore a family's coat of arms or crest imprinted on them and were also used on the clothing of servants.

Fun Fact: Because buttons can be expensive, many people recycle the buttons from old clothes to use on newly made garments. A box of buttons can be found in most households. Rummaging through old buttons can be a lot of fun, as button collectors know. Button collecting has become a passion for many people and, in 1938, the National Button Society was formed.

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Button Lover's Set
Button Lover's Set
Item Number 4003

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