National Button Day

November 16th is National Button Day! Here are some fun facts about buttons. Reposted from:https://nationaltoday.com/national-button-day/

Once simply ornamental in nature, the button as a means to fasten clothes has been around since 13th century Germany. Since then, a wide variety of materials like wood, clay, shells, and plastic have been used to make buttons in every size, shape, and color. A button jar can morph into a great craft project, extra game tokens, or fashion embellishment. Sure, we have zippers and Velcro now, but buttons are just more fun, interesting, and whimsical. Buttons can even be works of art, so take time to appreciate those useful, pretty little things on National Button Day.

National Button Day – History

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​2014-A button that was once part of a Texas confederate navy uniform circa the Civil War sold for over $2,000.​

​Muscatine, Iowa became pearl button capital of the world

​1900-Noting the abundance of pearl mussels in nearby waters, a German immigrant opened a button-making factory in small town Iowa, which soon grew to be the largest manufacturer of pearl buttons in the world.

Button-down collars invented

1896-​Polo players were the first to button down their collars to stop them from getting in the way during a match; Brooks Brothers copied the look and created a lasting trend in 1896.​

​The church denounced buttons

​1300-Europe was so button crazy, the church started calling them the “devil’s snare.” This was probably because most women’s clothing of the time buttoned up the front.​

Button Makers Guild established

​1250-The French established the first collective that designed artisan buttons, making buttons a status symbol.

National Button Day Activities

  1. Upcycle with buttons-Have a shirt you don’t wear anymore? Change out the buttons and make it new again. Sew on some shiny metal buttons to give it an on-trend military look, or sew on kitschy novelty buttons to reflect your favorite hobby, animal, or even food. Be unique, original, and eco-friendly all at the same time.
  2. Go on a treasure hunt-Hit a thrift shop, rummage, or garage sale. Be on the lookout for old clothing with unique buttons. Collectors love finding ones depicting mini works of art, that were worn by famous people, or reflect a certain era. Research to see if any of your finds are worth more than what you paid.
  3. Start a button jar-Snip buttons from unused pieces of clothing, claim ones you find lying loose, buy novelty ones when it strikes your fancy, or pick ones up on the cheap when thrifting. Then, the next time you need a button, you’ll have a big variety of sizes, shapes and colors from which to choose.

​3 Facts To Really Push Your Buttons

  1. What side you button up on is gender-based​-Women’s clothing traditionally buttons on the right (reportedly because it was easier for maids to dress the ladies they served that way) and men’s on the left (they dressed themselves).
  2. Boutonnière means buttonhole in French​-Boutonnieres go through a little slit in the lapel of men’s jackets that looks the same as a buttonhole, so we repurposed the French word for buttonhole to describe the flower in English.
  3. ​Buttons on uniform sleeves were put there to stop soldiers from wiping their noses​-Widely repeated but never satisfactorily confirmed, it is said that Napoleon ordered brass buttons be placed on the sleeves of all military uniforms so soldiers would be discouraged from wiping their noses on them.

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Happy National Button Day!

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National Button Day is observed annually on November 16. Founded in 1938, the National Button Society recognized button collecting as an organized hobby. This is a celebration day for all button collectors, skilled and novice.

The appeal of buttons is clear. They come in every shape, color and style, from pearly white shirt buttons, to ornate Victorian affairs, to cute fastenings shaped like insects and animals. Any outfit can be updated by adding the right buttons, and sewing them on is one of the easiest types of needlework to learn. And they don’t just belong near buttonholes, either. Clusters of buttons can be used to decorate almost everything, and even on their own in jars they are delightful to handle, play with and admire. Some collect them, but most just lose them. Regardless, nearly everyone seems to love them, or at least regard them with fascination.

In case you may be thinking that buttons do not deserve their own holiday, try to imagine what life would be like without them. Sure, we have zippers and velcro, but could you imagine velcro down the front of your elegant blouse? Of course not!

wooden-font-b-button-b-font-font-b-art-b-font-diy-handmade-flower-butterfly-eagleButton, usually disk like piece of solid material having holes or a shank through which it is sewed to one side of an article of clothing and used to fasten or close the garment by passing through a loop or hole in the other side. Purely decorative, non-utilitarian buttons are also frequently used on clothing.

In medieval Europe, garments were laced together or fastened with brooches or clasps and points, until buttonholes were invented in the 13th century. Then buttons became so prominent that in some places sumptuary laws were passed putting limits on their use.

By the 14th century buttons were worn as ornaments and fastenings from the elbow to the wrist and from the neckline to the waist. The wearing of gold, silver, and ivory buttons was an indication of wealth and rank. Expensive buttons were also made of copper and its alloys. The metalsmith frequently embellished such buttons with insets of ivory, tortoiseshell, and jewels. More commonly, buttons were made of bone or wood. Button forms of these materials were also used as foundations for fabric-covered buttons. Thread buttons were made by wrapping the thread over a wire ring.

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In the 18th century luxury metals and ivory largely replaced fabric, although embroidered buttons in designs to complement particular garments were popular. Pewter, the familiar metal of the age, was used to make molded or stamped-out buttons, but these were scorned by the wealthy. Cast brass buttons, particularly calamine brass, with ornamental and distinguishing designs, also became popular on both military and civilian dress.

In the middle of the 18th century, Matthew Boulton, the English manufacturer and partner of James Watt, introduced the bright, costly, cut-steel button, which was made by attaching polished steel facets to a steel blank. In France the facets of the cut-steel button were elaborated by openwork designs. During the first quarter of the 19th century, a less costly stamped steel button was made in an openwork pattern. Brass buttons that were gilded by dipping in an amalgam of mercury and gold also became popular.

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The two-shell metal button was introduced about the same time as the stamped-steel type by B. Sanders, a Danish manufacturer in England. The two shells, thin metal disks enclosing a small piece of cloth or pasteboard, were crimped together on the edges. Sanders also originated the canvas shank. By 1830 fabric-covered buttons were being made mechanically. Also coming into use were animal horns and hoofs, which could be made malleable by heating and then could be cut, dyed, and molded.

Buttons were also made of ceramics and glass. Porcelain buttons became a French specialty; they were decorated by hand painting or by transfer printing designs using colored inks. Bohemia, in the present-day Czech Republic, produced most of the colored glass used in button manufacture.

In Japan, ceramic buttons, hand painted in traditional motifs, were developed. Buttons with an intricately carved thickness of vermilion lacquer on a wooden base became a Chinese specialty, and decorated and lacquered papier-mâché buttons became popular in Europe in the late 1800s.

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The use of the pearly shells of sea mollusks in button making increased with the mechanization of production. Shell was separated into its component layers by treatment with a nitric acid solution, and blanks were cut out by tubular saws. Holes were bored in the blanks for sewing, and an engraved decoration was mechanically applied. At first only seashell was used, but in the 1890’s the American manufacturer John F. Boepple began to use the less iridescent but abundant freshwater mussel shells found along the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

In the 20th century, buttons became primarily utilitarian, not decorative, and in many applications were supplanted by the zipper. Buttons began to be made of plastics such as cellulose, polystyrene, and polyvinyl resins; designs tended to be abstract or geometric. Mass-production machines produce molded buttons either by compressing powdered plastics or by injection—forcing liquid plastic into individual molds through small openings.

Some old buttons are considered valuable and are collected for their art and workmanship. The place, date, and name of the maker are usually marked on their backs.

Originally published by: ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

www.britannica.com/topic/button-clothing-accessory

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