If you are planning to be a collector yet you only got a small budget to start with, collecting buttons is something you might want to consider. Most households have a button box or bag where they keep discarded buttons. During thriftier times, garments would never be thrown out before removing the buttons first then keeping them for use in the future.
If you will care to look and check, you might find that there are still buttons that belonged to your grandmother or even your great-grandmother. This means that your collection of buttons doesn’t just cover three or four generations as they also give fascinating insight to the interesting history of fashion.
The very first buttons in Britain were developed in Dorset’s Shaftesbury area around 1620. These were made out of the horn of ram then covered with fabric. These buttons were also embroidered with undyed cotton thread or linen. The buttons were then stitched on cards and exported to America and Europe between late 18th century and mid-19th century. This was a rather lucrative business back then. During the 1851 Great Exhibition, John Ashton showcased a machine that can produce fabric-covered buttons for a cheaper price and this more or less marked the end of the clamor for Dorset buttons.
Cities such as Wedgwood took up button making where they turned out small cameos of jasperware for the buttons. A change in fashion drove the higher demand for buttons. Until the end of 18th century, only men predominantly used buttons while women used laces and hooks for fastening their clothes.
When the Napoleonic wars came, women started using men’s fashion, with military style jackets deemed as highly fashionable. During the middle part of 19th century, buttons with their beautiful decorations became the norm on clothing for ladies and were also considered as nice gifts. For a 21st birthday, young ladies were often gifted with a leather case that contains a set of six silver buttons that are with fruits, flowers, leaves, birds or even geometric patterns.
Such buttons were not meant to be washed and toggles are used to attach them for easy removal. Once the garment wore out, its buttons would be detached and attached to the new coat or dress. The Victorians discovered all sorts of innovative ways to wear their buttons with some sewing them onto purses or bonnets.
If you have plans to engage with collecting buttons, you can now choose from an enormous range and settle for a specific area. All British railway companies produced their very own buttons, with varying designs varying based on rank. While the management used bass-made buttons, white buttons were used by lower ranks.
Button prices also vary. While you can get early Dorset buttons for a cheap price for half a dozen, the Wedgwood buttons or those buttons related to the French revolution will easily cost you a fortune. Buttons made by some firms are also very collectable.
The engraved custom blazer buttons are some of those buttons that definitely deserve a spot in your button collection.