Posted on November 16, 2014
Thousands of years ago, people were already making buttons out of seashells or bone. These ancient buttons had been carved into geometric shapes and had been pierced one or more times so that they could be sewn onto clothing with thread.
But these ancient buttons were used as decoration on clothing – not as fasteners.
The oldest button ever discovered is about 5,000 years old!
The earliest known buttons that worked as fasteners were found on clothing seen in tombs from the 800s.
Buttons are used as ornament and as fasteners, and they appear on many items of clothing, on accessories such as purses and shoes, and even on furniture or pillows. The National Button Society actually has members all over the world – thousands of people who enjoy collecting buttons. Many crafters integrate buttons in their fabric collages or other handicrafts.
|Vegetable ivory buttons|
These days, most buttons are made of plastic. But buttons have been made of almost every sort of materials, including shell, bone, plastic, metal, fabric, wood, glass, ceramics, and horn. I was surprised to see that some buttons are made from vegetable ivory – something that looks quite a bit like elephant ivory but that is made from the hard white endosperm of certain palm tree seeds. Take a peek at some of the variety at the Button Country Gallery.
|Frog button closures|
|Button made of horn and silver inlay|
Celebrate the day by starting a button collection (look in sewing kits and ask your grandma if she has a stash of buttons languishing in her house), sorting or counting buttons, making button art or doing button crafts, or repairing clothing by sewing on buttons.
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