Button History

~19th Century

In addition to souvenir buttons, exotic materials such as ivory, jade, tortoise-shell and high quality pearl-shell were used for button making throughout the century. From Japan the Satsuma buttons were exported for foreign currency earnings.

During war periods, metals were no longer readily available for button manufacture, and alternative materials were sought. In the years of peace, the button makers searched for ways to imitate the more expensive and precious materials for their buttons. And thus began the era of the modern button production. Between 1850 and the 1930s, buttons made from South American tagua nuts called corozo or"vegetable ivories", were mass-produced in factories for use mainly in men's clothing. The tagua nuts' role in button making preceded that of plastic button.

During the last decade of the 1800s, the so-called "Gay 90s", the fashion for ladies included big heavy-coat buttons decorated with engraved metal frames and centred with large showy glass. These buttons were exported , especially from France and Germany,to the new industrialized and affluent country, America.

Button Photo

Vegital ibory

20th Century

  • [1]
  • [2]
  • [3]
  • [4]
  • [4]
  • [4]
  • [4]
  • [4]
  • [4]

Japanese