Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Who's Got the Button?

We left Grand Rapids to travel the short distance to Bowling Green, Ohio where Otsego Park is located.  The 2:00 p.m. tea - part of Wood County Historical Museum's 2015 Tea Series - was held in Thompson Stone Hall. 

Several years ago, before Sweet Shalom tea room opened in their beautiful Victorian Farm House, they held their monthly teas in Thompson Stone Hall, so I was familiar with the lovely facility.

Tea signage, both inside and outside, assured us we were in the right place.

Button displays upon entering the hall affirmed the program - "Who's Got the Button?"

I've got a button tin filled to the brim with buttons accumulated over 49 years of marriage.  I never throw a button away, but I've never thought of them as collectible items.  Did you know there are button clubs?  Lots of books have been written about buttons.

The Afternoon tea preceded the program, and the tables were beautifully set awaiting the guests.

~ Savories on the top tier ~

 ~ Desserts on the bottom ~

A miniature muffin was at each place setting in place of a scone.

It was a damp rainy day, so the hot tea was especially good.  I have several sets of the milk glass luncheon sets used at the tea, and had almost made up my mind to sell them.  But they looked so nice at the tea I might just hang onto them! ;-)

Jars of buttons decorated every table, because every button jar has an interesting story to tell!

Kelli Kling [R], in charge of Marketing, PR, and Events for the Wood County Museum introduced the guest speaker, Lori Parrott, of Trinkets and Treasures.

 Lori began her program with the cute poem below.

She began collecting buttons in 1995 as a hobby to do with her children.  Buttons have since become a part of her life, and she shared so many interesting things about them... 

  • Before the 1800's buttons were ornamental and not functional, because hooks and eyes were used.
  • The first mass produced buttons were made in the 1840's of china and glass.
  • In 1861 Prince Albert died and black mourning buttons were made popular by Queen Victoria.  Some were made of Whitby Jet [fossilized wood] and others were made of materials to resemble Whitby Jet.
  • In 1890's America developed a pearl button industry.
  • 19th Century buttons were very expensive, and were often reused.
Lori had button sample cards that she passed around to show the various types of buttons as she spoke about them.  Some vintage buttons are very pricey, and others not so much.

What materials were/are buttons made from?  Plastic [Lucite, Bakelite, Celluloid, etc.], wood, glass, china, gemstones, pewter, enamel, shell, bone, coins, and handmade buttons of fabric and thread.  There are also picture buttons [such as cameos], advertising buttons [such as Levi Strauss], uniform and military buttons, and boot and shoe buttons.

It was such an interesting and informative program, and I'll never think about buttons the same way again.

Have you ever attended a button program?  Do you collect buttons or belong to a button club?  If so, do tell!


  1. What an interesting program! I would not say that I collect buttons but probably due to my interest in sewing, I always have various buttons on hand. And a delicious tea, too - a very nice way to spend an afternoon!

  2. I'm not a collector as such, but I do have my mother's beautifully carved wood button box and my grandmothers button tin with a lovelysewing graphic on the lid as well as buttons from 5 generations of my family that were saved from their clothing.
    I hope to make a Victorian Charmstring with them. In the meantime, I use some on my jackets, sweaters, blouses but mostly they just make me smile and bring happy memories.

  3. My memories take me back to my youth and searching through my mother's button tin looking for a match for a shirt missing a button.


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