Dating colonial buttons

American Duchess has an awesome guide for this handy technique here.Attching buttons that way makes sure they stay flat, flush and firm instead of flopping around.First practice on items of little or no value until you have perfected your technique and are confident that it can be safely employed to good effect on better finds.Remember, too, that results may not be reversible; and for that and other reasons, many collectors and conservators may prefer that certain items remain uncleaned.Books in my library on US Military buttons include: The design of US Navy Officer’s buttons prior to WWII, in use from 1852 until 1941, was an eagle facing left standing on a horizontal anchor.On May 14, 1941 the Navy ordered that the head of the eagle face its right side.My new favorite antique store, Maine Barn and Attic Antiques, has oodles of raw, dusty crusty buttons for 10¢ to each, depending on the bin you dig them out of.Usually I paw through the enormous 10¢ button bin, but this past weekend, I ventured over to the smaller more expensive bins (50¢ each. ) and was excited to find what I thoughts were 18th century buttons: They are very weighty!

His book, the first book listed below, is a must for US military button collectors, as well as various other references on buttons and backmarks.

"was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley [now Pakistan].

It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old." Early buttons like these usually consisted of a decorative flat face that fit into a loop. Supporting yards of cloth at a single point required buttons of architectural heft, made of bone, horn, bronze or wood.

(Reinforced buttonholes weren’t invented until the mid-13 Along with brooches, buckles, and straight pins, buttons were used in ancient Rome as decorative closures for flowing garments. Some designs took the functional pressure off buttons by knotting the fabric securely into position, then topping off the look with a purely ornamental button.

(Incidentally, as a button alternative, Mycenaeans of the Roman era invented the fibula, a surprisingly modern forerunner to our safety pin.