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Buttons - History of Modern Buttons


									                             Buttons have been with humanity since the
Bronze Age. At first it was purely ornamental. But then the buttonhole
was made. Buttons became a practical way to fasten clothes. This was
especially true for delicate fabrics and tight fitting clothes.Buttons
and buttonholes arrived in Europe in the 1200s, one of the many ideas and
inventions "freed" from Muslim control. It became a big hit. Kings and
lords sported clothes with more buttons than sense in the 14th century.
Buttons became a large industry and artisans made buttons from gold,
silver, diamonds and ceramics. Buttons had carvings or painted
ornamentations. Metal buttons found its way in uniforms. Buttons were
made primarily by France during this period, but by the 18th century,
Germany, England, and the United States became button-making
powers.During the 19th century, buttons were mass-produced. While mass-
production implies buttons only had one or two designs, this didn't
happen. It was the early days of capitalism and there were a lot of
button manufacturers. They each made different kinds of buttons. There
were loads of varieties available. Buttons made from thread struggled
against buttons made from bone or metal or ceramics. Buttons were sold in
boxes. They were then sewn on clothes. Each household kept a button box
to hold newly bought buttons as well as buttons from old discarded
garments. They were used to make new clothes or make repairs.Japan
introduced the Western world to buttons made from pearls in this same
period. This became such a popular fad in London that suits covered in
pearl buttons with a flamboyant feather hat were styled Pearly Kings and
Queens. Those who were pearlies are named the alternative royal family
and they go around raising money for charity.But the most popular button
of that time was the black glass button popularized by a mourning Queen
Victoria. The fin de siècle saw the rise in fashion of picture buttons
and novelty buttons. Unlike older buttons, the pictures were printed
instead of painted. Buttons came out in all sorts of shapes and many
started collecting them.When plastic buttons were introduced in the 20th
century, the popularity of buttons flagged. Buttons became seen as common
uniform and functional things. Most plastic buttons we see today seem
molded in only one style, which is used in every garment.Buttons still
retain their fashionability despite the rise of other ways to fasten
clothes, like zippers and Velcro. Buttons still have advantages compared
to newer fastening methods. It's certain that the humble button will be
used for the foreseeable future.

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