Button Exhibit


Tullahoma Art Center- April 21


       One day only- Saturday, April 21, 10:00am – 4:00pm.

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To Be Seen

Historical buttons and related clothing fashion of the same period

Buttons possible as early as the late 1700’s to the present

Mid 1800’s wedding attire

Early Children’s clothing and buttons

Mourning clothing and buttonsBotton 3

Military uniforms

Antique buttons-made before WWI or 1918

Vintage Buttons- made after WWI or 1919 to 1980

Modern Buttons-made from 1980 to the present


Types of Buttons According to Use

Uniform; livery; bridle rosette; work or overall; pant, trouser or suspender; panty waist, rouge button

Button Designed for Famous People

Johnny Carson, Arnold Palmer, Kenny Rodgers

Studio Buttons are Made and signed on the back by artisan

Button 4

Old Mental Pictures Buttons May Have: scenes, people including famous people- Napoleon, Jenny Lind, the Czar of Russia, various buildings, flowers, plants, animals, birds, and objects.


Carton are often colorful. Realistic button of different material are shaped like the items they imitate.

Prior to the coming of buttons, clothing items were held together by thorns, sashes, button 6pins, buckles, strings or girdles. Buttons came into being about thirteenth century. At first, they were used only for decorative purposes. They were made of gold, silver and very fine jewels or pictures painted on them by talented artists. They were very expensive and worn only by the royalty or nobility who could afford them.

When buttons became to be used as clothing fasteners they also become a class distinguishment. Only the wealthy could strut around flaunting their gold, silver, and bejeweled buttons. While the poor folks had to be content wearing their buttons made of bone.

Various Materials Of Which Buttons Are Made: glass- black glass, clear and transparent glass, opaque glass; Ceramic, porcelain, China, clay, Jasperware, mother of pearl and shells; various metals, wood, vegetable ivory (a nut from a tree in the rain-forest that is very like wood); leather and coconut.

button 7Among the rate materials are ivory, pine needles, seeds, bimini glass from England, cinnabar, tortoiseshell. The rarest material to be found in this exhibit will be the eye of a pig which was in Tennessee.

Modern buttons are mostly made of plastic. Many are made of plastic to imitate other materials. Currently Colt buttons are very popular plastic buttons.