Buttons inscribed with the name of tailoring firms and department stores (as Robyn Caddy of Victorian Button Collector’s fame has noted) are often overlooked but really interesting. They are found commonly by metal detectors in old gold-rush areas and whilst of historical interest, are rarely valuable. Many are made of vegetable ivory (Tagua Nut), horn or metal. In the book ‘The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century’ edited by Alasdair Brooks it states that “Birmingham button makers stamped buttons for local tailors, outfitters, and department stores.” The article below explains that these buttons also came from Italy.
They each have a story to tell, a story of the many tailoring families, as well as tailoring departments within larger stores, that were an important part of our history. These stores supported not only city and town folk, but through their mail-ordering services, farming and remote communities.
Enjoy looking through the pages for tailors’, manufacturers’ and department stores’ buttons!