Buttons and Brews on the Delaware

Buttons of all kinds attract me — new or old, fancy or plain. Each one has a story. For instance — slogans like Can’t Bust ’em, Bread Winner, and I Crow over all — do they sound like posters or flags? 

They adorn work clothes buttons, says Brad Upp, a button collector who speaks at the New Jersey State Button Society spring show on Saturday, May 12, at 1:30 p.m. The show goes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union Fire Company fire hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29) in Titusville. Door fee is $2, and coffee and lunch items will be available. 

Buttons are not the only activity on the Delaware River that day. On the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware is the second annual brewfest staged by the Friends of Washington Crossing Park, to be held rain or shine with live bands and food. Location: behind the Thompson Neely House. No one under 21 will be admitted. 

Button expert Upp says that the two-piece metal buttons (such as the one above) were made for men’s work clothes during the early part of the 20th Century. Makers displayed pride in their product with their slogans, which include Iron King, Strong as a Lion, Boss Mechanic, and Can’t Ripum. 

To get an idea about what the NJSBS show involves, see Sharon Schlegel’s Times of Trenton column from last year — but ignore the photo added to the online version, it’s of the pin-on political button. The buttons in this show are sew-on clothing buttons, such as the modern Czech glass (shown at left), or the antique enamel buttton, shown at right. Both are on the sale website of Annie Frazier of South Jersey. 

Frazier and more than a dozen other dealers will have sale tables for antique and modern buttons at the show. The show is held twice a year for New Jersey and tri-state button enthusiasts who enjoy the artwork and history of buttons, including their manufacture and design.Throughout the day there will be a variety of activities, including the judging of button trays entered into competition, and a button raffle. 

The show’s traditional location is the Union Fire Company, located at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville, opposite the Delaware River and D and R Canal State Park (within easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA. 

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