Tag Archives: buttons

Treasures in Your Button Box: next Monday

enamel man in hat $195 - CopyLarge 1 7/8 inch Battersea Pewter Racecar - face shank - FSBS 2004  $65coralene glass

Many of my friends know I collect buttons, and often they say “I have my mother’s buttons in a jar — would you look at them/” Now is your chance. Along with members of the New Jersey State Button Society, I will host a talk and hands-on demonstration, “Treasures in Your Button Box,” on Monday, January 19, 1 to 3 p.m., at Princeton United Methodist Church, Nassau Street at Vandeventer Avenue.

If you can attend, please tell me, so I can save you a seat! You may comment below or call 609-921-2774 or email duncanesque@yahoo.com. For parking information, go to http://www.PrincetonUMC.org. There will be a donation box.

You’ll see 19th century buttons made from china, shell and ivory, and also those made recently from modern materials — including rubber, plastic, celluloid, glass, and metal.  You will learn how to find and care for buttons that cost 25 cents, $25, or $250. If you bring your button box, the NJSBS collectors will tell you about them. And everyone will go home with new treasures.


Small Treasures and Where to Find Them


Have talk, will travel. Current fave topic:  the world’s smallest antique, buttons.

Carol Meszaros and I will  talk about button collecting at the Lawrence Library on Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m.  Everybody will have a “hands-on experience” and get to take some buttons home.

Another chance to learn about, and acquire button treasures, is at the New Jersey State Button Society show and sale to be held this Saturday, May 10, 9 to 4. It is at the Union Fire Company on River Road in Titusville, admission $2.

Carol, on2014 4 26 carol NancyBriggsMoss Alice Cruser the left in this picture, is looking through the button jars of Nancy Briggs Moser and Alice Cruser, who attended a talk we  gave at Kuser Farm Mansion last month.

For the Thursday talk, the headquarters branch of the Mercer County Library system is just off Business Route 1 on Darrah Lane. You can also get there from Princeton Pike.

If you have always wondered about your grandmother’s button jar, join us!

Small Treasures

barbara at MACQG

You may know of my passion for collectible buttons, and that I give talks about them for the New Jersey State Button Society about the beauty and history of buttons and how to start a collection of your own.

enamel fop

If you have your mother’s button jar, or if you are a quilter, or a sewer, and have more than a passing interest in the “world’s smallest antique,” you have three opportunities in the next month to learn more and perhaps pick up a few treasures.

 Saturday, April 26, at 1 p.m. at Kuser Farm Mansion, 390 Newkirk Avenue, Hamilton NJ 08610.  Carol Meszaros and I present a free talk and workshop, “World’s Smallest Antique: Each Button Has a Story.” This talk will feature buttons that could have been worn by Teresa Kuser.  RSVP to Kim Daly (Kdaly14@aol.com) or to me.

Thursday, May 8,
7 to 9 p.m. at Lawrence Library, we present “Small Treasures.’ Refreshments will be served, registration encouraged at 609-989-6920 or email lawprogs@mcl.org. The NJSBS has a display in the library through May.

button workshopThis photo taken at Hickory Corner Library shows how, after the talk, you get to choose and mount buttons, and take home a card of “small treasures.”

Saturday, May 10, 9 to 4 p.m., in Titusville, is the New Jersey State Button Society Spring Show. Here is where you get to ogle all kinds of buttons. Dealers set up tables and you can look for buttons for your sweater, or buttons about cats, or buttons to make into pins or use for crafts.

Do let me know if you expect to come to any of these button opportunities  or want to be on the list (or off the list!) for the future.


Buttons Help Quilts Tell Stories

Large 1 3/8 inch Bakelite carved Turtle $55 Left a turtle carved of Bakelite. These are online references for quilting talks

Every Button Has a Story: Buttons Help Quilts Tell Stories
Barbara Figge Fox and Jane Albanowski
New Jersey State Button Society
for Turtle Creek Quilters Quild
November 17, 2013

National Button Society: membership @$35 includes handbook and five journals per year.

New Jersey State Button Society:
Membership @$10 includes newsletters. Semiannual shows, open to the public, at the Union Fire Company building on Route 29 in Titusville on May 9, 2015 and September 12, 2015. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., program at 1:30 p.m. Admission $2.

Central Jersey Buttoniers, lunches on third Mondays, in member’s homes. Contact Sonia Force, 908-782-5716 or SOJON@comcast.net

Button Country
website with many useful links
How to mount buttons: http://www.buttonsintime.com/howto.htm
How to classify different materials.

Ways to identify different materials

Basics of Button Collecting: Pam Vasilow

Button Button: Identification and price guide, Peggy Osborne (print book)

Field Guide to Buttons and Antique Glass http://www.grandmothersbuttons.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/gran_fieldguide_web2011.pdf

Contacts for info about membership:
President: Sara Mulford, 205 Lafayette Drive, Logan Township, NJ 08085-1426
 slmulford@verizon.net; 856-275-6945
Northern, NJ: Gloria Chazin 908-889-8970
Ocean & Monmouth County:
Lil Buirkle 732-793-4555
Hunterdon & Mercer County:
Carol Meszaros 609-737-3555
DUES: Send $10 check made out to the New Jersey State Button Society c/o Ann Wilson, Treasurer, Box 92, Maplewood, NJ 07040

Charles Dickens on buttons:

“There is surely something charming in seeing the smallest things done so thoroughly, as if to remind the careless, that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. . . It is wonderful, is it not? that on that small pivot turns the fortune of such multitudes of men, women, and children, in so many parts of the world; that such industry, and so many fine faculties, should be brought out and exercised by so small a thing as the Button.” Household Matters . 1852

It’s Button Show Time!

enamel fop

Today, if you read this on Saturday, is the New Jersey State Button Show and Competition, where you will see some very gorgeous enamel buttons, like the 19th century French fop on the left. One of the competitions is for enamels.

Uniform buttons will be prominent too — there’s a talk on them at 1:30 p.m. Admission $2.

The show runs 9 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, at the Union Fire Company fire hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560. buttonlady@optonline.net or http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org

You don’t have to buy any of the pretty buttons, but you will be tempted to!

Every Button Has a Story: August 5, 7 pm

button pearl carved 18thc

Perhaps you kept your grandmother’s jar of buttons. Or you enjoy looking for special buttons to use on quilts or
jackets. Or maybe you just like history and looking at beautiful antiques. On Monday, August 5, at 7 p.m, I’ll be giving a talk, on behalf of the New Jersey State Button Society. Title: “The World’s Smallest Antique: Every Button Has a Story,” and you’ll get to see some gorgeous buttons. It is at the Hickory Corner Branch of the Mercer County Library System, 138 Hickory Corner Road, East Windsor, 08520.

Another chance to ogle these fascinating tiny antiques is at the New Jersey State Button Show at the Union Fire Company building on Route 29 in Titusville, September 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., program at 1:30 p.m. Admission $2. Lillian Buirkle, (732-691-1776), buttonlady@optonline.net

At my talk and at the show, you will see exquisitely beautiful buttons made in the 19th century from enamel, china, shell, and ivory. Equally fascinating are buttons manufactured from modern materials — including rubber, plastic, celluloid, glass, and metal.

You can start your collection with buttons that cost 25 cents — or $25. Maybe you will collect buttons
made of glass, or that show pictures of cats, or that were used on uniforms.

Whether you like to use your antique or vintage buttons on your clothes or display them in your home, join me to explore the fascinating world of buttons.

Registration for the library talk is required, but you can register at the last minute if space is available. Call 448-1330 or register online at http://www.mcl.org or email hcprogs@mcl.org . No reservations needed for the September 7 show.

Buttons: World’s Smallest Antiques

Buttons like these will be on display at the New Jersey State Button Show and Sale on Saturday, May 11, 9 to 4 p.m. at the Union Firehouse in Titusville. Here is the article in U.S. 1 Newspaper. It’s fun to see all the different kinds of buttons — and you might just find some you “have to have.”

One of the categories for this show is enamel buttons, as on the left. Below, a card of buttons that are are actually in the shape of what they depict: bird, rooster, crab, bear, elephant, flower, thimble, etc.

The NJSBS 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. “Our shows attract quilters, crafters, antique collectors, reenactors, and those seeking special buttons to wear,” says Lillian Buirkle, president of the 71-year-old organization.

The fire hall is at 1396 River Road (Route 29), at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville, opposite the Delaware River and D&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. Admission is $2 for adults at the door, free for juniors to age 17. Also that day is the New Jersey History fair across the road in the Washington Crossing State Park. 

Johnson Frazier, a button historian and dealer, will present a 1:30 p.m. program, “Banners on Buttons,” showcasing buttons that display ribbons and flags in their designs, some as early as the 18th century, along with a brief history about the buttons pictured. Throughout the day there will be a variety of activities, including the judging of button trays entered into competition, an educational display of buttons worn on gloves, and a button raffle.
The fall show will be Saturday, September 7, at the same location. Contact Lillian Buirkle, (732-691-1776), email: buttonlady@optonline.netor visit http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org/

Button-ing a Portrait

I’ve already encouraged everyone to attend the New Jersey State Button Show in Titusville on Saturday, and a new button project has come to light. Helene Plank has fashioned a self portrait of herself with buttons and beads, all of which were hand-sewed to the stretched artist canvass, all with donated items. No new buttons or beads!

The piece won the top awards at Lawrence Library’s annual “Trashed Art 2012” show, which required artwork be made of at least of 75% recycled items. It is still on view, through June 2, at the library, but now it is part of the Lawrence Arts Council show. The library is located on Darrah Lane, off Route 1 (2751 Route 1, Lawrence 08648.)

Perhaps I’ll see you on Saturday in Titusville?  

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. 

Button, Button — They’ve got ’em in Titusville

Brighten up a gloomy weekend by visiting a button show — yes, a button show. Bet you didn’t know that folks collect buttons like they collect stamps, postcards, coins, and matchbooks. But I venture that buttons are prettier than any of these. You can choose Victorian black glass buttons, or metal picture buttons (think Aesop’s fables), or uniform buttons, or china buttons, or plastic buttons, or celluloid buttons, or horn, or ivory, or …. any of dozens of categories.

Some cost a lot of money, some don’t, but all are fun to look at.

Today (Saturday, September 10, 9 to 4 p.m.) the New Jersey Button Society puts its best buttons forward in a show in Titusville (at the Union Firehouse, 1396 River Road, at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue, Titusville 08560). Admission $2.

What will you see? At 1:30 a glassblowing demonstration is scheduled, subject to the weather of course. The chief attraction however is cards and cards and cards of buttons. Dealers from all over the East Coast set up their tables and button-eers peruse their wares, looking for just the right button to add to their collection — or to enter in the next contest. (Image courtesy of the National Button Society.)

Winners of the contests will be on display at 1:30 p.m. Among the contests — Alternative Energy: buttons that picture windmills, water mills, and the sun. Who said that button collecting was old fashioned?

It’s a little tricky to get there, because Route 29 (River road) is flooded in parts, so take Exit 3 at Scotch Road, then turn left on 546, and right on Route 29. Pass It’s Nuts (it’s a restaurant) and a stand of trees and the Union Firehouse will be on your right.

Escape from 10th anniversary broadcasts and travel back in history, through the history of buttons. I’ll see you there!