Tag Archives: New jersey State Button Society

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.


“While buttons may seem to most like a common adornment that graces our daily apparel, so many of them possess historical value, are crafted from exquisite materials, and have been a masterpiece created by some of the most talented artisans around.”

So wrote Michelle Daino, for the Home News Tribune and the Courier News, about the button show tomorrow (September 13)

The New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) will present the fall s annual show and competition on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union Fire Co., 1396 River Road (Route 29), in Titusville.

Paula Gentile, a representative from the Blumenthal Lansing Co., a button manufacturer that dates back to 1877, will give a talk on “Modern Button Design: From Concept to Finished Product.” A dozen dealers from four states will offer buttons suitable for quilters, crafters, re-enactors, and those seeking special buttons to wear. A button raffle and award presentations are also planned.

Here is the story as published in the two Gannett papers:

Thanks to Daino for a good story.

To Publicity Chairmen: Make it Easy

With Robert Bullington, president of the Kiwanis chapter

Today I had a delightful lunch with the Kiwanis Club of Trenton at Leonardo’s II. The program chairman asked me to offer tips that would help this nearly 90-year-old chapter publicize the Times-Kiwanis Camp Fund, founded in 1955 in partnership with the then Trenton Times.

My 10-minutes talk focused on war stories, PR successes and failures, everything from the New Jersey State Button Society show to a Congo mission trip by Princeton United Methodist Church on behalf of UFAR. Titled “Make it Easy: Ask ‘How High,'” the talk focused on how to encourage donors to give, editors to print press releases, and individuals to leverage their connections.

Does anyone else want these tips? Have talk, will travel.


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.

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!