More Buttons, Buttons, Buttons

Most of Canada and North America are under a Shelter in Place mode which means we are concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ottawa Valley Button Club members thought it would be fun and educational to play with our buttons and this is what we have planned. Each day one member will volunteer to find a button in his/her collection and present it - with description. Members are asked to hunt for one of their own buttons to add to the thread. (Send your submission to [] At the end of the day, they will be added to our webpage.

Email Susie Smith with a date that you would like to volunteer.

April 30, 2020

Sue Dickout presents:

How about some enamels? Three in art nouveau style: iris, lily of the valley and carnations.

April 29, 2020

Diane Close presents:

Here are some of Jim's extruded celluloids.

and more of his celluloids

April 28, 2020

Sue Dickout presents:

I thought it was time for me to send you some mineral buttons.
The first picture shows a pietra dura slide, just under 1”. It is made of different marble and other hard stones inset into black slate.

The second picture shows a silver button set with garnets, a Paris back malachite and brass button, and a Nepali style silver button set with coral and turquoise.

Diane Close asks: Are these minerals?

April 27 2020

Joanne Irons Presents:

Sue Dickout gave us such pretty shell in metal that I thought I would send a few of my own pretty ones. The stunning abalone is a sporting target button, the sew-thru hard to find, fun to find rhinestone ome and the big flower has a nice repousse stamping of the petals while the one piece stamped metal has a Rococo style border and a gorgeous purple/green iridescence which is hard for the camera to capture. The other is just sweet with the inner scalloped border and steel centre.
Button On...

Susie Smith added: Here is one of my favourite Large Composition buttons with shell insert.

April 25, 2020

Sue Dickout presents;

Following up on Sue Dickout's Shell set in metal buttons ... What are you favourites?

Susie Smith added: Here are two shell buttons I found this winter with metal and paste trim. . NBS Lg & Med. Probably 1950s?

April 24, 2020

Marion Warburton presents:

Here's my Charm String, which was left to me by Jeanice MacLaren when she died in 1998. Jeanice's Mother collected it in the late 1800s before she married Doctor MacLaren. Jeanice remembered the button string being kept on a table in her Dad's waiting room to keep the kids busy. Not too surprising that some buttons were damaged.

There are lots of old glass buttons, small jewels, VI, horn, rubber, black glass, a few picture buttons, not many MoP, no enamels and no satsumas. A fairly local selection and not traditional in that there are duplicates. I guess Mrs. MacLaren didn't care about the rules.

Marion added: A gift such as this, that Jeanice made, brings to mind a subject worth thinking about - the ultimate disposition of our buttons.

April 23, 2020

Ariella Presents:

Period fabrics and period buttons.

Inexpensive buttons from the 1030s and 1940s are bound to want to marry inexpensive fabrics from the same period. Here is some matchmaking. Years ago I bought three orphan quilt blocks at a flea market. To put it bluntly, they were ugly and not particularly well sewn but.... the inexpensive fabrics intrigued me, as have buttons from the same period. Stuck at home, it seemed like the perfect time to sort through the buttons and take apart the quilt blocks and match them up. That’s exactly what I did.

April 22, 2020

Sue Farrah Presents... After doing what looks like a lot of research.

Shout out to our firefighters and a look back at their protective equipment

"The protective clothing worn by firefighters is called turnout gear. Firefighters originally wore uniforms consisting of thick wool pants and red shirts. Wool was chosen because it was able to shield the firemen against both heat and cold, plus it is mildly resistant to water and flames. They also wore rubber slickers over their wool uniforms.

After World War II, the National Fire Protection Association (USA) imposed equipment standards and mandated that firefighters have a uniform with several layers — one that was flame-resistant, another moisture-resistant and another that provided thermal insulation. As technology improved, so did the materials used for these layers. Canada also followed these regulations."

Be sure to view the Montreal Fire Department's YouTube... showing what it was like.

April 21, 2020

Evelyn Davies presents:

Here are 3 buckles all are Satsuma’s set in silver. Two are single piece buckles and one is a two piece buckle.

(Susie says... No wonder you get so excited at shows and auctions... Your finding these is amazing...)

April 20, 2020

Sue Dickout presents: Cold and sunny today. The neighborhood news is raccoon patrol. A raccoon had four kits in our neighbours’ shed last week, and now she seems to be hunting for a way into an attic. We’re on the lookout! Anyway, back to buttons. I’m recarding many of my steels, so that is ongoing — but I promised you variety. Here you go.

These three buttons are shell, engraved with floral motifs and gilded.

April 19, 2020

Sue Dickout presents: I was reminded of these buttons this week. The buttons we call kaleidoscopes were an early design (mid-1800s) of glass button. They are very attractive, with shaped glass caps over brightly coloured patterned metal foil, or glitter. This layer is glued to a metal plate with shank, covering the entire back of the button. Kaleidoscopes have the sad property of being likely to come apart between the glass and the metal, so although they are pretty they are not so well-loved.

The reason I thought of these this week was seeing a special one on a dealer’s ebay listings. This was the quite uncommon pin-shank kaleidoscope. Even more unusual, it was a pin-shank kaleidoscope with a backmark. I happen to have a pin-shank kaleidoscope, which my mother and I bought for fifty cents at an antique show. So today I got out my pin-shank kaleidoscope and had a look at the back, and sure enough I have a backmarked pin-shank kaleidoscope, too! (Try saying that three times fast!) It is hard to read, but above the shank it says Rd , and below the shank it says L & H. This is the same as the backmark on the ebay button, which is for sale for $200 US.

April 18, 2020

Carolyn Webb Presents: Carolyn has been asked to help identiy these buttons. She says she does not think they are military, but looks like them.

Carolyn then sent these:These are also on a card although very plain and again no backmark.
I do have three other buttons with the same front and three different back marks.
J.R. Gaunt & son L.T.D, Montreal Made in England
Star Tiger, Czechoslovakia
Ernest J. Scott & Co. Montreal

April 17, 2020

(Be sure to see our home page too as we have some new information about OVBC helping out.

Marion Warburton presents:

Sporting buttons: the dark one with the Whippet/Greyhound is one of my favourites, even tarnished, back mark is "Pigott & Co. Registered Dec. 1. 1847." Some of the next ones are from the first SB card I got at Bertha Grosjean's estate sale, early 1990s.
The metal running hare is followed by an orangey plastic one, part of a modern set. Then there's a target button.

The horse with groom button is followed by a similarly dressed groom and horse from an 18th century Stubbs painting of "Gimcrack" at Newmarket. Finally, a humorous one in French.

Joanne Irons added: Submitting my award winning Sporting card from 2019 National show.
I love these buttons and have been working with NBS classification to tighten up what a sporting button is/isn't. Anyone who is an NBS member, spoiler alert, I have an article on sporting buttons coming out in the May 2020 National Bulletin.

April 16, 2020

Susan Smith presents:

For years I have been finding buttons that "sort of look the same" These are Paterns and Make-ups. When I get seven of the same construction, I will put them on their own card. Do you have any we can trade?

April 15, 2020

Micheline Gravell presents:

Loic Allio is a French button collector who has written 2 books on buttons. The first book, Boutons was published in Paris in 2001, and provides us with beautiful imagery of buttons and the artists who created them for high end fashion companies in France during the 20th century. In his second book A Button Odyssey published in 2019, Allio attempts to demystify some of the artists who painted little works of art on buttons dating from the 1700s and 1800s. He also give a glimpse of what he considers represent countries through their buttons – for Canada, he has chosen wood button carved in St-Jean Port Joli in the province of Québec.

He photos of buttons made by André Bourgault are taken from the book “Button Odyssey” and go with the text that is also in the book.
Text from the Book:

This card comes from the Book.

While these two cards are from Micheline's collection (Lucky kid!)

To see more buttons see NBS Bulletin, July 2009

Susie Smith adds: Imagine my surprise when I recived Micheline's buttons from Saint-Jean Port-Joli QC! Why? Because I have a collection of carvings from Port-Joli artists. My father stated the collection during the depression. The artist was a friend of his (Matty Kansanoja, Maple Grove, QC) and over the years we have added to the collection. It is now at the island.

April 14, 2020

Sue Farrah presents:

This segment includes cuff buttons from Grand Trunk Railway as attachment below.

Opening in October 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway connected Toronto to Montreal with headquarters being in Montreal.
Grand Trunk Rail ran until 1919 when it was taken over by by the federal government and management was given to Canadian National Railway.
Much of the line of the GTR is still being used today by Canadian National and Via Rail between Ontario and Quebec.

April 13, 2020

Joann Irons presents:

Oh, this is such a telling button of our times. Keep Safe, keep healthy. Not even sure if there is still a Quarantine Department in Canada, perhaps the Canada Health took over the department.
I have the Victoria Crown Quarantine but it eludes me right now. It would probably date to the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Do others have health and medical buttons to share? Button On...

Marion Warburton added: A perfect button choice for the current situation. Here's one with the king's crown and the only other medical one I have, Pennsylvania Hospital.

April 12, 2020 - Easter Sunday

Diane Close sent a photograph of a quilt she did for her guilt guild. A perfect gift as she calles it "A Jar of Joy"

April 11, 2020

Joanne Irons presents: Oh what fun to use our most common buttons in creative ways. Laundry Day was created in 1997, and it is a simple watercolour with everyday clothing buttons.

Twinkle Twinkle was done in 1998 and while it looks easy pushing those wee little shoe buttons though left my fingers sore for a day or two but the effect was fun. Put in a music room, child's bedroom or in your button room.

Have fun with those common, craft buttons.
Button On, Joanne Irons

Susie Adds: In our house Saturday is the day Marceli does the laundry I fold and put away... (Half Hour for wash, One Hour for Dry... 3-5 business days to fold and put away.)

Evelyn Davies added:

April 10, 2020

Sue Dickout presents

Last week I re-carded all my radiants and made a spreadsheet cataloguing them all. I really love them but I don't think they are suitable for button of the day. The detail is too fine to show, and you can’t show how the radiating happens. Maybe a program once we can meet again. It made me happy though."

Susie Smith added: So OVBC we are in for a treat when we get together again in the future. WOW Sue they are impressive!

April 9, 2020

Sue Dickout presents:

This is a version of the Commedia del’Arte figure Scaramouche, usually depicted on buttons as a clown serenading a crescent moon. This one is two layers of pearl, pinned together with cut steel “buttons”. It has a lot of detail for a carved button that is only 5/8”.

Other versions of Scaramouche are a Paris back enamel, a sterling Art Nouveau version, and two different ones on steel.

Micheline Gravel added: Here is a photo of my “Scaramouche” button – it is metal attached to a blond horn disk. Measures 1 & ¼”.

I call him Pierrot – there is a French song which goes like this:

Au clair de la Lune
Mon ami Pierrot
Prête moi ta plume
Pour écrire un mot
Ma chandelle est morte
Je n’ai plus de feu
Ouvre moi la porte
Pour l’amour de dieu

April 8, 2020

Yesterday while sorting buttons I found a whole set of the same image. Not only was I amazed, but now I need to find the correct name for this button and I would love to know if there is a "real image" of this scene - one that the button manufacturers would have used as a model.

Susan Dickout added: BBB Plate 262 #7 Castle, BBB Plate 263 #8 Italian villa (I think it’s this one)

April 6, 2020

Evelyn Davies presents more: Here are more buckles. These have no prongs. They are some times called slides.

Susie Smith added: I have a display case for my specials... but they don;t look all that special after seeing Evelyn's beauties...

April 5, 2020

Sue Farrah presents: Great Western Railway (Ontario)1853-1882

Here is a piece of Canadiana that will be of interest to both collectors of buttons and railway aficionados.
Great Western Railway (Ontario) 1853-1882 . .

The first lomotion with a steam boiler designed by Richard Eaton (LAC)
The Great Western Railway. This early pioneering railway preceded the Grand Truck railway and CN rail. Truly innovative, it combined both land and river transportation incorporating ferries and steamships into its service.

April 4, 2020

Evelyn Davies presents Clasps.

Susie S says... Now I know why some of my very nice buttons have hooks and even chains on them... but I am always missing the other side!

April 3, 2020

Marion Warburton presents

I love bird buttons, so here's a card of my favourites. I have photographs some of them separately too.

Tomorrow we have Evelyn Davis and more buckles! What are you going to do today?

April 2, 2020

Sue Dickout presents:

I have recently carded my Egyptian theme buttons. They are mostly pharaohs, queens, pyramids and sphinxes. This one is my favourite, because it is so different. I love the shape, the subject matter, and the symbols all over it.

Susie S asks: Hey they look like they are paddling in different directions... That would me and my Marceli if we got in our canoe!

April 1, 2020

Susan Smith Presents

Following Evelyn Davies "real buckles" here are some of my Button Buckles (I love them and never let one go by!)

NOTE: Marion Warburton found a great website showing the Textile Museum collection. Marion thought button lovers might be interested. If you go to and enter "button" in the Search box, you get twelve pages of objects in the collection, that have buttons on them. Then you can click on the object and then get close-ups of the buttons as you hover over them. A lot of objects from Asia, but also some from Europe and Canada.