Dating colonial buttons

There are many interesting facts about US military uniform buttons.

Here are some of those - with examples, all buttons pictured are from my collection.

American Duchess has an awesome guide for this handy technique here.

Attching buttons that way makes sure they stay flat, flush and firm instead of flopping around.

All of us, myself included, have made mistakes in judgment with cleaning methods, but I'd like to share some of the methods and techniques that have worked best for me in the past 20 years of metal detecting. There are millions of these underground, and most folks don't give them a lot of thought. The backs of flat buttons frequently have either a maker's mark (company name) or a quality mark.

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It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old." Early buttons like these usually consisted of a decorative flat face that fit into a loop. Supporting yards of cloth at a single point required buttons of architectural heft, made of bone, horn, bronze or wood.

First practice on items of little or no value until you have perfected your technique and are confident that it can be safely employed to good effect on better finds.

Remember, too, that results may not be reversible; and for that and other reasons, many collectors and conservators may prefer that certain items remain uncleaned.

The episode singles these sounds out for analysis and deconstructs their origin, a classic approach that works beautifully.

You may find yourself looking toward your phone several times during the episode’s five-minute run, thinking you’ve received a text—a weird overlap of podcast and life that makes the episode’s point perfectly.