Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Riddle:

This object is usually round with holes and attaches to something using thread?
The Button.
This word is derived from the French bouton meaning anything round -such as a bud or knob.
All this button thinking started with a small book I recently discovered on the history of buttons. Now I am aware this isn't exactly a gripping topic but there really is a lot of history associated with them. Plus think of all the clever things people make using buttons. One of my favorite images of brass buttons comes from the story Peter Rabbit. Remember how Peter narrowly escapes out of Mr. McGregor's garden but leaves behind his blue jacket with a missing brass button in the gooseberry net?
For some, buttons remain a source of intrigue and fascination. They are objects to be pursued and hoarded and collected like gems or gold. Buttons have a long history dating back to prehistoric times. Though buttons were used for thousands of years, the buttonhole was not invented until sometime in the 13th century. It is thought that buttons may have been brought to Europe from the Middle East by knights returning as Crusaders. Buttons through the ages have been made from a variety of materials including wood, bone, brass, pewter, gold, plastic, silver, ivory, tortoiseshell and horns.

Some interesting trivia I came across as I looked delved more into the history of buttons
  • There does exist a National Button Society with more than 3,000 members on 4 continents with 39 of the 50 states representing state and local chapters. If you go online your search will let you know if there is a Button Chapter in your area. Membership is always open!
  • The National Button Convention will be held this summer in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Between 1840-1950 hotel bellboys and pages were commonly referred to as Buttons, no doubt for all their buttons on their uniforms.
  • There is an island in Hingham, MA called Button Island. This is the only island in the world named for a button.
  • Button is actually a proper name, though not very popular in America. But one of the most famous American to have the name was Button Gwinnet, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The first buttons made in the US were made of metal in 1750. These brass buttons were manufactured in PA.
  • The Chinese used to wear five buttons on their coat as symbols of the five principal virtues: Justice, Humanity, Order, Prudence, and Rectitude.
  • In World War I, the British Army used 367 different kinds of buttons on a variety of garments. Buttons were considered so important that the Army spent $500,000 per year just for the paste to polish the buttons.
  • According to fashion historians the reason men have buttons on the right side of shirt dates back to the 15th century. It is easier for for most people to dress themselves from right to left.
  • Women's clothing have buttons on the left because those who could afford expensive buttons in the 5 th century had dressing servants. These maids being mostly right handed had to fasten their mistresses' garments found task easier if buttons were on the left. Tailors complied and the convention has never been altered.
As a man is judged
by the company he keeps,
so a garment is judged by
the buttons you find on it.

Biographies are but the clothes
and buttons of the man-
the biography of the man himself
can not be written.
Mark Twain

Information sources Internet and The Button Book by Diana Epstein

Citrus Salad-serves 10 Note: this is a salad recipe previously posted with some revisions


  • ½ pink grapefruit –peeled and sectioned
  • 2-3 oranges peeled and sectioned (pat dry on paper towel)
  • ½ cucumber sliced into halves
  • 1 ½ cups walnuts
  • 1 large of spinach /mixed greens
  • ½ red onion-sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 cup toasted coconut-optional
  • ½ package Fresh Gourmet Wonton Strips (found in produce)

Directions: In a large bowl toss all ingredients

  • Toast coconut on a cookie sheet
  • To serve: toss salad mixture with prepared dressing just enough to moisten and sprinkle with coconut, nuts
  • Dressing:Old Dutch Sweet and Sour or Ken's Steak House Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

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