Saturday, June 20, 2009
Perhaps if you were a girl in the 1800s, you would collect small buttons on a piece of string, traded with friends or given to you as gifts. Maybe a trip to town with mother would produce a purchase of buttons for a new garment with one left over for your string.
Stories tell of hoping to string 999 buttons, with the 1000th one given by your prince charming. Sometimes other little trinkets or charms would be added to the buttonstring. Intact strings have been discovered through the years, but many have been divided up among families or split up for sale.
Five years ago, I decided to begin my own charmstring. Being a member of the National Button Society, (http://www.nationalbuttonsociety.org/Home.html) I had learned much about materials and ages of buttons. In keeping with the appropriate time frame, I collect only buttons before 1918, but of many types; glass, metals, pearl, china and more. In a concession to more modern methods, I have used fishing line as the string to insure they stay intact. It is currently over 13 feet long and has 876 buttons.
I keep a little list of all those who have gifted me with buttons but have also added many of my own. As for the 1000th one...............I already have my prince charming and he is a keeper.
When my granddaughter was born, I decided to begin a string for her, using one button for each week of her life. Each year is a different material of button and are mostly of buttons from the 1900s.