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The Oldest Button Ever Found Dates Back 5,000 Years

button day

National Button Day is observed annually on November 16. Founded in 1938, the National Button Society recognized button collecting as an organized hobby. Both novice and advanced button collectors celebrate the enjoyment collecting on this day.

Do you remember your grandmother or your mother snipping the buttons off shirts that were headed for the rag basket and then collecting them in jars? Maybe you even played games or strung them for ornaments and crafts.  The buttons were fun to stack into piles, sort by color or size, or scatter/slide across the floor or table making up different games each time.

Crafters across the country utilize buttons in creative ways and are some of the best at finding new uses for old items. There are thousands of button collectors in the United States.

  1. The oldest button ever found was in the Indus Valley Civilization which is now Pakistan. The button is made of a curved shell and dates back 5,000 years!
  2. In 2600-1500BCE buttons were used as ornamentation instead of as fasteners.
  3. Buttons with buttonholes used to keep clothing closed first appeared in 13th century Germany.
  4. Ornamental buttons dating back between 2600-1500 BCE have been found in the Indus Valley Civilization, Rome and China
  5. During the World Wars, the British and U.S. military used button lockets which were buttons constructed like lockets to store compasses.


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