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PEWTER CLASPS AND BUTTONS
SHELL AND WOODEN BUTTONS
Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally between 85 and 99 percent tin. Use of pewter was common from the Middle Ages up until the various developments in glass-making during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments rather than fasteners have been discovered in the ancient Indus Valley during its Kot Dijy phase (circa 2800-2600 BC) and Bronze Age sites in China (circa 2000-1500 BC), and are attested in Ancient Rome.
Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothing appeared first in Germany in the 13th century. They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.
Types of buttons: - shank buttons have a small ring or a bar with a hole called the shank protruding from the back of the button, through which thread is sewn to attach the button. - Covered buttons are fabric-covered forms with a separate back piece that secures the fabric over the knob. - Flat or sew-through buttons have two or four holes punched through the button through which the thread is sewn to attach the button. Flat buttons may be attached by sewing machine rather than by hand, and may be used with heavy fabrics by working a thread shank to extend the height of the button above the fabric. - Worked or cloth buttons are created by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches (usually with linen thread) over a knob or ring called a form. Mandarin buttons are knobs made of intricately knotted strings. Mandarin buttons are a key element in Mandarin dress (Qi Pao in Chinese), where they are closed with loops. Pairs of mandarin buttons worn as cuff links are called silk knots.
Buttons may be manufactured from an extremely broad variety of materials, including natural materials such as antler, bone, horn, ivory, shell, vegetable ivory, and wood; or synthetics such as celluloid, glass, metal, and plastic. Hard plastic is by far the most common material for newly manufactured buttons; the other materials tend to occur only in premium apparel.
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