A Small Fastener
Posted by The Inspiration Shots
iPhoneOgraphy – 14 Jun 2016 (Day 166/366)
In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, now most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of metal, wood or seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of folk art, studio craft, or even a miniature work of art.
Buttons are most often attached to articles of clothing but can also be used on containers such as wallets and bags. However, buttons may be sewn onto garments and similar items exclusively for purposes of ornamentation. Buttons serving as fasteners work by slipping through a fabric or thread loop, or by sliding through a buttonhole. Other types of fastenings include zippers, Velcro and magnets.
Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments or seals rather than fasteners have been discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization during its Kot Yaman phase (c. 2800-2600 BCE) as well as Bronze Age sites in China (c. 2000–1500 BCE), and Ancient Rome.
Buttons made from seashell were used in the Indus Valley Civilization for ornamental purposes by 2000 BCE. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them so that they could be attached to clothing with thread. Ian McNeil (1990) holds that: “The button, in fact, was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old.”
Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes 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.
Since at least the seventeenth century, when box-like metal buttons were constructed especially for the purpose, buttons have been one of the items in which drug smugglers have attempted to hide and transport illegal substances. At least one modern smuggler has tried to use this method.
Also making use of the storage possibilities of metal buttons, during the World Wars, British and U.S. Military locket buttons were made, containing miniature working compasses.