Search This Blog

Saturday, 15 February 2014


'Buttony,' as Dorset button making was called, originated in Shaftesbury in the 17thC and was once an important cottage industry in East Dorset. There were several distinct styles; high tops, the dorset knob, bird's eyes and the cross wheel (above, from the Blandford Costume Museum). 
Its hard to believe that each button, a piece of miniature macrame, was hand-woven round a metal ring. 'Winders and dippers' formed the wire rings while 'stringers' wove the actual buttons. 
Button makers could each turn out a gross of a day and their products were exported across the world. They even had royal approval... Charles I went  to the block wearing a waistcoat embellished with Dorset Buttons.
The industry lasted until the 1850's when along came the button machine and out went the buttoners, many emigrating to the new world rather than face starvation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment