You’ve heard me mention royalty and buttons before. Buttons have been a favorite of royalty for generations. Legend has it that King Francis the First of France had a favorite suit that he wore with over 13,000 gold buttons during a special meeting with England’s Henry VII. And, get this – Louis XIV spent $600,000 on buttons in one year!
When new materials came on the market, new and different buttons appeared. Shellac was the very first “plastic” used for buttons. It was replaced pretty quickly by celluloid, but celluloid yellowed and cracked over time and was flammable. Bakelite was discovered while a chemist was looking for an alternative to celluloid to coat wires in electric motors and generators! Bakelite is considered the first true plastic, being made completely from synthetic materials. It was hard and durable, so a great choice for buttons!
(*Information gathered from ‘buttonware, Amy Barickman’.)