A Sample of U.S. Button Patents

The First 60 Years - 1830-1890

For the history buffs, the following index provides about 130 examples of early button and clothing fastener patents. In the forty-six years from 1790 to 1838, the Patent Office granted 11,348 patents. However, In the fire of 1836 everything was destroyed -- models, drawings, specifications and records, and the office had to commence practically anew. In the following years there was some attempt to recreate some of the patents destroyed by the fire but the effort was very limited in its success. Therefore, all the examples shown below are from the period of 1830 to 1890 and most claim improvements over previous inventions. A number of these patents were issued to women. Just for fun, click on the short patent description to see an image of the patent as recorded in the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO). Some text is difficult to read based on the USPTO scanning techniques and the condition of the original documents. Several of the examples are marked with ******* which will hold some special interest to some. A few of the annotated patents have notes added in blue or red to point out some additional information about the patent or highlight interesting features. One wonders how many buttons from these inventions never made it into a collection. For those with a mechanical bent, a sample of button manufacturing tools and machines are grouped at the bottom of the table.
Click on any of the patents below to see the Patent Office document for that patent in a new window or tab.
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1830 - 1859
1830  American wire eyed cast buttons
1831  Dead eyed wood buttons
1833  Dead eyed wood buttons
1839  Dies for stamping button blanks
1840  Early rivet button
1841  Improved manufacture of ceramic button
1843  Improvement in making paper buttons
1845  Improvement in making "Pantaloon-Buttons"
1848  Application of Gutta Percha
1849  Wood molds for fabric covered buttons
1849  Improvements in fabric covered buttons
1849  Preparing strawboard for buttons
1850  Helix wire shank buttons
1851  Dies for making ornamental buttons
1851  Silk covered buttons
1852  Manufacturing Glass-Centered buttons (Cheshire)
1853  Gutta-Percha and India Rubber buttons(Goodyear)
1854  Manufacture of wood buttons
1860 - 1869
1860  Threadless buttons
1861  Buttons for holding photographs
1861  Revolving flexible eye (padback)
1861  Improvement in suspender buttons
1862  Improvement in padback buttons
1863  Tunnel shank buttons
1863  Bar shank buttons
1864  Process for making glass buttons
1865  "Hansom/Tasty" button display cards
1865  Use of Mother of Pearl  *******
1865  Picture frame buttons
1865  Molds for making glass buttons
1866  Helical spiral wire shank buttons
1867  Improved fasteners for studs/buttons
1867  Improved manufacture of enameled wood
1868  Ornamental fabric buttons
1868  Securing shanks to glass buttons
1868  Chain button fastener
1869  Hard rubber and Jet buttons
1869  Design patent for "Good Templars"
1870 - 1879
1870  Attaching shanks to composition and pearl buttons
1872  Combined sleeve buttons and lockets
1872  Preparing wood for buttons
1873  Removable shank for buttons
1873  Improved molds for fancy fabric buttons
1873  One piece metal buttons
1873  Wire screen backs for glass buttons
1874  Attaching buttons to shoes and gaiters
1874  Using pins for button fasteners
1874  Inexpensive buttons made from wire
1875  Improvement to reduce wobble of wire shanks
1875  Manufacture of glass in metal buttons
1876  Process for making caseine
1876  Domed woven ropes design
1876  Printing with dye on vegetable ivory ******
1876  Improvements to strengthen padbacks
1877  Making glass buttons without a mold
1877  Metal loop shanks in cup design
1878  Improvement to reduce wear on fabric buttons
1879  Design for a separable and removable button
1879  Manufacture of cast metal shanks
1879  Using blood for mottled ornamental buttons
1880  Fastening buttons with wire loops
1880  Manufacturing Horn Buttons
1880  Plate and loop shank for glass buttons (12/28/80)
1880  Process for making leather or paper buttons
1880  Two piece Mother of Pearl buttons
1880  Uniting enamel and glass to metal
1880  Ornamental plastic cookie buttons
1880  Process for powdered horn buttons
1880  Bar shank for composition buttons
1880  Padbacks on composition buttons
1880  Buttons from hoof dust and blood
1880  Suspender button with crossbar
1880  Inlaying buttons with plastic materials
1880  Etching pearl buttons with Silver Nitrate
1881  Sew through buttons with plastic rivet design
1881  Soldering shanks for two piece buttons
1881  Button hole cutter
1881  Four-way thread groove design
1881  Gluing cloth to metal for fabric buttons
1881  Foil backs for buttons from pearl, horn, bone, etc.
1882  Using nails for shanks in molded buttons
1882  Gold leaf background in metal buttons
1882  Wood ball button with OME
1882  Metal backs on vegetable ivory buttons
1882  Ornamental rims on metal buttons
1883  OME on vegetable ivory buttons
1883  Rivet button
1883  Bar shank in glass button
1883  Canvas back on solid front buttons
1883  Mother of Pearl ornamentation
1883  Loop shank for glass with spiral wire plate
1883  Improvement for a frame button
1883  Attaching MOP to button body
1883  Oblong shoe button design
1884  Bar shanks in glass buttons
1884  Gluing two piece buttons
1885  Perfumer button *******
1885  Soldered omega shank
1885  Button hook holder on shoe
1885  Replaceable face button
1885  Special turned wire shank for glass buttons
1885  Link sleeve button
1886  Manufacture of leather buttons
1886  Replaceable face for Uniform/Civilian use
1886  Multiple face button
1886  Design under Glass button
1886  Leo Popper loop and plate shank design  *****
1887  Button cleaning shield
1888  Button with crochet and embroidered cover
1888  Covered ball button
1888  Buttons imitating other materials
1889  Political button with slide out plate *****
Patents for Button Manufacturing Tools
1842  Punch for making fabric buttons
1849  Machine for making wood button molds
1858  Machine for Bapterosses shanked buttons
1865  Machine for making glass buttons
1865  Molding shanks into glass buttons
1865  Hand mold for making glass and composition buttons
1866  Machine for molding buttons from plastic materials
1868  Machine for making button from horn
1870  Machine for grinding pearl blanks
1870  Machine for making shaped glass buttons
1870  Molds for glass buttons
1873  Bapterosses machine for ceramic buttons
1873  Glass press for metal shanked glass buttons
1874  Press for ornamenting ivory buttons
1879  Lathe for turning horn buttons
1880  Bapterosses machine for ceramic buttons
1884  Press for making horn buttons
1884  Pearl grinding machine

Additional Patent Related Information and Links

For the more adventurous, you can click on the links below to access the US Patent Office where you can find more information on a specific patent number or look for patents by classification. The effort is not trivial for the older patents. Most viewers will have to install an add-on to your browser to see the image format (tif) as discussed at the US Patent Office site. A simpler solution is to use the Google advanced patent search engine which also has a link below.
The United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO)
Google Advanced Patents Search