A Division of BlumenthalLansing Since 1877


Try your hand at these button questions and see how many you can answer then spring them on your friends!
1. Where did the word button come from?
2. Who once wore 13,600 buttons on his clothes?
3. Why did the Chinese wear five buttons on their coat fronts?
4. When and where were buttons used to indicate rank?
5. Where were buttons once used for money?
6. How many different kinds of buttons did the British Army in France use during World War I?
7. What were the first buttons in the United States made of?
8. How much did Louis XIV spend on buttons?
9. What does the expression “brass button” suggest?
10. When did the words “Vive La Liberte” appear on buttons?



1. From the French “bouton” meaning bud, protuberance, or any round object.
2. King Francis I of France wore that many golden buttons on a court costume!
3. As symbols of the five principals virtues recommended by Confucius – Humanity, Justice, Order, Prudence and Rectitude.
4. Certain Chinese officials in the days of the Empire wore buttons on their hats to show their rank. The men of highest rank wore ruby buttons. Then came, in order, buttons of coral, sapphire, lapis lazuli, crystal and others.
5. In America, buttons were used for trading with the Indians.
6. 367 different kinds. Buttons were considered so important to front line troops that any kind of a button could be requisitioned and delivered within eight hours. The British Army spent $500,000 per year just for the paste used to polish brass buttons.
7. Metal. In 1750 Caspar Wistar, a German immigrant began to manufacture brass buttons in Philadelphia.
8. Louis XIV is said to have spent $600,000 on jeweled buttons.
9. Authority and service.
10. French buttons with the words meaning “Long Live Liberty” were used during the French Revolution. Some French Revolution buttons were made of cloth with embroidered emblems.
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