Question: In button collecting, is there a way to determine the manufacturer in an effort to date the buttons? --S.W.
Answer: Collectors say this is difficult. However, we're told that buttons that are a century or more old have what are known as backmarks, which can identify the manufacturer.
Apparently, buttons this old still are plentiful on the market and are very popular with collectors.
Collectors have generally categorized buttons by subject, material and age. And the National Button Society (Box 39, Eastwood, Ky. 40018) has selected the year 1918 as a kind of dividing line for classifying "old" versus "new" buttons.
What's more, given the millions of buttons produced, made of glass, metal, ceramic and other materials, the society also has sections and categories for old buttons, thus providing a systematic way of organizing collections.