Blog

December 23, 2015

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It’s that time of year again— wilting evergreens in the living room, overcooked ham, and having to share a trundle bed with your Aunt Millie— it’s the holidays!

If the holiday season sparks joy in your heart, than this survival guide may not be for you. If you love your family, but don’t love the annual inquisition about your life and which direction it’s heading, then we suggest these wearable and passive responses to satisfy their curiosity on these varying topics.

Topic #1: Politics

With the election season soon approaching, don’t be surprised if your dinner conversation switches from favorite brussels sprout recipes into the potential presidential candidates. By showing off your political pins, you’ve already answered your family’s impending question about where you stand.

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Topic #2: Your Love Life

So it maybe it’s been a while since you’ve brought any special someones around for the holidays. Your loved ones don’t quite understand that you like being single and you’re on a road to self-discovery at the moment. These buttons are a way to pronounce, “I’m perfectly content on my own, so please stop asking if I have a “Tinder” profile.”

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Topic #3: Your Career

You decided to leave your job last month because you just didn’t find it fulfilling and worthwhile. You’re looking to expand your weekend passion of baking vegan cupcakes and make it your full time gig but your parents are concerned about your funds. You can assure them you have it all under control, but you also plan on taking the leftovers back to your apartment tonight.

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Topic #4: Your Extra Curricular Activities

For when your Dad shoots you a look for that second helping of the spiked eggnog. “It’s the holidays, Dad!”

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Topic #5: All the Topics

Just nod in agreement, the perfect answer to any question.
Is this the gift you wanted?
Will you call home more often?
Have you been eating your vitamins?

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Happy Holidays from the entire Busy Beaver crew! Say hi to mom for us!

 

July 20, 2015

Every good party needs a mascot, and for this year’s celebration of the button’s 119th birthday, we chose a face with gravitas to spare– 25th President William McKinley! The stern elder statesman adorns this year’s button’s birthday design, ready to get down at the button celebration.

Button's Birthday

But why McKinley, you may be asking?

The button was patented back in July 1896, less than six months before the presidential election between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. Both candidates took advantage of the new technology to help spread their message– not to mention their face– to voters, but with his win, McKinley became the very first president to use pin-back buttons.

McKinley vs. Bryan

In 1896, McKinley was sitting governor of Ohio. Bryan, a lawyer from Nebraska known as the “great commoner,” conducted a whistle-stop tour across the country, speaking to thousands throughout the campaign. The election came down to city versus country, with McKinley and his urban supporters ruling the day.

Button Museum co-curator Joel Carter mused that the McKinley/Bryan match-up was something of a reverse of the Kennedy/Nixon election– even judging by the buttons themselves, the more approachable-looking and famously well-spoken Bryan would probably have benefitted from the opportunity to debate the stuffy-looking McKinley on live television.

McKinley/Bryan Eclipse Buttons

After McKinley’s election in 1896, Bryan ran again in 1900 against the sitting president. Inspired by the solar eclipse that took place in spring 1900, popular button designs featured alternating candidates as the victorious moon eclipsing the losing candidate’s sun. These designs are among some of the most collectible today– the Bryan “Total Eclipse” design pictured above sold for over $13,000 in 2000.

Prior to the 1896 election, pin-back button-like objects had been used in political campaigns for decades. The Washington inaugural button pictured above was meant to be sewn onto a coat, mimicking the buttons Washington himself wore during the ceremony. The Lincoln button is essentially a tiny framed photograph and includes a simple lock mechanism on the back and is strikingly similar to the pin-back design patented just a few decades later. Though these pre-buttons were relatively precious items at the time, as mass production and printing capabilities increased throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, pin-back buttons became more and more common, said Button Museum co-curator Christen Carter.

McKinley Doorknob

Busy Beaver’s McKinley doorknob celebrates the first president to use buttons.

Today, of course, buttons are ubiquitous, and a must for any serious political campaign, and clearly campaigners of today are in good company with a rich history of political pin-backs from which to draw.

 

Historic button photo via Ted Hake, Hake’s and Scoop.

 

July 20, 2015

Every good party needs a mascot, and for this year’s celebration of the button’s 119th birthday, we chose a face with gravitas to spare– 25th President William McKinley! The stern elder statesman adorns this year’s button’s birthday design, ready to get down at the button celebration.

Button's Birthday

But why McKinley, you may be asking?

The button was patented back in July 1896, less than six months before the presidential election between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan. Both candidates took advantage of the new technology to help spread their message– not to mention their face– to voters, but with his win, McKinley became the very first president to use pin-back buttons.

McKinley vs. Bryan

In 1896, McKinley was sitting governor of Ohio. Bryan, a lawyer from Nebraska known as the “great commoner,” conducted a whistle-stop tour across the country, speaking to thousands throughout the campaign. The election came down to city versus country, with McKinley and his urban supporters ruling the day.

Button Museum co-curator Joel Carter mused that the McKinley/Bryan match-up was something of a reverse of the Kennedy/Nixon election– even judging by the buttons themselves, the more approachable-looking and famously well-spoken Bryan would probably have benefitted from the opportunity to debate the stuffy-looking McKinley on live television.

McKinley/Bryan Eclipse Buttons

After McKinley’s election in 1896, Bryan ran again in 1900 against the sitting president. Inspired by the solar eclipse that took place in spring 1900, popular button designs featured alternating candidates as the victorious moon eclipsing the losing candidate’s sun. These designs are among some of the most collectible today– the Bryan “Total Eclipse” design pictured above sold for over $13,000 in 2000.

Prior to the 1896 election, pin-back button-like objects had been used in political campaigns for decades. The Washington inaugural button pictured above was meant to be sewn onto a coat, mimicking the buttons Washington himself wore during the ceremony. The Lincoln button is essentially a tiny framed photograph and includes a simple lock mechanism on the back and is strikingly similar to the pin-back design patented just a few decades later. Though these pre-buttons were relatively precious items at the time, as mass production and printing capabilities increased throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, pin-back buttons became more and more common, said Button Museum co-curator Christen Carter.

McKinley Doorknob

Busy Beaver’s McKinley doorknob celebrates the first president to use buttons.

Today, of course, buttons are ubiquitous, and a must for any serious political campaign, and clearly campaigners of today are in good company with a rich history of political pin-backs from which to draw.

 

Historic button photo via Ted Hake, Hake’s and Scoop.

 

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