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November 21, 2014

Dangler buttons from the Button Museum

When you want to up your button game, there are a lot of options out there– from swanky packaging to a cool finish, even making buttons that smell appetizing to lure in customers. There’s also a long history of buttons that capture attention with the stuff hanging off of them– ribbons, charms and other items, creating a category we’ve dubbed “danglers.” When we were experimenting with danglers earlier this year for our 2014 Golden Button Awards, there were some amazing vintage designs that served as inspiration. From the Button Museum‘s extensive collection of dangler buttons, here are a few of our favorites.

Dangler buttons from the Button MuseumProbably the best known of all danglers are political buttons made in celebration of events like swearing in ceremonies and conventions. The Lyndon Johnson example pictured above was made to commemorate his January 1965 inauguration. The Hubert Humphrey dangler includes both a tri-color ribbon as well as a democratic donkey charm, but even this fun combination couldn’t salvage his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1968.

Dangler buttons from the Button Museum

Dangler buttons lend themselves to promotions, so we have a number of examples from marketing campaigns and souvenirs. The “Goodbye Forever” design was used to promote a refrigerator with automatic ice machines that freed consumers from the confines of the ice tray. Continuing the ice theme, the “Holiday on Ice” design isn’t the most elegant of danglers, but you have to appreciate the DIY spirit exhibited with attaching an ice skate keychain to the looped ribbon. Dating from the 1940’s, the Big Bill Lee button features a miniature felt Chicago Cubs pennant dangler.


Dangler buttons from the Button Museum

Some of the most creative danglers in our collection were used to commemorate special events. Pictured above, the firefighter convention button dates from the 1920’s and features a clever design with the fireman’s face on the button and a die-cut paper body dangler portion. Another paper cutout is featured in the hat on the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centenial button above, with a founding father’s face printed on fabric on the actual button and a printed ribbon. The large button in the center was for the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, organized in 1903, advocated for free rural mail delivery. The Ohio State Fair button features a playful boot charm dangler, though we wonder if that charm might be more fitting for a button commemorating the Texas State Fair?

September 18, 2014

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed Cox-Roosevelt jugate button is not in our collection (no surprise, really– it’s the most expensive button ever sold!), we’ve got plenty of other Roosevelt designs worth revisiting.

We have a soft spot for Teddy Roosevelt, given that he ran as vice president on the ticket with William McKinley, the very first president to use campaign buttons. The button was patented in July 1896, and McKinley was elected late that year. We call that an early adopter! Picture above, a McKinley-Roosevelt jugate campaign button from McKinley’s 1900 reelection campaign, for which Roosevelt was his new running mate after gaining fame with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt, only 42, became the youngest person to ever be president. The 1904 button pictured above on the right featured a rebus of his name– a rose plus “velt.” Not the most elegant design, sure, but still a memorable button.

Franklin Roosevelt buttons are more plentiful in the Button Museum’s collection, which is no surprise given that they’re all 30-40 years younger, and buttons were fully entrenched into political campaigns, and personal political speech, but the 1930’s and 40’s. Pictured above, the oversized 9″ FDR image was made by button-makers Parisian Novelty here in Chicago, but marketed as a wall plaque. Probably a good idea, since a button that big would certainly prove difficult to wear! And besides the fatherly portraits, anti-Roosevelt buttons are an entire category in themselves. Our collection features a range of designs protesting the idea of a FDR’s 1940 campaign for a third term and others complaining about his well-known Fireside Chats.


For her own part, Eleanor made it onto just a single button in our collection, though the design is really meant to be anti-FDR. We featured more background on this button in a post about First Lady pinbacks a while back. Created in 1940 by the Wendell Willkie campaign, what anti-Eleanor sentiment there was wasn’t enough to turn the tide against her husband’s four presidential wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more Roosevelt-era buttons, check out the Button Museum’s Roaring 20’s collection. . .
September 18, 2014

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed Cox-Roosevelt jugate button is not in our collection (no surprise, really– it’s the most expensive button ever sold!), we’ve got plenty of other Roosevelt designs worth revisiting.

We have a soft spot for Teddy Roosevelt, given that he ran as vice president on the ticket with William McKinley, the very first president to use campaign buttons. The button was patented in July 1896, and McKinley was elected late that year. We call that an early adopter! Picture above, a McKinley-Roosevelt jugate campaign button from McKinley’s 1900 reelection campaign, for which Roosevelt was his new running mate after gaining fame with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt, only 42, became the youngest person to ever be president. The 1904 button pictured above on the right featured a rebus of his name– a rose plus “velt.” Not the most elegant design, sure, but still a memorable button.

Franklin Roosevelt buttons are more plentiful in the Button Museum’s collection, which is no surprise given that they’re all 30-40 years younger, and buttons were fully entrenched into political campaigns, and personal political speech, but the 1930’s and 40’s. Pictured above, the oversized 9″ FDR image was made by button-makers Parisian Novelty here in Chicago, but marketed as a wall plaque. Probably a good idea, since a button that big would certainly prove difficult to wear! And besides the fatherly portraits, anti-Roosevelt buttons are an entire category in themselves. Our collection features a range of designs protesting the idea of a FDR’s 1940 campaign for a third term and others complaining about his well-known Fireside Chats.


For her own part, Eleanor made it onto just a single button in our collection, though the design is really meant to be anti-FDR. We featured more background on this button in a post about First Lady pinbacks a while back. Created in 1940 by the Wendell Willkie campaign, what anti-Eleanor sentiment there was wasn’t enough to turn the tide against her husband’s four presidential wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more Roosevelt-era buttons, check out the Button Museum’s Roaring 20’s collection. . .

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