Keep Your Shirt On

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Text on Button KEEP YOUR ON
Image Description

Illustration of a 19th century man's shirt with black text above and below on a white background

Back Paper / Back Info

JULY 17 1894
APRIL 14, 1896
JULY 21, 1896

Curl Text PAT. JULY 21, 1896.
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Additional Information

"Keep Your Shirt On" is a phrase often used to mean stay calm. The origin is unknown, but it was likely formed at the time when people would take off their good shirts to get ready for a fist fight where they might get dirty or bloodied.

Small pinback buttons were often included in cigarette packs in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. “Keep Your Shirt On” features a pen and ink drawing of a 19th century man’s dress shirt and was given as a complement or prize in High Admiral Cigarettes. High Admiral Cigarettes was a product of National Cigarette and Tobacco Company.

Noted on the back on the High Admiral Cigarette pinback button is backing paper by the Whitehead and Hoag Company from Newark, N.J.  Whitehead and Hoag, which held the patent for pinback buttons since 1896 was also a union company until 1919 when they broke with the union.


1896 high admiral cigarette advertising pinback button keep your shirt on hoag for sale. (n.d.).

Catalog ID AD1002