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What is this?

Sorting through boxes in your attic may reveal some unusual treasures…Do you know what this is.
It was in common use in Victorian times and in the early part of the last century.

This is a simple button hook belonging to my Grandmother who was born in 1883 so probably dates to the 1890’s. Buttonhooks like this were used daily to fasten boots, gloves and dresses with rows of small buttons. The hook was inserted through the buttonhole and then hooked around the shank of the button and with a little pull and twist of the wrist the button was pulled smoothly into place.
Buttonhooks varied in size from sturdy ones for doing up boots to small delicate ones used for the buttons on gloves. Sometimes they had a very long shank so that a lady encumbered by stiff whale boned corsets did not have to bend too far to do up her boots. There were also more portable versions which folded in half to go in a pocket or small purse.
Somehow I don’t think that these are going to return to use anytime soon…..who would have time to do up a dozen buttons on each boot whilst trying to get the children off to school but then they didn’t have Velcro !
If you are interested to find further information visit the buttonhooksociety.com as a starting point.

Penny Walsh

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