Pewter Button Information

Continental Line | French | British | Loyalist | Plain Domed & Plain Flat | Civilian

Pewter buttons are $.50 each in sizes up to .84" diameter, buttons from .85" to .99" are $.60 each, buttons 1" and larger are $.75 each. In quantities of 500 or more of any one button the price is $.10 less. 24kt Gold, Sterling Silver or Brass plated buttons are an additional $1.00 each. On each button website page is a PDF icon, use it to open and print a list of all buttons depicted on that page. Write the quantity desired next to the button size. The minimum order quantity of a particular button style/size is five buttons. Thus do not order "one of this, two of that one of this,..." and on and on. Such orders will not be filled. Don't forget to note if you want the button plated. Plating is done in when I have a batch of 50 items, please read the plated pdf for more information.

Sizes are stated in decimal inches, for example .75 is ¾". Pewter can be just about any white metal mixture with tin as its chief component. Often lead is used in the mix because it is inexpensive, but it makes the button heavy and stains the clothing. Our buttons are made of lead free, 98% tin pewter. To minimize glare, most photos were taken before the buttons were polished.

Reproduction buttons are exact replicas of the original design, nearly all made by taking a vinyl impression of the original and having a mold made from that impression. Consequently these buttons often show some wear. Whenever possible I have cleaned up the master button made from the impression so the reproductions look more like the original button did in the 1770's, rather than the day it was dug up. However, a few are in poor shape and can't be cleaned up.

Many of the buttons are pictured in Don Troiani's two books Insignia of Independence or Military Buttons of the American Revolution (the best books on the subject) or Marian Hurley's A Collector's Guide to French Military Buttons of the American Revolution. Another good reference book for military buttons is Calver & Bolton's History Written with Pick & Shovel, written in the early 1920's and long out of print. When using this book beware that many of the photographs were heavily touched up.

The buttons with the "New" designation are made from buttons probably created during the 1970's or with an unknown provenance. Often a photograph of an original button was used as a guide. Thus some of these new buttons are nearly indistinguishable from the original, many are pretty close, and a few are quite different from the original yet still used by the recreated unit.

Some Rank & File and Officers buttons shared the same design, these cases will be marked with an asterisk *. If the button is strictly an officers or serjeants design that is also noted. Otherwise all buttons are for Rank & File, ie. Privates, NCO's, and Musicians.

Plain Flat and Dome buttons have shanks of varying lengths. Most have a short shank with a shank hole, which you pass through the thread close to the back of the button. Some buttons, such as Plain Flat No. 10T and No. 22, have a longer shank which makes it easier to button multiple layers of cloth or use with a leather thong or cord. Unlike British Regimental buttons, nearly all plain buttons were cast with the shank integral to the body of the button. Several of the plain flat buttons have a fine wire type shank which does not hold up well under strenuous conditions. These buttons, No. 5, 24, and 8, are great if used for non-functional decorative purposes, but not strong enough for functional coat lapels, waistbands, breeches, etc... On the PDF order form for the Plain buttons are listed the gram weight of each type to give you an idea of how buttons of similiar size compare.

Continental Army buttons have shanks of varying lengths but most are close to the back of the button. Unlike the British, the Americans did not have a commonly accepted standard on shank length. French made buttons have a turret back, cast integral with the button body, with shank holes drilled at right angles. Most of our French buttons use the American version of a button shank.

British enlisted buttons were made by inserting an iron wire loop into a recess in the button mold. When the pewter was poured, the tips of the iron loop was encased in a short cone of pewter behind the button face. This was not a very strong loop, as many original British buttons are found without the loops and you can see how they worked their way free of the pewter. Our British buttons are cast with the shank integral to the body of the button.

Officer buttons of the American Revolution were usually made of thin copper foil, impressed with the design and plated in gold or silver, and crimped around a thin base of horn or bone. The base had four holes in which a short length of catgut was tied, with the knot between the base and copper face so it would be hidden. To hold the button to the coat, sewing thread passed through loops formed between the catgut and base. The weakness in these buttons is the crimping. The base can warp and then the copper face pops off. Our officer buttons are not this complex, but are made of solid pewter then plated in gold or silver.

Continental Line | French | British | Loyalist | Plain Domed & Plain Flat | Civilian


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