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In Pursuit of the China Button

On June 1, 2005 we visited the museum at the Bapterosses factory in Briare, France. The factory currently manufactures tiles, specializing in mosaic tiles. Beginning in the 1850's, however, it grew to become the world's largest manufacturer of china buttons and beads. Button production ended in 1962.

We came to see examples of early production china buttons, and to investigate the origin of buttons which had been coming to us out of France in recent years.

Our group consisted of Lorrayne Bailey, Janet White, Jody Behrbaum, Lindy Miller, Jane Quimby, Deborah Hanson, Monique and René Blaise, Deborah's mother Donna and her friend Diana Horntvedt.

All the photos here are courtesy of Deborah Hanson of Byson Buttons.

The first photo shows one of the two large display cases at the entry to the museum. They contained many buttons we recognized, and some familiar body types with amazing decorations.

A close-up of buttons in the case shows medium calico buttons and unusual marbled and lustered finishes on the third tire type variant- body style 5 shown on page 86 of our Guidelines for Collecting China Buttons.

We presumed these were gaiter type buttons, but the designs on them were certainly exceptional.

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