Friday, December 9, 2016

Ooey Gooey Rootbeer Fudge

I get a sugar high just looking at this decadent pileup of rootbeer Bakelite sandwiched between layers of rich, rich chocolate. From one side to another, the Bakelite on this button is shaved off at an upwards angle, leaving a strip of the chocolate on top and making the rootbeer portion more visible. It's an angular concoction that must've tempted the wearer (back in the 1930's) to eat the buttons right off his coat!

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mermaid's Pet

One bubbly oddball, coming up! This bulbous and slippery jewel is the kind of Bakelite button I really go for. The color is classic apple juicesopping up scads of light. The shape is an exotic globule, carved like a flowery snowflake at the bottom and topped with a blister-like head. I reckon there's a baby jellyfish housed in this button. It's a mermaid's pet, or more specifically...a frisky sea poodle.

-Sherbert McGee    

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Butterscotch Whirligig

Here's a Bakelite button in the color known as butterscotch, a rich and bright tone that recollects a golden sundae topping. Shape-wise, this button has the look of a propeller with its carved whirligig design. Lately, I've been mindful of the interesting shadows cast by the buttons I take pictures of (see yesterday's toggles). In today's case, I liked the shadow too much to crop it out of the photo.

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Toggle Tuesday: Spindly Buttons

Today is Toggle Tuesday and I've opted to post a couple of uniquely slender buttons in the colors chocolate and maroon. These toggles have narrowed midsections and tapered ends. The maroon one is extra fancy with a banded middle. Style-wise, both buttons possess an old French elegance, like gaunt fleur-de-lis. Having tested positive for Bakelite, these may go back to the early 1920's.

-Sherbert McGee 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cuckoo Velveeta

What in the world were they thinking when these cheesy wonders came into being? Color-wise, these buttons straddle the line between butterscotch and orange. But it's the oddness of the design that's baffling. The top sections really do look like slabs of Velveeta cheese at rest on messy beds of hyperactive indentations. The excess of overwrought circles gives these Bakelite buttons a look of hammered delirium. Made in the 1930's, these unusual buttons are what I call cheddar eccentrics. 

-Sherbert McGee

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Verdant Art Deco

I can't get enough of this vintage button in opulent olive Bakelite. With its Art Deco arrangement of leaves and boldly delineated presentation, this large button from the 1920's is a declaration of style. Color-wise, the oxidation of the Bakelite over time has the green edges bearing a rusty patina that gives this button a smattering of ginger highlights. It's a case of green-going-orange, which is one of my favorite Bakelite phenomena.

-Sherbert McGee  

Friday, December 2, 2016

Aluminum Bottomed Bakelite

Another great discovery by my friend Doreen, these three apple juice buttons (a mother and two daughters) have backsides coated in an aluminum substance. I flipped one of the buttons over to show the metallic underside and it does appear to be part of the button's true factory-made origin. From the top view, you can see that the apple juice Bakelite takes on a slightly darkened effect due to the aluminum coating underneath. In person, these buttons possess an almost greenish luster. For that reason, I've nicknamed these my green tea buttons. In all my experience as a collector I've never seen any other Bakelite buttons with backsides nestled in aluminum.
Visit Doreen's online store  

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cherry Asterisk

In her famously prosperous, antique-discovering escapades, my friend Doreen came across this button not very long ago and sold it to me through her shop of vintage finds.* Aside from its obvious red aspect, there's a hint of swirling in the Bakelite with a few strands of butterscotch that nearly escaped my eye upon first inspection. Shape-wise, this button is reminiscent of a cog, but I like to think of it as a big cherry asterisk.

*Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trefoiled in Tortoise

There are not enough "trefoil" shaped things in the world! I feel like this shape is slowly falling out of existence. Formerly a common motif in architectural designs, it also showed up in the immeasurable range of olden-day buttons. Here are three very large trefoil buttons from the 1930's, arrayed in faux tortoise Bakelite (aka rootbeer). Thought to be derived as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, the trefoil shape is a lesser-known outline than its famous cousin, the clover. I wish I had more trefoil buttons in my collection, but they are exceptionally rare. Maybe one day I'll go out and get myself a trefoil tattoo. Who will help me launch a trefoil resurgence?

-Sherbert McGee 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Strangely Monozygotic

When I saw this Bakelite button for sale at an antique shop earlier this year during my summer travels, something about it really drew me in. Prepossessing and pitch-black, this button has an almost mythical vibe with its curved cluster of etched lines moving around two identical orbs. I feel like there's a hidden, esoteric meaning in the dark design here. And would I be wrong to suggest that the design might be Egyptian? I see an ovum containing twinsa mysterious zygote sheltering two embryos separated by primitive chaos.

-Sherbert McGee