Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hurricanes on Potato Chips

No other Bakelite buttons in my collection have this level of incredible swirling. Look closely at these wafer-like weirdos and you will see storms a-brewing! I wonder if this is a case of brown Bakelite that was mixed with a lighter shade during the production process. Was a factory worker feeling experimental...or was he reckless? Did machines collide resulting in this amazing blend of vintage plastic? Whatever the case, these are some well-turned-out buttons and I suspect they are quite uncommon. Hooray for serendipity!

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Art Deco Tangerine

Starkly unadorned and definitive of the 1920's, this Art Deco paragon comes from a forgotten world of bold minimalism. Sometimes the "less is more" concept explodes with style and that's the case with this smart sunbather of a button. The Bakelite is a pastel orange, but verging on a tone of peach that I seldom see in Bakelite world. Maybe it would be accurate to call this a shade of vintage Creamsicle? At any rate, this is a large button with a smooth and witty confidence that hollers 1925. Even after all these years, this old baby is still up to the minute.

-Sherbert McGee  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chocolate Screwball

Another one of my Bakelite oddities, this button blends an Art Deco pattern with a little bit of outer space. I still can't decide if the upraised sphere in the middle of the button was attached separately in the manufactural process or if it's actually part of the bottom layer of the Bakelite. Either way, this is a heavily carved button with whirls and gashes galore. If I didn't know any better I'd think this was a Cadbury UFO. 

-Sherbert McGee 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Elephant's Teardrop

My friend, Doreen, wasn't kidding when she told me that she'd found a button with the weirdest shape. Like a geometrically sculpted blob of gum or a dollop of custard, it's one of the oddest formed buttons I've ever seen. Whipped and swirled, this pale globule emits a very soft Art Deco appearance. Photographing it was a frustrating operation. I took twenty or thirty inadequate pictures from every angle until I finally got the button to sit up by stabbing its shank into a piece of Silly Putty. This is creamed corn light-colored that it almost resembles a shard of ivory.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, December 25, 2015

Ornamental, 2-Tone

Here's a button that desperately wants to be a Christmas tree ornament. The red Bakelite is unusual in that it's marbled. The bottom layer of the Bakelite is the color known as split pea soup. It's an odd color-combo and I wonder what this button was a part of, costume-wise? At any rate, I'm a fanatic when it comes to 2-tone Bakelite and so starting next month I'm going to post a whole week of dual color fusions. Consider this the forerunner to a ritzy expo of 2-tone buttons, coming soon in January. Also, Merry Christmas!

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Abbreviated Nativity Scene

There were buttons more "Christmassy" and festive to choose from, but this one spoke to me this morning. An exemplary model of rootbeer (or tortoise) Bakelite with softly carved edges and topped with a wispy gold leaf escutcheon, this humble button feels like it emulates the TRUE meaning of Christmas, as opposed to the ubiquitous hullabaloo of rubber reindeer and a blowout sale at Macy's. So here it is, a reverent button to commemorate the real essence of the holidays. Peace on Earth.

-Sherbert McGee   

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


It's winter now and I'm in a wintry mood. Rummaging through my collection of buttons, I decided to take a picture of something dark, albeit joyfully dark. A button to honor wintertime. This carved-up spectacle in black strikes me as being owllike with it's massive Bakelite eyes occupying most of the button. It's a charmed nightbird, full of character and silent wishes for a snug winter season.  

-Sherbert McGee     

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Studios Twosome

Whenever I find an apple juice button, if the bottom of the Bakelite is etched or carved, it's always fascinating how the incised detail comes blazoning through to the top. In the case of these two buttons, the etched plaid pattern is almost magnified through the Bakelite so that it translates to the surface with a perfect resplendence. These are astute-looking buttons. I like to think they belong on a tenured, Ivy League faculty member, or as cuff links on the shirtsleeve of Eugene O'Neill. 

Next year, I will be posting images of more apple juice buttons, including a unique variety with painted features on their engravings, a style of button that is hard to find and very sought-after by today's Bakelite collectors. Painted Bakelite: Coming Soon in 2016!

-Sherbert McGee    

Monday, December 21, 2015

Butterscotch Waffle Pie

Anytime I see a Bakelite button with a lot of texture, I usually get pretty excited. Without question, that was the case with this attractive number in extra-bright butterscotch. When I saw that polished network of lines and those bumpy contours on the surface, I knew this was a top-notch button. The perfectly even grid desgin could almost be a street map of Manhattan. As a matter of fact, I think I see Park Avenue. Due to its heavily carved treatment, this lucky button could win a twinkle contest.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee  

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Onyx Eye

Let me just preface this by saying that I don't endorse witchcraft or the occult or any of the seven shadows. That said, this is a mystical button with a heart of pure darkness and vampiric vibrations. The outer layer is a Bakelite temple of apple juice with the edges pinched down to create an angular aberration. The inside of the button is a square, black beast that writhes and transfigures depending on how you tilt the button. Pure evil, obviously. I don't know where this button came from. It just showed up in my collection one day and I haven't taken the time to exorcise its fiendish leanings.

-Sherbert McGee   

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just Plum Perfect

Sometimes I find Bakelite buttons on their original cards from retailers and supply shops that date back to the 1930's. That's what happened in the case of these deep mulberry visions, hence these buttons were never used and they are in mint condition. Even so, I did end up tearing them off their card since the card's edges were so ripped and stained, you'd think these maroon ladies survived a Saks Fifth Avenue mudslide. It's worth mentioning that these buttons are extremely shiny. In fact, they're so mirror-like that I couldn't photograph them on my balcony without getting a reflection of myself in every shot. Finally, I had to bring them inside for picture-taking in reduced light. These aren't a complicated pair of buttons, but indoors or out, they're awfully hoity-toity.

-Sherbert McGee   

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Positively Bakelite: A Lesson in Simichrome

A few years ago I met a guy in New Jersey who'd just inherited his deceased grandmother's vast accumulation of antiques. When he told me that she'd owned quite a few buttons, I asked if any of them were Bakelite. He said that he didn't know, so I loaned him my tube of Simichrome* polish, which is what I use for testing all of my Bakelite. A few days later I heard back from him. "There's a big green button that tested positive," he said. We settled on a price and that's how I landed this flying saucer.

*Simichrome is a type of metal polish, which also just happens to work as a Bakelite testing agent. It's a cream that looks like pink toothpaste and is available to buy at most hardware stores. After applying Simichrome to a piece of plastic, if the color of the cream turns from pink to yellow, you know you've got some real-life Bakelite. Here's a Youtube clip that shows a lady using Simichrome polish to test a Bakelite bracelet. Click here: TESTING BAKELITE WITH SIMICHROME POLISH

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Buttery Double-Cut

Like a slab of soft yellow margarine melting in the sun, this button is the double-cut variety. Face-up, the button looks like a pig's nose. Turn it over and it consists of an entirely different design with a row of three plain slats. This cheery example of Bakelite has a cartoonish innocence to it. I imagine that the kid who ran around with this button on his overalls, was also wearing a propeller beanie.

-Sherbert McGee   

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Redder the Better

Like a piece of hard candy under a cellophane wrapper, this is one of those hard-as-stone buttons with the peerless shine of genuine cherry Bakelite. Modern plastics in red just don't come close to this level of saccharine luminosity. When it comes to juicy buttons, you have to hand it to the 1920's. This particular eyeful is a prime example of why red Bakelite is my all-time favorite.

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fabergé Rootbeer

What I love about this rootbeer button is the duality of the carved sides. To the right there is a crescent moon bearing eight horizontal slashes. To the left there is a mishmash of crisscross detail and an excess of rigorous whittling in the design. This button almost looks like a Swarovski glass production or something along the lines of a Fabergé invention. I look at this button and I see the garish adornment on a royal czar. Rootbeer Bakelite at its fanciest.

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eternity Symbol?

When I look at this button I see a ring of worlds going around and around for ever and ever like a token of perpetuity. Or is it a caterpillar that's merged, head-on, into its own caboose? Buttons like this are open to interpretation. Also, I tried to count the circles and got dizzy while having flashbacks of the year I failed geometry in high school. This is a Bakelite button in the color known as creamed corn. That is all for today. 

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Deep Leaf, I Love You

With the autumn season coming to an end, I was mulling over my brown buttons the other day and decided to take a picture of this leafy champion. Brown Bakelite comes in many tonal variations, my favorite being this class of rich, fluent chocolate. Put a leaf on it and I'm satisfied. I love leaf designs and this one is super grooved in a lustrous eruption of carved detail. No doubt about it, this is one lucky button.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Toggle Tuesday: Apple Juice Pillars of Light

Last night while I was photographing these apple juice toggles, the sun began to set and for a few otherworldly minutes these buttons filled up with an almost supernatural light and began to glow like surreal party favors. Is it a case of Bakelite gone paranormal? Adding to the hoodoo, they remind me of earthy drums with an African vibe. What's more, even when they aren't gleaming like eerie talismans these primitively carved toggles emit a strange magic. Clink them together and they sound like two insightful shamans.

-Sherbert McGee         

Monday, December 7, 2015

Smart Olives, by Golly!

I tilted these buttons just right in the sunlight so that their modish carvings are front-and-center. Quintessential Art Deco, these Bakelite babies are puttin' on the ritz! For me, they conjure up the debonair style of a snappy dresser on Park Avenue, circa 1929. Dressy and worldly-wise, they look like they think pretty highly of themselves.   

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Batch of Butterscotch Moons

Now and then I find a Bakelite button with the consistency of polished glass. These plump knockouts fit that description and radiate an Art Deco savvy with a marbled complexion and all the allure of honeyed gold. Size-wise, I can deposit my thumb in the carved-out hollows of these buttons and the fit is so uncanny...maybe these really are just glassy thumb rests? On the Bakelite color spectrum, these buttons are definitive butterscotch. Oozing with poise, they are savory to look at and smooth as topaz candy.

-Sherbert McGee     

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bakelite Masquerade

I don't know what to make of this button. For one thing, it's huge...measuring more than two inches across. And the shape! Is it a fiery bow-tie or a blazing mask or some sort of Iroquois sun symbol? It kind of resembles the face of a handsome bird with tufts of carved feathers poking out of the sides. I wonder if this was part of a 1930's kimono or a novelty costume worn by a scathingly chic socialite who lunched with Peggy Guggenheim? All I can say for sure is that this is a Bakelite button without the faintest scuff mark. Also, it's phenomenally orange.

-Sherbert McGee      

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Kind of Button

This button has it all: a pudgy demeanor in green with healthy curves and a merry shine. It also has a pillow-like shape to it and a real gung-ho energy. I probably sound like a loon, but this button just feels cheerful. I bet it was owned once by someone with a good sense of fun. Check out the deep tunneling effect of the buttonholes and the very thick patina, which I'd sooner cultivate than remove. The four corners of this button appear to have been scratched by a six-fingered cat! This is the kind of button I keep in my pocket when I'm having one of those not-so-great days. Bakelite at its most positive. What else can I say? This button agrees with me.

-Sherbert McGee    

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Jagged Little Frill

This barbed beauty is one of my spikiest buttons. Every angle is a razor-edged enigma and even the color suggests a gory blade or a blood-soaked kidney stone. An irregular specimen in dark maroon, this is Bakelite at its most saw-toothed and sharp-cornered. Give it a squeeze and it'll prick your thumb. I love this twisty rascal, but let's face it; this button probably fell off the Devil's tuxedo.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Double-Cut in Red

BAKELITE: A Short-Lived History 

The industrial use of Bakelite is a vanished art. Gone are the days of Bakelite clocks and radios and swanky cigarette holders. And buttons too. When Bakelite was discontinued, a lot of household items lost their "Jazz Age" aesthetic. As cheaper types of plastic (i.e. celluloid and lucite) replaced Bakelite in the 1940's, the Art Deco movement drew to a close and the importance of "style" waned in favor of "functionalism." What we have today is an endless torrent of dreary, affordable schlock. Walmart, anyone? 

Imagine working in a button factory in the 1920's or the 30's and the unique output of that time period. The tools and machinery that workers used are what produced this kind of "double-cut" button with a contrasting grid pattern on each side. It's Bakelite and it's hard to find. Needless to say: they don't make buttons like they used to. 

-Sherbert McGee    

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday Flower

Art Deco all the way, this button has that 1920's oomph that I love in an old piece of Bakelite. I polished it for this photo, but not too much since I like how the patina in the carved details plays up the leafy design. Bakelite can be very theatrical and this button feels like its own cabaret show. Not suprisingly, it comes from NYC. I found it in an antique shop down the street from Coney Island.

-Sherbert McGee 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Spinach Soup Cans

A dark, spinachy green, these Bakelite buttons are shaped like a couple of tin cans. Why so? I have no idea, but I like to imagine them on the sleeve of a tricked out dinner jacket. They are robust buttons with the stubbiness of old drawer knobs. One can only wonder what kind of outfit they accentuated. Were buttons like this a fad once, churned out by the J.C. Penney Company at the height of the Great Depression? And who wore these? I'm going to make a wild guess: hipsters.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rootbeer Cheers!

I saw this button five years ago at an antique shop called "Pippin Vintage Jewelry" in New York City (on 17th Street). At first I passed on this faux tortoise humdinger, but as I was leaving the store I decided to go back and look at it again. The color is rootbeer. The shape of it reminds me of a stylized bolt head. "It's Bakelite," said one of the shop employees. Something about those deep, industrial-looking grooves won me over and I snapped it up. Since then I've never seen another button like it. Thank you, New York.  

-Sherbert McGee   

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

100% Apple Juice

This thickset pair of apple juice sisters has that Bakelite "clink" that collectors listen for when determining genuine Bakelite. I don't know if I have the ear for verifying Bakelite on sound, but these are the real deal. What I love about apple juice Bakelite is the fishbowl-like feel it emulates. These buttons have the chunky vibe and the signature heft that makes them unmistakably authentic. Once upon a time, I'll bet these were part of a real swanky coat. This is apple juice Bakelite at its juiciest.

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fair and Square

The color on this one is known as creamed corn, the palest shade of Bakelite out there. Really, it's a faded variation of butterscotch that suggests ivory. Note the chiseled marks on the smoothness of the Bakelite where the squares were whittled down by factory tools. This bold button exudes all the buttery, vintage aplomb of definitive Bakelite. 1929: Be there or be square!

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Poppy on Chocolate

Some of the most sophisticated Bakelite buttons ever assembled were garnished with an escutcheon. I think that'll be the word of the day: Escutcheon. The definition is as follows:

Escutcheon (i'skuchun) 
"A flat piece of metal for ornamentation."

As a general rule, I prefer to collect Bakelite buttons without escutcheons since they often distract from the Bakelite. However, if the Bakelite is carved or artfully distinguished I will make an exception. This is one of those exceptions. The sloped sides of this button call attention to two rows of hoop-shaped indentations. Although the brass poppy escutcheon is definitely the central attraction, it's the carved Bakelite that I love the most. The color is chocolate, a toothsome hue that really does look like a Hershey confection.

Based on the Art Nouveau style of this escutcheon, I believe this button is nearly a century old. The vintage design of the poppy evokes the illustrations of John R. Neill who illustrated the original "Wizard of Oz" books between 1904 and 1920. The poppy is also a "remembrance symbol" that is used to honor soldiers who died during WWI between 1914 and 1918. The poppy was eloquently popularized as an emblem of the war's death toll in the John McCrae poem, "In Flanders Fields."  

I purchased this button in 2014 from an antique dealer in Royalton, Vermont.

-Sherbert McGee     

Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Little Buttons Having a Party

Averaging at half-an-inch across, these are among the smallest Bakelite buttons in my collection. I don't normally collect these eensy bits, but somehow I have quite a few of them. For tiny buttons, these have big visual-appeal. How would you describe the green one? It looks to me like a stylized bomb with aerodynamic fins. The funny yellow button with its fifteen prongs looks like it fell out of a Bakelite R2-D2. (I love spoke buttons and will be posting more at a later date.) Also, I think there's a Cole Porter musical happening in the apple juice doozy with shavings of confetti falling like snow in its insides. Anything Goes! Bakelite is too cool.

-Sherbert McGee       

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Drop RED Gorgeous!

What a tough button to photograph! This cherry pinwheel has the look of polished glass and loves the sunshine. I took a picture of it at noon, but the glare was too much. Four hours later I tried again and got this not-so-great shot. Bakelite is famously tricky to photograph, though it can be amazingly photogenic. This curvy beauty parades an Art Deco seashell outline that reminds me of a twirling flamenco dress. 

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Awesome Moss Blossom

Here's a button that dreams of becoming an artichoke. The color of this Bakelite is called moss, though some collectors call it split pea soup. It's a combination of green and brown with marbled veins of black. Some of my moss buttons have an almost amphibious vibe while others remind me of strange vegetables. This one sports a trefoil design with etchings on the leaves. I love how a hunk of old plastic can seem so organic. Some of my weirdest Bakelite buttons are of this moss variety. They are the goblins of my collection.

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fresh Squeezed OJ

Fluid swirls run through this button like a juicy cloud. This is what I call "Orange Juice" Bakelite, though I'm not ruling out other descriptive terms. Some would classify this as a butterscotch button with inner flourishes, or apple juice with an injection of orange streaks. Hold this button up to the light and it almost looks like there's a nebulous galaxy floating inside of it. Here on my blog, I will refer to this kind of Bakelite as Orange Juice. I don't know what I do to attract so many OJ buttons into my collection, but I have quite a few of them. This one is a contender for best Art Deco design.

-Sherbert McGee   

Friday, November 13, 2015

Carved Black with Millefiori On Top

Here's one of my showstoppers. The Millefiori (Italian glass) centerpiece on this button looks like a psychedelic cough drop. Normally I'm not a fan of Bakelite buttons with gaudy ornaments that detract from the Bakelite, but this button won me over. I especially like the carved grooves and dotted pattern on the Bakelite. Design-wise, somebody went to town on this thing. Even the patina (exaggerated in the sunlight) plays up the drama of this funky zinger. 

As a side note, the Millefiori jewel on this tour de force is true to the actual manufacture of the button and not a tacky add-on. I did my research.

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Navajo Sunburst

Every now and then I find a button that feels like it has something to say. This is one of those buttons. Notwithstanding a few dings and bruises, this button radiates wise vibes and hidden stories. The butterscotch tone of the Bakelite has darkened over the years to an almost adobe mustard and when I rub my thumb over the surface, I'm pretty sure there's some ancient juju emanating from the crisscross design and bow-carved details. Construction-wise, this button reminds me of the Native American Indian art I used to see everywhere when I lived in Arizona, or a road trip I went on once through Taos, New Mexico. Whatever its origins, this button is definitely in a Southwestern mood. Also, I don't mind that it's a tad battered. For me, that's part of the mystery.

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Maroon Bakelite

Today's Bakelite button is a striking emblem in maroon. It evokes bloodshed and patriotism, French valor and beheaded queens. Like a stylized splash of wine, this button is a salute to Pinot noir and King Louis XVI. Too bad this dark purplish shade of Bakelite has always been so difficult for me to find. It's the one color area where my collection wanes. C'est la vie...

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Toggle Tuesday

About once a month I'm going to devote a random Tuesday to toggle buttons. What is a toggle? Here's a suitable definition:

Toggle (ˈtägəl)
"A short rod of wood or plastic sewn into one side of a coat or other garment, pushed through a hole or loop on the other side and twisted so to act as a fastener."

In other words, toggles are oblong buttons or textile closures. I suspect that toggles were invented in China and were originally made of bamboo, but that's just a wild guess. I acquired these 4 Bakelite toggles through various antique shops and button dealers in hopes to form a colorful set. Eventually the quartet came together. The black one is a dead ringer for a piece of licorice.

-Sherbert McGee     

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Art Deco Horse Head: Legendary!

This fabled yellow mustang is one of the Holy Grails of Bakelite buttons. Once upon a time, my hunt for this button could not be tamed. I searched for it for years until this one found its way into the stable of my safekeeping. More than just a dandy sample of old-time plastic, I've seen this sought-after superstar in books on Art Deco. For me, it epitomizes the Bakelite world of the 1920's like nothing else. A butterscotch horse profile resting in an apple juice dish, it measures two inches across and oozes a rich, vintage panache. This button is extraordinary!

-Sherbert McGee        

Friday, November 6, 2015

Orange and Orange

These are some of my newest Bakelite buttons, a couple of orange showoffs from the 1930's. I like the slats on these guys and consider this design to be an understated example of Art Deco. I'm not lucky when it comes to orange buttons since they tend to evade me. So it was a surprise when my friend, Doreen, hooked me up with this pair of carroty squares.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee     

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Cosmic Walnut

When I first laid eyes on this button (at an antique shop in downtown Kansas City) I thought I was looking at the embryo of a deformed pine cone or an alien germ cell. The strange curves, decidedly Art Deco, won me over and I snatched up this oddball. Someday I'm pretty sure it will sprout an antenna and come to life in my dresser like an industrial-strength cockroach from Mars. A brown button of any other kind might be a dull thing, but not this Bakelite keeper. After bringing it home, I polished it to a dapper shine and introduced it to my set of Bakelite browns. Right now, this is one of my favorite buttons. 

-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Green Ones are Delicious Too

Bakelite buttons often give prominence to a bold carving--frequently a floral scheme or a stylized design. Sometimes the carving is painted. This green button, depicting a stemmed clover, still has a faint residue of gold paint resting in its carved details. I can only imagine the snazzy vest that this might've been part of once.

Bakelite buttons are hard to find because there aren't too many of them left in the world. If you own one, consider it a treasure! It's taken me years to build up my collection. I bought this green beauty from my friend Doreen in Michigan. Doreen is my "lucky charm" when it comes to finding Bakelite buttons. She runs a store out of her home and has been selling vintage buttons for years. I'll be mentioning her frequently on this blog--and even though this is not a platform for selling buttons, whenever I refer to Doreen I'll be sure to include a link to her online shop. It's called "Buttons from the Attic" and is brimming with eyefuls of the finest Bakelite around.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee    

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don't Eat the Bakelite!

My favorite color of Bakelite is red. Especially when polished to a candied shine, red Bakelite buttons look like hard, savory confections. This button epitomizes the sweet trickery of bright red Bakelite. Truth be told, if you bit down on this goody you'd probably crack your jaw. I bought this button from a fellow-Bakelite collector who acquired a whole batch of these at an estate sale in upstate New York. Notice the leaf design curling inwards along the rim. That's an Art Deco motif that occurs often in Bakelite buttons. It harks back to the 20's and 30's, exemplifying a style that thrived during the glory days of Betty Boop.

-Sherbert McGee      

Monday, November 2, 2015

Apple Juice & Rootbeer: My First Bakelite Buttons

Nearly ten years ago I saw this pair of Bakelite buttons in an antique store in New Hampshire. They caught my eye and on a whim I bought them for $8 each, thinking I'd lose them to a messy drawer the way trinkets disappear into the rubble of so many forgotten keepsakes. These were different though. Admiring them more closely under the light at home, I began doing research on "Bakelite" and speedily became intrigued by the beautiful plastic of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. Bakelite evokes the Jazz Age. From swinging flapper beads to the cigarette lighter on Jay Gatsby's escritoire, it's got a debonair vibe. Within a year, I became a steadfast hunter of the stuff--scouring antique shops across the USA for more and more buttons in all the famous colors of Bakelite: cherry reds, intense greens and dazzling nuggets of sunny butterscotch. Soon, my collection grew into a respectable stash and then a stockpile and finally a bona fide mine. Today I'm up to my chin in thousands of Bakelite buttons (and some swanky, Bakelite buckles too). At any rate, this is where my collection began and here is the blog that will chronicle the whole shebang. As for the two buttons above, in Bakelite world, these colors are called "apple juice" (left) and "rootbeer" (right). Both buttons remind me of varying shades of amber and have a nifty energy to them that's hard to describe. They really kind of are like slices of baked light. Stay tuned for more...

-Sherbert McGee