Friday, June 23, 2017

Dick Tracy!


Watch out, "Big Boy" Caprice! Here's what I've nicknamed my "Dick Tracy" button. A creamed corn square on a cherry red square, this art deco policeman is cleaning the streets (and wooing Breathless Mahoney) in all-out style. Named after one of my favorite movies of all time, the straightforward design on this button smacks of the film's visual palette, striking graphics and gorgeously bold, comic-strip flare. Directed by Warren Beatty (and starring Beatty as well), Dick Tracy was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1990. As a fanatical teenager, I watched the movie five times in theaters and still swoon at this candy-coated gem of cinematography.

-Sherbert McGee     

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Little Rootbeer Toe


For ages now I've had this stubby button in my collection and I can't remember where I picked it up. A molasses-hued chunk of sweet Bakelite capped at both ends with brass pins, if this button were a Native American Indian, he would be named Little Rootbeer Toe. For a long time I've hoped to find a matching companion for this lonely guy, but I'm starting to think he's the only one of his kind in the world.

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Peanut Butter Mudslide


Back during its manufacture in the 1930's or early 40's, there must've been a strident buzz in the factory when industrial tools came down on this button made of brownish-moss Bakelite. The button appears to be in the midst of a mudslide! My friend Doreen compares the central ooze to a dramatic swipe across peanut butter as if someone literally slicked their finger through this messy marvel. To me, this button is an aerial view of a rapid flood wending its way through a jinxed canyon. However you look at it, there's a smeary brilliance depicted in this button's super-carved extravagance.  

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee    

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summertime Swirl


Expressing a wavy hydraulic effect, here's a free-flowing button made of apple juice Bakelite that's got a swirled design stemming out from under a metal cap. I love the way carved lines on clear Bakelite can give the impression of a moving rippleor in this case, a hypnotic whirlpool. Today's the first day of summer and if I could swim in a button I'd dive head-first into this one for sure. 

Visit Doreen's online store
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bits of Butterscotch


Talk about a gold rush! Here's a smattering of Bakelite buttons, as small as they come, in the sunny color known as butterscotch. Centered in this photo, the smoothest of these babies shines with a true golden-honey tone. My favorite is the gear at the bottom with its nubby cogs. For more of these itty-bitty buttons, I've got a surprise coming: Next month I'll be posting a full week of "Bakelite bits!"

-Sherbert McGee      

Friday, June 16, 2017

Stones of Armageddon


Just look at this mighty pair of coat buttons from the 1930's. Cavernous gouges were made in the Bakelite to form sunken voids that resemble meteor craters. Adding to the effect, carved lines give the appearance of a violent crash as if this matching set survived a cataclysmic explosion. I love the spacey drama of these battered rocks. The color is not black, but the darkest of browns: nicknamed espresso by Bakelite fanatics. Get out of these buttons way. They look ready to summon the Gods. 

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Debonair Square


What you see here is my idea of a picture-perfect button. This handsome zinger has everything: deco-era carvings enriching a plump square in a pristine tone of creamed-corn Bakelite. The ivory coloring and symmetrical engravings make for one debonair dude. With hardly a trace of scuffing and no flaws or stains, I have to wonder if this button was owned by the suavest popinjay in all of 1927. Whatever the case, it's a swell hunk of classy plastic.

Visit Doreen's online store 
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bakelite: AJ and Rootbeer


You probably wouldn't combine apple juice and rootbeer when it comes to beverages, but in the way of Bakelite buttons...why not? Here's a bright mound of rootbeer hovering beautifully in a reflective pool of apple juice, not blended, but definitely situated together effectively. A large button with loads of shine-power, this lovely looker is a bracing drink for the eyes.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Toggle Tuesday: Triple Notched


My Internal Bakelite Detector (IBD) is typically pretty spot on when I visit antique shops or rummage through vintage clutter in flea markets and heirloom bazaars. That being the case, when I first saw this oblong treasure in a basket full of ragtag odds and ends, I knew right away that it was Bakelite. Yet what surprised me was that this prime slab of greenery isn't an olden-day pin for a lady's blouse. In fact, it's a toggle button featuring three evenly rendered notches that almost have the look of a boy scout's handiwork on a wooden stick. By the estimation of the antique shopkeeper who sold me this lucky toggle, it probably dates back to the early 1920's. Very cool.

-Sherbert McGee   

Monday, June 12, 2017

Eye of Eyes


Here's a jet-black button that must've been fun to design. The eye-shaped middle section dips inwards as if custom-made for gliding one's thumb into the sculpted basin. Inside the eye are 13 chiseled spots that remind me of smaller eyesall peeping out of the larger eyeball. The carved lines traveling to the edge of this button are possibly eyelashes. Tested as Bakelite, circa 1935.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Showgirl


Like a center-stage diva behind a veil of ostrich feathers, here's a button that knows how to put on a show. Made of Bakelite in a deeply saturated tone of red, this lovely lady is a major head-turner and a gorgeous victory of the art deco style. A windswept display of cherry fronds are perfectly sculpted here for a look that's wildly chic and brightly theatrical. Welcome to the Moulin Rouge circa 1929.

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Brain


Dissect this! It's a button in the shape of a brain! When my friend Doreen told me she'd found the "smartest" button of all time, I had no idea what to expect. Made from a thick chunk of apple juice Bakelite, it truly does appear to be a transparent cerebrumreplete with two lobes and a touch of patina, which accentuates the cerebral texture. If I didn't know any better, I'd think this brain was having dirty thoughts. 

Visit Doreen's online store 
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee   

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bronze Gardenias


Newly acquired, here's a trio of Bakelite buttons in a scarcely seen color that rides the line between dark orange and bronze. Animated and deeply cut/carved, these lively blossoms almost appear to be dancing. The lady who sold me these buttons found them years ago at an estate sale with other fashionable relics believed to go back to the early 1930's. 

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Square Chameleon


This double-cut button made of bright olive-green Bakelite reminds me of a compass with its circular midsection hovering inside of a stylized frame. A large button that might've adorned a winter jacket in the 1920's, the edges are turning orange due to the oxidation of the aged Bakelite. Given another decade, this button will be 100 years old and I wonder if it will continue to change color.

Time will tell...

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, June 5, 2017

Burgundy and Maroon


Some people say cranberry and some people call these wine-colored buttons. Others will say they are scarlet or crimson or brick-red, if not blood-red or Spanish raspberry. There's a whole slew of hues when it comes to Bakelite buttons in these dark reddish colors. I'm calling them burgundy and maroon, but which is which? Both factory-pressed, the round one has a flower-shaped hollow while the octagon sports an upraised spiderweb design. These buttons go back to the 1930's. In their prime, I'll bet that each of them matched a snappy dresser's penny loafers.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rootbeer Jawbreaker


Ouch! This major jawbreaker button in rootbeer Bakelite is absolutely humongous. I only have a few "ball buttons" in my collection that measure one inch across and this is one of them. Imagine a row of these bad boys running down a fur coat or a glitzy kimono. Truly sizable, this hardwearing globe sports a chiseled flower design that's loaded with patina. Even so, nothing is hindering this button's olden-day shine. Straight out of the 1920's.

-Sherbert McGee 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cream Tangerine!


The "White Album" is definitely my favorite studio LP by The Beatles and one of my best-loved songs on that album is Savoy Truffleby George Harrison. The catchy tune kicks off with George crooning the words "Cream Tangerine!" before he lists a spectrum of sugary confections. Anyway, that's what these buttons remind me of: cream tangerine candies. I flipped one of them over since its easier to see the marbleized swirl of cream-colored streaks running through the bright orange Bakelite. On that note, these buttons glow like psychedelic jellybeans.

Visit Doreen's online store 
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Killer Buttons


Among the first Bakelite buttons I ever purchased, these very black buttons have a very serious look about them. Strangely elegant and curiously slanted, I always associate these gentleman's buttons with tuxedoed hijinks and dark deeds. They have a studious yet sinister appearance and for that reason I've nicknamed these my "Leopold and Loeb" buttons. And on that note, here's a scandalous history lesson:

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were a couple of wealthy students enrolled at the University of Chicago in the early 1920's. Snappy dressers with high IQs and snobbish leanings, the duo dominated newspaper headlines in 1924 when they confessed to the brutal murder of a fourteen-year-old boy named Bobby Franks. The handsome killers shocked the nation with their icy manners during what was then described as "the trial of the century." Both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Years later in 1936, Richard Loeb was stabbed to death in a prison shower. In 1958, Nathan Leopold was released from prison and moved to Puerto Rico where he took up birdwatching until his death in the 1970's. When asked why they committed the murder, the young scholars explained that they just wanted to carry out a "perfect crime."

-Sherbert McGee      

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Butter Nugget


Neatly carved in a soft tone of creamed corn Bakelite, this stubby log button (from the 1920's) looks like a hunk of grooved butter. Glowingly hearty and hardy, Bakelite has a high-quality merit that sets it apart from the substandard plastics that pretty much clog the world in today's nonstop ambush of material cheapness. Bakelite was a classy and short-lived plastic. Because it can't be recycled, it got bumped out of production in favor of more modern plastics, which form all the disposable "stuff" we use nowadays. Thankfully, there's probably a Bakelite leftover sitting on a shelf in an antique shop within fifty miles of just about everyone. It's getting more and more rare, but it's out there.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, May 29, 2017

Dandy Brown


Here's an old brown coat button with a handsome mixture of etched and carved details. The angled side of the button sports a jim-dandy crisscross pattern while the top layer presents an engraved flower. Rich and chocolatey, this button tested positive for Bakelite and dates back to the 1930's when times was bad, but buttons were absolutely gorgeous.

Visit Doreen's online store 
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee

Friday, May 26, 2017

400 Days of Buttons


In honor of my 400th blog post today, here's a Bakelite button that emblazons four colors: chocolate, orange, green and cherry—tightly fitted together on this bright octagon wowzer from the mid to late 1920's. Finding and collecting Bakelite buttons has been an exciting pursuit for me over the course of many years and even after 400 posts, I still have quite a jackpot of Bakelite treasures to spotlight. So stay tuned, button fans! I'm just getting started.

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jellyfish Babies


Different varieties of jellyfish buttons are nothing new on this blog. Since last year, I've posted at least three types of apple juice buttons that I've compared to the transparent marine creature. But unlike anything I've ever shown you before, here are six jellyfish buttonsall sunning themselves together with one of them flipped over so that you can see the self-shank style buttonhole. These buttons are Bakelite and probably go back to the Great Depression.

-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Zigzagged One


Looky here, antique buffs! For years and years I searched the world for a Bakelite button with a zigzag design as pictured in coffee table books about Jazz Age charms of the 1920's. At long last, this button entered my collection a few months ago and I'm over the moon to have found it. In fact, now that this art deco button has made its way into my collection, I want another one. Constructed of cherry and creamed corn Bakelite, this ritzy rarity is one hot humdinger!

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mermaid Sisters


Enormous and overflowing with deeply carved waves, these Bakelite buttons are a shiny fern green color. The second I clasped my eyes on these lithe beauties I thought of two side-by-side mermaids. For more buttons that smack of oceanic craftsmanship, stay tuned! Next month I'm going to post an entire week of Bakelite buttons that carry themes of the sea.

Visit Doreen's online store 
Click here: BUTTONS FROM THE ATTIC


-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Custard Swirl


An ideally yellow button in the color we Bakelite fanatics call custard, here's a sunny chunk of 1929. Divvied into six folds and then etched with decorative lines, this carefree canary sports a winning composure and a vintage cheeriness. Unlike the cheapjack plastics of today that are farted out of modern machinery by the gazillions, there's something wonderfully spirited about a Bakelite button. You really have to hold one in your hand to appreciate the feeling. Then again, be careful. Bakelite is bizarrely seductive and you might end up starting a collection of this highly charismatic material.

-Sherbert McGee 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cupcake Sprinkles


Some Bakelite buttons are infused with metallic glitter and some are permeated with multi-colored flecks of different colors of Bakelite. Rarely do I find Bakelite buttons that contain cupcake sprinkles, but here one is! The color of the Bakelite is apple juice and the inner sprinkles are probably bits of punched-out celluloid. I was going to post this button later this year on my birthday, but somehow today felt like the right time. Probably dating back to the early-1940's, this little merrymaker is one of my most prized discoveries. Whoopee!

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, May 19, 2017

Butterscotch, Licorice and Cherry Bakelite


Founded on a butterscotch base, this 3-tone button gives prominence to a top layer of licorice and cherry Bakelite that's divided diagonally and forms a four-petaled flower or a clover motif. Enhanced further with art deco carvings, the button looks like it's modeling for a chapter on 1920's fashion in a book of design through the decades. Though measuring less than an inch across, this pretty button flaunts enormous style.

-Sherbert McGee   

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Toffee Splotch


Although this piece of Bakelite looks like a chocolate button, the photograph is slightly misleading. In real life, the suspicious color is closer to a tannish toffee and less of a legit chocolate. Carved to such an extensive depth, the square-like shape of this button is devoid of any true corners. As a result, the shape is more of a splatter or a splotch than a square. A rare toffee splotch! circa 1928.

-Sherbert McGee