Friday, September 22, 2017

First-Day-of-Autumn Button


Hello there, fall of 2017! Celebrating the start of a new season as well as the autumnal equinox, here's a lavishly sculpted button in moss Bakelite. The central feature on this button is a voluptuous leaf hovering over a textured abundance of tiny circles. When I first laid eyes on this button, I was knocked senseless. It is an exquisite example of carved Bakelite. Also pictured here is half of a Bakelite dress clip in a tone of bright avocado. My sister found this pretty scrap of vintage plastic at an antique store and sent it to me last year in hopes that it would find its way into a photo session. Alas, here it is as a prop for this mossy wowzer. Since we're officially in the fall season and also because I love leaves, I'm going to post a whole week of leaf-shaped buttons next month. Get set for a leafy week some time after the midpoint of October. I hereby vow to leaf you breathless!

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last-Day-of-Summer Button


Farewell summer of 2017! While today is the last day of the summer, I'm posting this epic blossom in bright orange juice Bakelite with merry carvings and petals flared. This mint-condition and sizable button sports all the glowing characteristics of OJ Bakelite: Its coloring is warm and classy. In a few spots some swirls are visible and overall this vintage keeper is teeming with summery flair.   

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Swoony Maroony


This humongous maroon button owns my heart with its rounded triangular shape and glass-like feel. Seductively smooth, each corner of this brightly polished bombshell dips into a steep hollow. I love maroon Bakelite and this one is very maroon (and very Bakelite). Although its original frock is lost and gone forever, this dashing relic emanates an ageless magic. Perfectly perfect, from the 1920's.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wavy Weirdo


Carved and sculpted and carved some more, this beautifully complex button earned its nicknamethe wavy weirdofrom my friend Doreen. Shaved with zigzags and then etched with zigzags on top of those zigzags, the whole button is contoured like a mystifying gem. Made of apple juice Bakelite and brimming with light, this photo barely displays the undulating facets of this perplexing zinger.

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


-Sherbert McGee 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Starry Rootbeer


Added to my collection earlier this summer, this enormous Bakelite button presents a rootbeer base with an apple juice dome that's carved from beneath in the shape of a six-pronged star. What really drew me to this button is the way the star appears to be hovering inside the Bakelite like a sealed work of art. Plunked here in the midday sun, the starry carving is noticeably faceted. circa 1929.  

-Sherbert McGee 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Philadelphia Bakelite


Back when I first got bitten by the Bakelite bug, one of the more collectible variations that I learned about is a type of hard-to-find plastic that's bears the nickname: Philadelphia Bakelite. So what is it? From what I've gathered, Philadelphia Bakelite is a specific color-combination of Bakelite brought together on the same item, be it a button or a bracelet. Not all connoisseurs and collectors agree on what these colors are, but generally the combination includes butterscotch and/or creamed corn, chocolate brown, green and either orange or bright cherry red. Some experts will also insist that a true Philadelphia-style button entails a requisite shape. The two buttons, which I've posted today, are both Philadelphia Bakelite with the green tone being the hardest to identify since it's a bit faded. Notice that the circular button is uniquely multicoloredboasting five distinct tones with a dash of creamed corn that is absent in the square-shaped button.

Here's a bit of history for those interested: Tracing the story of Philadelphia Bakelite back to its origins, in the 1960's a fluke discovery inside a Philadelphia warehouse brought a stockpile of old bracelets to light. The pristinely preserved bracelets were vintage Bakelite (in the aforementioned colors) going back to the 1920's or 30's. Collectors naturally went wild and the phrase "Philadelphia Bakelite" was born. The title has stuck to anything Bakelite that matches the required color combo. And as far as I know, that's the story of Philly-style Bakelite.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, September 15, 2017

Highly Carved


Oftentimes, collectors of Bakelite talk about the "carved" variety and here's a button that perfectly displays what is meant by carved Bakelite. In this case, the carvings go around the button circularly and then slash across the circles for a look that's highly diced and quite dramatic. It's this amount of sculpted detail that exemplifies how no two carved Bakelite buttons are exactly alike.

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


-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

OJ and Maroon


The bigger the better is my stance when it comes to buttons, but sometimes I buy small buttons if they sport a big personality. Case in point: these little guys are made of orange juice Bakelite with maroon rimsand it's this color combination that won me over. Even though these buttons only measure about 5/8 of an inch across, they sport a unique blend of cloudy orange and wine red. Made in the 1920's.

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


-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Toggle Tuesday: Rainbow Spotted


Etched at both ends with seven cavities, this creamed corn toggle has been daubed in varicolored paint. I've held onto this Bakelite button for about five years now in hopes of finding a match for the beginning of a set, but it would seem that this cream-tone cylinder is hard to come by. So I only have this one, but that's fine by me. When it comes to 90-year-old buttons, even one is a bonanza.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, September 11, 2017

Wired Licorice


Another stunning find from my friend Doreen, here's a licorice button that's trussed in metallic wiringpossibly strands of brass. I love how the four lengths of wire divvy up the button into alternating sections of smooth Bakelite and textured patches that depict a "wormy" design. The artistic effect gives this voguish button a dash of 1920's flair that recalls the signature style of Elsa Schiaparelli.

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


-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Red Square Extraordinaire


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Nothing's redder than red Bakelite. Saturated with all the cherry urgency of a candied firetruck, red Bakelite delivers its brightness with a feverish potency that stuns the eye and "pops" with incredible flair. Case in point: this Bakelite button sports its hot hue with the lusty confidence of a freshly born tulip. What's my favorite color of Bakelite buttons? Hands down, it's the red ones every time.

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Herd


Hold your horses! Last summer I got my hands on this dandy herd of buttons in rootbeer Bakelite. The brass escutcheons are fitted over the surfaces of each button and despite some tarnished spots, most of them are in pretty good condition. It's a mystery what type of clothing item these might've decorated once, but I see these buttons on the vest of a rootin'-tootin' cowboy circa 1925.

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Dust Storm


Yesterday's button had green hurricanes inside of it and here's one that contains a dust storm. We're on the cusp of the fall season and I've been saving this button for this time of year because there's an autumnal vibe to it. The make of the button is apple juice Bakelite, flecked with a gust of dusty leaves. It really does appear that a tiny shower of debris is blowing inside of this unusual find.

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


-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Lime Juice Button


This blog is dripping with orange juice buttons and is absolutely soaked with apple juice Bakelite, but what about the lime juice variety that is so much harder to come by? Here's a fine specimen of lime juice Bakelite with no frills, except that the frills are inherent to the make the rare green plastic. This old button houses a dizzying mass of semitransparent hurricanes in a true tone of perfect lime.

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Chocolate Spirograph


Does anybody remember the Spirograph drawing kits that were popular in the 1960's and 1970's? The kits were a set of plastic utensils that lent themselves to making all different kids of geometric artwork. Here's a Bakelite button (circa 1930) with a loopy star etching that reminds me of a typical "Spirograph" motif. The second I laid my eyes on this button I thought of my favorite, do-it-yourself design-making gizmo that I so enjoyed as a kid.

Geared toward children (ages 8 and up), Spirograph sets first came out in 1965. I remember getting mine for Christmas in 1978 and being very excited about it. The box evolved over the years and pictured here is the version of the set I first owned. The text on the lid reads: A simple and fascinating way to draw a million marvelous patterns. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and spending hours trying to create the perfect composition with the range of tools and colored pens that came with the set. Originally, the trademark for Spirograph was registered with the Hasbro toy company. In 2013 the product was relaunched by Kahootz Toys and is currently available with the original product configurations. For a look at the various vintage sets and how they changed across 50+ decades, check out eBay.

-Sherbert McGee

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Bakelite Painted Yellow


Among the most rare and expensive buttons in my collection are the painted apple juice variety. Carved at the base, these very special curiosities are then daubed with paint in the chiseled out sections. This button depicts three yellow roses. Had the artist opted to paint the flowers a bright shade of pink or red, the result would've been much more eye-catching. Going with yellow in the already-yellowish tone of the AJ Bakelite, the result is less visually impactful. But even so, this is a spectacular example of a painted button from the 1920's.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, September 1, 2017

One Tough Cookie


Why not situate a Bakelite cookie button between a couple of actual, chocolate-chip cookies? With its bright cherry-red center and a triangular design stamped over the top, this might be the largest cookie button that I own. In a class by themselves, cookies are a subcategory of Bakelite buttons that are scrumptiously addictive and endlessly unique.

To examine a full range of cookie buttons featuring a wide mixture of shapes, designs and color combinations, be sure to visit my posts last year for all of April 2016. A month of Bakelite buttons like no other, that was the biggest batch of cookies ever!

-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Split Pea Super Button


Moss-tone Bakelite was not on my wish-list when my friend Doreen showed me this unusual button, but I was so stricken by its bizarro set of carvings that I knew I had to add it to my collection. Doreen sold me the button over a year ago and I'm still wowed by the disparate elements of design with its arched stripes, outlying stars and scooped-out spots that run through the midsection like patches on an exotic turtle. Somehow, these combined details remind me of a superhero costume that might've decorated a 1970's comic book character. For its odd blend of animated features, this button wins my constant approval. Split pea Bakelite, circa 1930.

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


-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Eclipse


I should've posted this button last week in celebration of the solar eclipse that had the whole country putting on cardboard spectacles. This Bakelite burst of sunshine is an eclipse all by itself with half of the button seeming to overlap with the other in a contest of textures. Dating back to the 1930's, this brightly swirled majesty is a classic example of orange juice Bakelite.

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


-Sherbert McGee

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Black Trout


Carved into a pattern resembling fish scales, this jet black button delivers a venturesome effect that's both elegant and dramatic. Hailing from an antique dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I saw this fishy enigma resting among a dozen other black buttons and grabbed this one on account of its mighty character and killer looks. Powerfully stylish, this button tested positive for Bakelite. 

-Sherbert McGee