Tuesday, January 31, 2017

AJ Barrel

A drum-shaped button in the color named after the nectar of nature's commonest fruit, see how this barrel of apple juice shines in the 5:00 sunset on my balcony. I like the lines carved into this Bakelite button and the keg-like shape of it. When it comes to beverages, I'm not much of an AJ drinker. But in the way of old buttons, I'm forever stuck on these heavenly chunks of plastic cider.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, January 30, 2017

Triangular Chocolate

This button recently cropped up at an antique store in Kansas City, Missouri. Seduced by its cocoa brown complexion, I took it home with me in a gung-ho jiffy. What's not to love? It's got a handsome diversity of carved designs with my favorite part being the triangular portion that's vigorously etched to form an eye-catching framework of rough clusters. From the 1930's, this chocolatey wonder has tested positive for Bakelite.

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Lime Jell-O Rocker w/ Foil

Rarely do I post more than one photo of my buttons here, but this rare and exceptional chunk of kryptonite demands to be shown from a top view, as well as a bottom angle. The button is a clear brand of green Prystal Bakelite, which glows like a slice of lime Jell-O. I describe this button's shape as a "rocker" since it see-saws when laid down on its arched side (see photo at right). But what really sets this button apart from the rest is the fragment of tinfoil that was baked inside the plastic at the time of its manufacture. Now rusty and tarnished, the fossilized tinfoil glistens through the green Prystal like an exotic biohazard or a grotesque mass of blighted space junkjagged, scruffy and no doubt a shade corroded. It's a little bit hideous, but a little bit beautiful too. Purchased from my friend Doreen, who's always finding these rogue specimens of Bakelite at its uncanniest, this amazing button fascinates me to the core of its mangled green heart.

Visit Doreen's online store  

-Sherbert McGee    

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pineapple Custard Wedge

This button instigated quite a production while I tried to angle it just right for today's photo shoot. A sharp-corned wedge in custard Bakelite, I've always considered this faceted relic to be one of my most amazingly cut buttons. The outer portion reminds me of a lumpy-skinned pineapple while the inner, top section is etched with fanned-out details. Ruggedly artistic compared to the boring buttons of today's mass-produced category, this old-timer emanates pure antiquated spunk!

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tricolored Memory Buttons

Several years ago I found these buttons on a hot summer day at an antique festival in Katonah, New York. They're the first tricolored buttons I'd ever run across and the discovery of them felt like a delicious windfall. I remember holding this attractive foursome on the train ride home and explaining to a passenger next to me that they're made of a hard-to-find type of no-longer-made plastic called Bakelite. Even now, these pretty keepsakes still entrance me with their brightly colored magnetism and charming design. Geometrically unusual, these buttons are rounded at the base and squared at the top. It goes without saying; I'm in love with all four of them. 

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Black Suns/Art Deco

"Showgirl Buttons" is what I call this pair of Bakelite sistersdue to the art deco pattern they flaunt so strikingly like a couple of theatrical suns. To the casual eye, these are black buttons, but with the lighting upped to the max on my camera you can see a bluish hue coming off of these fancy ladies. A little-known fact: it's not uncommon for black Bakelite to go blue in the light.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, January 23, 2017

Little Bling

What drew me to purchase this medium-sized button in rootbeer Bakelite was the eensy pinhead of brass that rests on the surface like a tarnished speck of bling. Without this one detail, this plain old button might've resembled a rootbeer gumdrop and in all likelihood wouldn't have won my interest. But nope, this flashy baby sports a bit o' the ritz!

-Sherbert McGee

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Major OJ

In the dead of winter, here's an enormous button that's soaking up some rare sunshine on my freezing balcony. Orange juice Bakelite through and through, this tremendous hunk of vintage plastic is plump and smooth like a rounded slab of petrified marmalade. In terms of heft and girth, this button is a massive horse pill. Made in the 1930's.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, January 20, 2017

Half-and-Half with MOP

Half apple juice Bakelite and half mother of pearl, I've backed this button up with a black necktie that I keep set aside for the grim purpose of wakes and funerals. Thankfully, I don't attend very many services for the dead and much prefer this necktie as a dressy setting for rare buttons. Aside from enriching my collection of Bakelite, this button is a souvenir from my travels. In 2012, I took a trip to England and purchased this particular button in the Notting Hill district of west London at the very trendy Portobello Road Market, famous for its antiques from around the world. The seller was an affable British lady who told me she'd purchased this button at an antique shop during her travels to New York City in 1982. Hence this 1920's-era button departed the good ole USA, lived abroad for 30 years and then came back to America with me. There's a slight defect in the Bakelite that's visible in the lower left corner, but what do I care? This twofold button is a well-traveled vision in debonair grooves and an iridescent comeliness. 

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Knobbly Goblin

Whenever I rummage through the Bakelite buttons in my collection, I always feel like this major oddball is just begging to be selected for a spot on my blog. It's one of my weirdest buttons and unquestionably one of my favorites. With its strange surface of nubbly bumps and swirls of green and butterscotch, it's absolutely one of the freakiest buttons I've ever seen. A Martian or a pimply troll in Bakelite going back to the 1930's, this queer bug gives the impression of a spacey contagion if not an intergalactic hobgoblin.

-Sherbert McGee 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Wonka Bars

It might be my favorite scene from any movie when Charlie Bucket finds a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's a moment of consummate happiness that stays exciting for me every time I go back and watch it. But what's this to do with buttons? Well, I'll tell you... Picked for today's Bakelite presentation, I'm showcasing two buttons in milk chocolate Bakelite with grooved patterns that really do smack of creamy edibles. Of course, these are not actual servings of chocolate, but for me every Bakelite button as winsome as these is as good as a melt-in-your-mouth Wonka Bar.

Thank you, Roald Dahl.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Swoop!

Shape-wise, this button does something unusually artful and wily. For the most part, it's a modest black button in shiny licorice Bakelite, but slick your thumb over the surface and prepare for the dip! An outer edge section of this button swoops downwards for an Art Deco plunge that's positively clever. A few carved slits along the brim of "the swoop" bring some added interest to this vintage oddity from the 1930's. A real joyride of a button.

Visit Doreen's online store  

-Sherbert McGee 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Oblong Wowzer

You better believe I don't throw around the word "wowzer" on behalf of any old button. I stand by my word. This button's a rare superstar in terms of design, scale and structure. It's Bakelite: alternating in the middle square with root beer and apple juice stripes and then augmented at both ends in wide pieces of rounded, root beer bumpers. All in all, this button is made up of 8 Bakelite sectionseach of them fitted together to form this vast hunk of flapper-approved style. Imagine it: the designer coat this button hung on must've been a majorly vogue triumph. 

-Sherbert McGee  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Clockwork Moss

I've always been fascinated by the toothed wheels that comprise the intricate mechanisms inside of a clock. No wonder I'm in love with this gear-shaped button with its twenty cogs and frontal design of jumbled rings encircling dots. Regarding its greenish visual flavor, Bakelite experts call this color mossalthough I've also heard it referred to as split pea soup. This is a chunky button, caked in a dash of patina going back to the 1930's.

-Sherbert McGee

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Belgian Bowls

Today's buttons are a mother-daughter set of Bakelite bowls in the same colors and striped order of the Belgian flag. A strip of deep butterscotch Bakelite is sandwiched between cherry red and licorice black. Two-tone buttons in Bakelite are highly desirable enough, so imagine my excitement when I found these tricolor bowls at some point during my antique button hunting. Needless to say, these bowled me over.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Toggle Tuesday: Die Bombe

It's Tuesday and it's time for a toggle. This one has the look of a pitch black bombshell. As I study this large button, I imagine a German scientist unveiling his newfangled explosive during the prewar years when weapons of mass destruction were darkening Europe. It's a snazzy (Art Deco) toggle, but there's a fateful gloominess to it as well. Curiously enough, sometimes what's bleak is chic.

-Sherbert McGee 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fuddy-duddy Burgundy Button

Owing to my memory of certain shoes, I've always viewed burgundy as a sort of fuddy-duddy color. And so it is with certain buttons. This unshowy piece looks conservative and a bit boring. Thin and chip-like, vintage buttons like this one are of the flimsier make. In all likelihood, this is a "poor man's" button of the Great Depression. It's a low-grade type of Bakelite, but I've got several buttons in this style to round out my collection. Anyhow, when something's this old, you don't criticize it too much. —Circa 1935.

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, January 5, 2017

300th Button Post

Celebrating the 300th post on this blog, here's a set of buttons that are undoubtedly among my greatest finds. A green Bakelite base gives rise to a bright orange layer (also Bakelite) and a shiny butterscotch top segment that is pure Bakelite as well. A Bakelite bonanza! Dating back to the 1930's, these strikingly colorful buttons are big, bold and bodacious. When vintage buttons are this beautiful, they're not so much buttons as they are specimens of objet d'art.  

-Sherbert McGee 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mississippi Mud Pie

Is anybody out there hungry for pie? Here's a Bakelite button in that chocolatey color we Bakelite fanatics call Mississippi Mud. Cut for a serving of six, it's no light snack. Additional details consist of shallow etches giving this rugged goodie a chiseled texture of lip-smacking embellishments. It's a classic example of how Bakelite emulates a tasty indulgence, but don't be fooled. As fattening as it looks, this is definitely a coat button from the 1930's.

-Sherbert McGee

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Dream Trio

Talk about your buttony throwbacks. These buttons have a real charm about them, replete with all the old-timey appeal of a vintage soda shop. Sometimes Bakelite buttons exude bonus vibes when it comes to being antiquated treasures and these three sisters do that with their classic loveliness going back to the 1920's. I'm under their spell, obviously. Cream-toned buttons with a ridged middle-stripe in cherry red, they've had my attention ever since they entered my collection several years ago. It goes without saying: Bakelite beguiles.

-Sherbert McGee

Monday, January 2, 2017

Complexities in Black

Double-cut buttons come in untold sizes, shapes and colors. Here's a black one that's been in my collection for a long time. Formed with tiny intersections that create a grid-like system of patchy crossroads, it's like this button is sporting a tidy network of avenues. This neat period piece tested positive for Bakelite and was probably made in the 1930'sor possibly as late as the early 1940's.  

-Sherbert McGee

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bakelite Cheers!

Last year on New Year's Day, I posted a Bakelite button infused with glitter. Here's a similar button that's got all the razzmatazz needed for ushering in 2017. What makes this confetti-filled antique especially unusual is the color of the nippled topper. A very light cream tone, it's the closest thing to a shade of off-white that I've ever seen in Bakelite. Some smudges belittle the attractiveness of this old button, but I still see it as a time capsule encompassing a long-lost party from the 1920's and the perfect way to begin a new calendar. Happy New Year!

Visit Doreen's online store  

-Sherbert McGee