Friday, April 7, 2017

Buffooneries of 1919

Five or six years ago I hit upon a jackpot of antique buttons at a ritzy second-hand store in San Francisco, California that had just acquired some old clothing items going back to the pre-1920's. Among the mildewy frocks was a harlequin costume that had to be discarded due to its moth-eaten material. Be that as it may, the Bakelite buttons were salvaged and I just so happened to be at the right place at the right time when these scruffy gems went up for grabs. Purchased without a moment's hesitation, I've been preserving them carefully ever since. Now let me explain a few things: These buttons may appear to have some grungy spots, but that's not grunge you are seeing; that's a glue residue and some tiny abrasions to the Bakelite. I've deep-cleaned these antiques as best I can and while I can't restore them to their glory days, I'm happy with what's left of these fragile clowns. Possibly among my oldest Bakelite, this pair of buttons is estimated to go back to 1919 or 1920. The apple juice Bakelite feels truly aged. The red top layers maintain their merry charisma. Due to their unique seniority, I take special care of these elderly funsters.

-Sherbert McGee       

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