15th August 2022

Plastic Imitating Black Glass

The card of plastic buttons here dates from around 1957. It clearly imitates the black glass buttons that had been imported here in the early 1950s from West Germany post WW2.


Detail from an October 1952 advert.

Even though I don’t deliberately collect black glass buttons, I was surprised to find how many I had accumulated! They have varying shanks that can help date them.

Rosette shank: 6 segments, probably late 19th-early 20th century.

Sew through ?modern

Four-way box shank. Characteristic of many Czechoslavakian glass buttons 1918-1938, but also pre- WW1.

Self-shank 1920s onwards. Note that pre WW2 (like that on the right) buttons had smaller thread holes than post.

Brass wire shank with shank plate.

Shorter, rounder brass wire shank with shank plate.















































They are decorated with gold lustre …


… silver lustre

irridescent lustres …










decorated …


painted …

and even black !

Due to increasing utility of plastic buttons like those above, that could mimic the look of glass but without the weight and much more washable, the popularity of German glass buttons wained by the mid 1960s. A shame, but quite understandable.

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Hi Cathy thanks for the great info again, I also have an accidental collection of black glass buttons, cheers Pat.