7th May 2022

Revisiting Birmingham

Breadalbane Buttons

Such a delightful name; it deserves a post. Brothers William (1795-1847) and Andrew (1797-1869) Smith of Mauchline, Scotland, ran a successful manufacturery of wooden ware in Birmingham from around 1810.  An article in “Hogg’s Weekly Instructor”  in 1847 described the method of making Beadalbane buttons, started a year or two before the article was printed. The buttons were so named after the Marquis of Breadalbane, who had purchased the first set of these buttons. Exerts from the long-winded article follow:

The firm obviously had set up another factory in their home village. The ‘Tartan buttons’ became very popular, no doubt helped by the fact that H.R.H. Prince Albert was presented with  a set. The process became more mechanised as business boomed.

A set of these buttons produced for Prince Albert sold at auction in 2000 for £12,800.

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