Cut Steel Buttons
There is some controversy as to whether “cut steel” buttons were the invention of Matthew Bolton junior of Birmingham in the mid 18th Century; probably he perfected and popularised an existing style. Small studs of steel were cut into facets and highly polished to imitate the more expensive marcasite that was popular on French buttons. In turn, ‘cut steel’ was later imitated by glass pieces, or by stamping a design into metal or glass, or even metalised plastic to imitate the facets. Therefore some buttons are an imitation of an imitation! Cut steel buttons were mentioned in the Australian press from 1841 through to 1954; their popularity lasting for several centuries.