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History of Pin-Back Buttons

Buttons are an item that date back to the first presidential inauguration in 1789, when George Washington’s supporters wore buttons imprinted with a slogan. These early buttons are different from the ones you would pin onto your shirt. They were either sewn onto the lapel of a coat or worn as a pendant on a string. It was in the late 1800’s that The Whitehead & Hoag Co. became he first button manufacturer and remained the foremost throughout the early years of the industry. They made the first pin back style button and had several patents for the pin back button, which included adding a sheet of transparent celluloid to the top of the photograph to prevent scratches. As the years went on, other inventors patented other improvements and modifications to the basic design.

In 1898, The Yellow Kid became a popular cartoon character and button subject. These buttons were offered as prizes with chewing gum and tobacco to increase sales. These buttons were produced with a concave opening on the backside (which provided a space to insert advertising), or with a closed back, filled with a metal insert and fastener. These are called “open back” and “closed back” buttons. Kellogg Company, the pioneer in cereal box prizes, began inserted prizes in the form of pin-back buttons into each box of Pep Cereal in 1945. These button or ‘Pep Pins’ included U.S. Army squadrons as well as characters from newspaper comics. There were 5 series of comic characters and 18 different buttons in each set making it a total of 90 buttons in the comic collection.

At Everyone Loves Buttons®, we have been making custom buttons for 18 years now. We have seen presidential campaign buttons, advertising buttons, or even just buttons that say how you feel. That is one of the beauties of pinback buttons; they can advertise for a company or show off something that you are passionate about. We offer a full service here, including: help with designing your own custom buttons, a full color printing process, and legendary customer service. We started our business with a hand machine and a dream. Now we are a Certified Women Owned Business using electric machines and living the dream producing millions of buttons per year.

So now the question is…are you ready to create your own button history?

Here is the evolution of our button machines:

97 handmachine 1in handmachine electric 4 spot machine electric 6 spot machine

2 thoughts on “History of Pin-Back Buttons

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