Catlin's Notes in Europe 

 

Adventures of the Ojibbeway and Ioway Indians in England, France, and Belgium; being notes of eight years' travels and residence in Europe with his North American Indian collection

 

Published 1852

 

Volume II including A VISIT TO A BUTTON-FACTORY, page 133

 

 

... We found on our return that the hour of another engagement was at hand, and carriages were soon prepared to take us to the button-factory of Messrs. Turner and Son, to which we had been kindly invited; and on our arrival we found ourselves most cordially received and entertained. The proprietor led the party through every room in his extensive establishment, and showed them the whole process of striking the buttons and medals from various dies, which pleased them very much, and, after showing and explaining to them all the different processes through which they passed in their manufacture, led them into his ware-room or magazine, where his stock on hand was exhibited, and package after package, and gross upon gross, of the most splendid and costly buttons were taken down, and by his own generous hand presented to them. These were such brilliant evidences of kindness, and would be so ornamental to the splendid dresses which they and their wives were to have when they got home, that they looked upon them as more valuable than gold or silver. These were presented to them in the aggregate, and all carried in a heavy parcel by the interpreter; and when they had thanked the gentleman for his munificent liberality and got back to their rooms, a scene of great brilliancy and much interest and amusement was presented for an hour or two, while they had their treasures spread out, covering half of the floor on which they lodged, and making a per capita division of them.

 

In the midst of this exhilarating and dazzling scene, their old friend Bobasheela made his appearance, having just arrived from London on his way to Cornwall. He could not, he said, pass within a hundred miles of them without stopping to see them a few days, and smoke a pipe or two with them again. Bobasheela was stopped at the door, notwithstanding their love for him; he could not step in without doing sacrilege with his muddy boots to the glittering carpet of buttons which they had formed on the floor, and upon which his eyes were staring, as he thought at the first glance they could have committed no less a trespass than to have plundered a jeweller’s shop. A way was soon opened for his feet to pass, and, having taken a hearty shake of the hand with all, he was offered a seat on the floor, and in a few moments found that an equal parcel was accumulating between his knees as in front of each, and that, instead of fourteen, they were now dividing them into fifteen parcels. This he objected to, and with much trouble got them to undo what they had done, and go back to the first regulation of dividing them equally amongst fourteen.

 

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About us

This web site has been created by Lesley Close as an on-line museum displaying some of the buttons and other artifacts manufactured by Hammond Turner & Sons (and related companies), button makers of Birmingham (and Manchester), England.

Lesley's interest in buttons started when she saw the words 'button maker' in the 'father's occupation' column of her maternal great grandmother's marriage certificate. After rather too many 'ag labs', vicars and sailors, here was a wonderful change of occupation. She thought she might find a picture of a button: instead, she found a picture of the one-time owner of the business and over 200 different buttons made by the company.

What we don't do

The button-making company Hammond Turner no longer exists - we do not make buttons!