Uniform buttons
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Homepage / History of the collection

History of the collection

Button Bronze Age

Button in course of centuries...

At the very beginning there was probably a thorn and the fish bone followed. The first clothing pin was created.
All this was taking place in prehistory, in the stone age. The oldest mention of this primitive, but in our point of view of a full-fledged button, origins in the older Bronze Age (1800-1700 BC). At this point it can be found along with a needle - brooch. Its use is merely decorative.
We record the first practical use of the buttons in the 12-13th century, along with the spreading change of fashion. The era of rococo became a cult of buttons, that is when the coats and vests had more than 70 buttons.
The first one to use this new element of clothing was nobility, but soldiers were interested as well.

It didn´t take long and this fashion anchored  in the Czech lands.

The first pioneer of then tin button was Christian Hiecke of Petrovice (since 1770) in the northern Bohemia. Vienna and Waldes in Prague followed shortly after.

Uniform buttons - the biggest collection in the Czech Republic

Ivo Tomáš with his collection of uniform buttons - 1982
The collection, which I am going to write about, was founded in 1974, by now some 44 years ago.
As you are all probably aware of, the year 1974 belonged in our country to the era of normalization, when the life wasn´t easy for the ordinary people, especially the collectors weren´t an exception.
In these times my father collected badges, just like many of his colleagues.
When the badges became an ordinary item, he started thinking about what should he be interested in, in order not to resemble others and to be politically correct. Also the items had to be cheap and there had to be enough of them.

Once he acquired the Czech military button with Roman swords. He collected more of them and found out that each one of them is different.

And the idea was here, he would collect buttons!

Uniform buttons collection - 1982
Uniform buttons collection - 1982
Club of Curiosity collectors ID Card - 1981
Collecters club of Hradec Králové ID Card - 1993
But not just the common types, which count milions of types just in Europe, but metal, glass, plastic with embossment. Embossment is a pattern used on uniforms.
Over the course of years the collection started growing and the thematic organization became an imminent need. There were more attempts, but they were not always proven good. The organization of the collection has therefore changed many times.
The system has been finalized in the recent years, and currently there are two basic ways of sorting the buttons:
  • uniform buttons of armed forces

  • uniform buttons of civil branches

These are consequently categorized in many other categories for example: army buttons, police buttons, airline buttons, railway and other transport companies buttons, heraldic, company buttons, club buttons etc. In the collection the buttons are further sorted not only according to the "avers" (face side) but also according to the "revers" (back side).
It is usually there, where the producer´s name is stated, for example Waldes a spol., Karel Šulc Prague, PREMO Protivín, A. KASPARIDES Jablonec n/N, M.S.S.A.G. (Matias Salcher in Wagstadt - Bílovec) or Tobias Walted in Vienna.
At the end, they are sorted according to the country of origin.
Card for archivation of each button - 1980
Originál archivation sheet - 1978
Documentation of submission of buttons - 1979
I shall come back to the buttons with crossed Roman swords of our army once again, to the buttons I mentioned in the beginning, to those, which caused all of this.
After 40 years of collecting, I have more than 200 pieces and each one of them is different...
Correspondence with button producing company – 23rd of 1975
Answer of draftsman Stanislav Rejchrt to publishing of the collection in L. Kochánek´s book - 1991
Uniformní kniflíky Animato

I would like to dedicate this website to my father, who founded the collection in 1974 and also to my mother for her great patience with us both collectors, she had to care for...