Toys, Farm Tools And The Rest

Button Hook

     A button hook was an important tool used by ladies of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. It was used to fasten the buttons of their shoes and boots. Women's shoes of the Turn of the Century tended to be styled with the uppers extending high above the ankle, and requiring eight or ten buttons to attach the two parts of the upper together. The button hook would be grasped by the handle, and the small hook end would be inserted through one of the many holes on the upper part of a shoe or boot. The hook would then be wrapped around the coinciding button, and the tool would then be pulled through the hole, pulling the button along with it.
      Notice the fancy decoration cast on the flat handle. There is very little space on this small tool to be decorated, but because a lady would need to carry a button hook with her in case her shoe or boot needed re-fastening, they were decorated as much as could be. Sometimes a long silk ribbon would be tied onto the handle of the button hook, and it would be tied onto a belt or some other part of the lady's dress, and left to dangle at her side.
      It should also be noted that in Gallery 5, the fifth chair exhibited had its legs cut off in order to accomodate the buttoning of one's shoes comfortably.
      This button hook was owned by my grandmother, Bertha Nofsker.