elegance of history blog: History geek, avid reader and art lover. Here you will find random bits of history, book reviews and musings on art, literature, manners, life, music and anything else that interests me.
The Victorians certainly loved buttons. They’d use them everywhere. On their boots, on their gloves, on their corsets, on their jackets… It would take a woman hours to hook them all on her own. The solution? Button hooks. They came in all shapes and sizes. Some were as long as a foot to prevent the wearer from bending down when fastening buttons, while others were as small as a finger and could easily be carried around in a purse and used whenever it was necessary.
Button hooks could be elaborate, made of gold or silver and decorated with jewels, or simple and plain. But they all worked the same. Button hooks have a “hook” (obviously!) made from a loop of wire. The wearer would thread this hook through the button hole and grab the button with it. Then, she’d pull the button hook, with the button safely secured, through the hole, pull the hook free and start the whole process again with the next button. These hooks made dressing easier and faster for decades, before they started to go out of use after World War I. Nowadays they are found mostly in antique shops.