Chapter 7: A China Button Sample Case Saved

Photos of pages from a ten-page sample case showing the German brand “R & C” are shown in Guidelines.

Sample cards give us information as to the origin and relative time of production for the examples of china body types and colors we have in our collections. The older sample cards that I have found are from the Bapterosses factory in Briare, France.  The most complete example consists of three approximately 9″X12″ cards housed in a dark leather covered case.

Possibly older is another Bapterosses sample card showing mounds and deepwells with remarkable lusters.

Continuing with sample cards showing medals won in international competition, is this blue background card of  “BOUTONS AGATES BLANCS.”

Another card shows some similar styles in a pearl lustered finish.  The heading on the card has been changed to read “Manufacture de Briare.”  The Bapterosses factory is located in the small town of Briare, France

The same body styles in black are offered on this card which lacks the medals in gold.

A third sample card headed “Manufacture de Briare”  offers a button which is not catalogued in Guidelines: a self shank ball shape.  It shows a relationship to whistle shape #10 in that both have a raised band around the circumference of the button.  The buttons are shown in glossy, matte and lustered finishes.

Two smaller cards below are also from the Bapterosses factory, one showing smooth tops and the other hollow eyes and three examples of the elusive body style 4 smooth top.

An additional card from the Bapterosses factory has a different heading: “Nouveauté” suggesting “new style.” It features two and four hole tire type buttons in glossy and matte finishes and saucerlike holloweyes in glossy , matte and lustered finishes.

We know that other button manufacturers were producing china and china type buttons concurrent with Bapterosses/Manufacture de Briare.  Guidelines shows the sample case from the R & C Company in Germany.  The sample card below is marked “RB” and I believe also originated in Germany.  Guidelines makes the point that the French labeling on the R&C cards, and this card then, reflects the French domination of the industry and an attempt by other manufactures to be “à la mode” (in style) for  the times.

If you noticed the expression “china type” in the text above, here is confirmation of buttons manufactured in the style of traditional ceramic body buttons, by a manufacturer of glass beads and buttons: Jablonex in Czechoslovakia.  The two cards confirm recent suspicions by china button collectors that some of the buttons in our collections actually have a content that is more glass-like than ceramic.  The cards are labeled, as were their French and German counterparts, “Boutons Agate”, and offer a variety of buttons in traditional china body types.

Author: Frankie Winters

I'm a Designer, Maker, and Developer in Portland, Oregon. I have two little girls and keep a meticulously organized garage.

10 thoughts on “Chapter 7: A China Button Sample Case Saved”

  1. Wow – what a labour of love – a real achievement, well done. I am so envious of your ability to find and channel your discoveries/knowledge into such a wonderful resource, so useful for beginners and experienced button collectors alike.

    1. How nice that you were able to visit Briare and I assume you toured the museum at the factory to see the truly amazing buttons produced by Bapterosses. The town is so charming also; thank you for reminding me of it.

      1. Hello Janet,
        Of course I visit the museum of the factury, I was surpised to see there was also some very decorated buttons with flowers and gold, it was a very nice journey

  2. Love you button show case. Just one question, do you know where I can get (1/4″ two hole black button) for gingerbread eyes ornaments? If so please let me know.

    1. Hi Peggy,
      Wow… so much time has passed since I visited the site; I apologize. I hope you found the gingerbread men eyes.

  3. Your Buttons are just beautiful.I would like to ask a question. Do you know where I can fine a (1/4″ black button for gingerbread man eyes. I need several of them for ornaments. Thank you Peggy

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