Along with the right barkcloth, great buttons are a vital element in my bag designs. Some of my favorites are made of bakelite.
Bakelite was developed in 1907 by Belgian scientist Leo Baekeland. It was the first plastic made from synthetic compounds and was originally developed for use in industry.
It became clear however,that bakelite was perfect for many other things including buttons because it was available in an array of colors and could be carved, molded, and laminated into many shapes.
The buttons pictures here are coat buttons from the 1930's. During the Great Depression people had to make do with what they had, but for a few cents they could update the look of a garment such as a coat with new buttons. Their biggest challenge was just having to decide which of these beauties to choose!