Posted 8 years ago
Buttons were always collected before the rag man got the worn out clothing. With this tool the housewife or seamstress would lay it over a button til it fell into the keyhole type slot and then with a slight pull, a blade would cut the threads holding the button and the buttons would collect in the removable tin cup . She would then slide the cup off the tool and all the buttons could be stored for reuse.
The 18th century seamstress tool looks sort of like a hatchet, you would align the blade over a button hole and tap the back end with a small mallet to cut the button hole. The other end was used to rip out seams that had to be let out. I believe that the hole might have been a hole to store the tool on a nail in her work area . .....hotairfan.
PS. Have you ever seen an early seamstress stool, she used it to fit the customer. If you come across one of these stools, turn it over and the wooden surface of the sides might contain small hash marks. This is where she cut the button holes with this tool.