Posted 6 years ago
These buttons date from 1890s and were used on the uniforms of telephone pay station attendants. The earliest payphones were operated by an attendant who would place your call and collect payment. In those days it could take several minutes and multiple operators to connect a call, a tedious task that was best left to an attendant. The person who could afford such a call could wait in the bar, read the paper etc. and be notified when his party had been reached. These buttons would have been worn on the uniforms of such attendants in fancier hotels, train stations, etc.