Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Goofie sets and other early buttons

1st set real seashells embedded in probably polyester
Animal Head Set...acetate
outer 6 are bakelite
Dominoes Set..acetate
School Set.. casein
Music Set..bakelite
I found this interesting when I went to take a image of this card the music set had 2 buttons wrong side up, when I changed them I noticed the 2 (1st and 4th) buttons are so much lighter in color than the others my thought was the card had been exposed to sunlight as the previous owner had the card in a frame and probably hanging on a wall.
So I asked Jocelyn Howells and here is her answer
“It's well known that Bakelite changes color with time.  It's the phenolic resin in the ingredients that is naturally orangish and dominates all other colors.  Oxidation has been stated as the cause, but no doubt sunlight figures into it as well, or maybe sunlight speeds up the oxidation process.  I have a salesman's original card of bakelite buttons with each button labeled with its color.  Very interesting to see what the original color was, and what it is today.  Of course, there is no way to know whether that card was exposed to the light during its lifetime, or stored away in darkness.  So I tend to think that it is exposure to oxygen, causing some of the phenolic resin to "leach" to the surface and change its color.  BTW, the surface of bakelite pieces can be polished down to the original color, which I understand has been done with lots of the bakelite jewelry.  But sooner or later, the color change occurs again, sometimes fairly quickly.”
Thanks to Jocelyn for this information and also helping me identify the technical terms of the plastics
Jocelyn is the author of three books about identifying button materials, including two on synthetic polymers exclusively, based on more than 10 years of intense research and study.  Read more at her website 
or contact her at 
Her books are a must have for button collectors