The use of seals was brought to America from Europe by the colonists. These were the forerunners of the State Seals today.
Every one of our 50 states has an official seal and their devices are used by them on the uniform buttons of the State Militia. The Militia is the oldest service of our armed forces, going back to the very first year of the colonies.
Most of the State Seals were adopted in the “Victorian Era”, as a glance at some elaborate designs will reveal. Many of the states obtained their seals only after a bitter debate and they can be altered only by law. The state seal button device came with use some time after the adoption of the seal.
Six states use the exact state seal device on their state seal buttons; some alter it somewhat but the seal is still recognizable. Three states do not use any part of the device of the state seal on their state seal buttons. They are Wyoming, South Carolina and Vermont.
Greatly as State Seal buttons differ in appearance, a study reveals that they have many designs and ideas in common.
16 quality as heraldic—a shield is the main design
one half show landscapes depicting the surrounding region,
one half give agriculture a place
one third show means of transportation—trains, covered wagons, ships, etc.
Just Buttons magazine Mar-Apr 1978