Button Boy

Button Day

Nov 16

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Button, button, who's got the button?"

The term Button Boy, however, has nothing to do with buttons for clothing or decoration, but instead refers to the small button platform at the top of a ship's mast.  Button Boys were responsible for climbing the 140 ft tall rigging (plus another 15 ft up a pole to the top of the mast to final platform).  Button boys climbed as part naval training duties, and payment for climbing to the very top was 1 shilling.

Button Boy

The National Button Society was founded in 1938 and established Button Day as a celebration for all who enjoyed collecting and crafting with buttons.

 

The earliest known buttons were used more for ornamentation than as fastenings.  Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes appeared first in Germany in the 13th century and became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th and 14th century Europe.

The term Button Boy, however, has nothing to do with buttons for clothing or decoration, but instead refers to the small button platform at the top of a ship's mast.  Button Boys were responsible for climbing the 140 ft tall rigging (plus another 15 ft up a pole to the top of the mast to final platform).  Button boys climbed as part naval training duties, and payment for climbing to the very top was 1 shilling.

To see some actual Button Boys and a rigging climbing display, click the vintage video below for a film of young men training on the HMS Ganges, in Shotley, Suffolk,  a harsh (and controversial) naval training school and ship.    

 

And for more about the Button Boys, click the rigging display photo.

To see the dance performed by the Vancouver Island Scottish Country Dancers in 2010, see the video below.

Button Boy
Button Boy

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