Sunday, August 24, 2008


Cara is ironing (and watching the last night of the Olympics).

As she was ironing one of my work shirts for this week, she noticed a missing button.

You know, it's hard to imagine clothing without fasteners. (Okay, elastic covers some bases.)

Buttons are kind of the archetypal fastener - they were even around before this stuff. The first buttons emerged over 4500 years ago - although it took another 3700 years before the Germans worked out that they could be used for more than just ornamentation.

For a long while buttons were made of bone, ivory, wood and shell. These materials are now reserved for more premium garments, with plastic being the standard that most of us know, love, and catch in car doors.

So simple, yet such a darned clever invention - pity The New Inventors wasn't around when the first button hit the ancient catwalk.

It's certainly an enduring technology. And I imagine it's got a few years left in it yet. Now all I need to do is work out how to sew it back on.

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