How Antique Tools Mirror Past Fashion

source: eBay

Have you ever had a chance to search through your grandmother’s sewing kit full of sewing supplies? Between the bright spools of thread and the shiny thimbles, there could have been a mysterious metal tool which opened out like a knife but with a much more harmless intention. It was a folding metal button hook, the kind used when shoes and gloves were not just worn, but secured with numerous small and elegant buttons. This tool not only saved fingernails but also acted as a sign of the high level of personal hygiene that was a hallmark of earlier societies.

The folding metal button hook was a rather compact tool, which could be carried in a pocket or a sewing kit, but was indispensable in the late 19th and early 20th centuries fashion. Clothing of the period had many small buttons, both for decoration and for use. The metal button hook, which could be highly decorated, was a common item in many homes for use in fastening buttons on boots, gloves and other garments.

source: Etsy

The use of button hooks also gives an insight into the fashion and the technology of the period. Before the convenience of zippers and Velcro, dressing up was a process, and everything had its purpose. The button hook was not only a tool but a symbol of refinement as it reflected the refinement that characterized certain facets of life at the time. Its importance declined as fashion moved towards practicality, signifying a shift in the society concerning the beauty of appearance and utility.

Nowadays, people collect folding metal button hooks for their aesthetic value and as a reminder of how people used to live in the past. It reminds one of the days when even the most ordinary tasks were carried out using tools which were meant to be durable and attractive. This means that collecting such items enable one to learn about the personal and societal values of the earlier decades and conserving such hooks is not only about the preservation of the metal but also the art that went into making them.

source: Etsy

Thinking about the vintage folding metal button hook brings to mind the craftsmanship of a previous generation, when people appreciated the aesthetics of items used in their daily lives. This tool is not just a piece of metal; it is a piece of history, a relic of the time when every item used in everyday life was made with love and precision. As we hold these hooks today, we hold a piece of history, a glimpse of the slow and thoughtful way of living that was once the norm.