When you want to up your button game, there are a lot of options out there– from swanky packaging to a cool finish, even making buttons that smell appetizing to lure in customers. There’s also a long history of buttons that capture attention with the stuff hanging off of them– ribbons, charms and other items, creating a category we’ve dubbed “danglers.” When we were experimenting with danglers earlier this year for our 2014 Golden Button Awards, there were some amazing vintage designs that served as inspiration. From the Button Museum‘s extensive collection of dangler buttons, here are a few of our favorites.
Probably the best known of all danglers are political buttons made in celebration of events like swearing in ceremonies and conventions. The Lyndon Johnson example pictured above was made to commemorate his January 1965 inauguration. The Hubert Humphrey dangler includes both a tri-color ribbon as well as a democratic donkey charm, but even this fun combination couldn’t salvage his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1968.
Dangler buttons lend themselves to promotions, so we have a number of examples from marketing campaigns and souvenirs. The “Goodbye Forever” design was used to promote a refrigerator with automatic ice machines that freed consumers from the confines of the ice tray. Continuing the ice theme, the “Holiday on Ice” design isn’t the most elegant of danglers, but you have to appreciate the DIY spirit exhibited with attaching an ice skate keychain to the looped ribbon. Dating from the 1940’s, the Big Bill Lee button features a miniature felt Chicago Cubs pennant dangler.
Some of the most creative danglers in our collection were used to commemorate special events. Pictured above, the firefighter convention button dates from the 1920’s and features a clever design with the fireman’s face on the button and a die-cut paper body dangler portion. Another paper cutout is featured in the hat on the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centenial button above, with a founding father’s face printed on fabric on the actual button and a printed ribbon. The large button in the center was for the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, organized in 1903, advocated for free rural mail delivery. The Ohio State Fair button features a playful boot charm dangler, though we wonder if that charm might be more fitting for a button commemorating the Texas State Fair?