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laid hold of by the needle which is to sew on
the button. This makes the back or under-
part of the button. Another machine wraps
the metal top of the button in cloth, turns
down the edges, fixes in the pasteboard
mould, and the prepared back, and closes all
the rims, so as to complete the putting together
of the five parts that compose the common
Florentine button which may be seen on any
gentleman's coat. It is truly a wonderful
and beautiful apparatus; but its operation
cannot well be described to those who have
not seen it. Black satin waistcoat buttons,
and flat and conical buttons covered with
figured silks, are composed of similar parts,
and stuck together, with all edges turned in,
by the same curious process. Shirt-buttons
are nearly of the same make; but, instead of
two pieces of metal, for the back and front,
there is only one; and that is a rim, with
both edges turned down, so as to leave a
hollow for the reception of the edges of all
the three pieces of linen which cover the
button. A piece of fine linen, lined with a
piece very stout and coarse, covers the visible
part of the button, and goes over the rim.
A piece of middling quality is laid on behind:
and, by the machine, all the edges are shut
fast into the hollow of the rimthe edges of
which are, by the same movement, closed
down nicely upon their contents, leaving the
button so round, smooth, compact, and
complete, that it is as great a mystery where the
edges are all put away, as how the apple
gets into the dumpling. No one would guess
how neat the inside of the button is, that did
not see it made. The rims are silvered as
carefully as if they were for show. When
struck from the brass or copper, and bent,
they are carried to the yard, where an earnest
elderly man, dressed in an odd suit of green
baize, stands at a stone table, with a bucket
of stone ware, pierced with holes, in his
hand, and troughs before him, containing
the first, diluted aquafortis, and the others,
water. The bucket, half full of button rims,
is dipped in the aquafortis bath, well shaken
there, and then passed through successive
waterings, finishing at the pump. The rims,
now clean and bright, must be silvered.
They are shaken and boulted (as a miller
would say), covered with a mysterious
silvering powder, the constitution of which
we were not to inquire into; and out they
come, as white as so many teaspoons. Thus
it is, too, with the brace-buttons, on which
the machines are at work all this time. Each
has to be pierced with four holes; necessary,
as we all know, for sewing on buttons which
have to bear such a strain as these have.
This piercing with four holes can be inflicted,
by one woman, on fifteen gross per hour.
The forming the little cup in the middle of
the button, where the holes are, in order to
raise the rim of the button from the surface
of the dress, is called counter-sinking; and
that process has a machine to itself; one of
the long row of little engines which look
almost alike, but which discharge various
offices in this manufacture, at once so small
and so great. These buttons go down to the
burnisher's department in company with some
which make a prodigious show at a very
small costthe stage ornaments which are
professionally called " spangles." Let no
novice suppose that these are the little scales
of excessively thin metal which are called
spangles on doll's dresses and our
grandmothers' embroidered shoes. These stage
spangles are nearly an inch in diameter, cut out
in the middle, and bent into a rim, to reflect
light the better. In the Hippodrome they
cover the boddices of princesses, and stud the
trappings of horses at a tournament; and in
stage processions they make up a great part
of the glitter. Of these, twenty-five thousand
gross in a year are sent out by this house
alone; a fact which gives an overwhelming
impression of the amount of stage decoration which
must always be exhibiting itself in England.

In our opinion, it was prettier to see these
"spangles " burnished here than glittering
on the stage; and, certainly, the brace-
buttons we had been tracing out would never
more be so admired as when they were
brightening up at the wheel. The burnisher
works his lathe with a treadle. The stone
he uses is a sort of bloodstone, found in
Derbyshire, which lasts a lifetime in use.
Each button is picked up and applied: a
pleasant twanging, vibrating tunevery like
a Jew's harpcomes from the flying wheel;
the button is droppedpolished in half a
second; and another is in its place, almost
before the eye can follow. Six or eight gross
can thus be burnished in an hour by one
workman. If the brace-buttons are to have
rims, or to be milled, or in any way
ornamented, now is the time; and here are the
lathes in which it is done. The workmen
need to have good heads, as well as practised
hands; for, even in an article like this,
society is full of fancies, and there may be a
hundred fashions in a very short time;—a
new one almost every week. These harping
lathes, in a row, about their clean and rapid
work, are perhaps the prettiest part of the
whole show. At the further end of the
apartment sits a woman with heaps of buttons
and spangles, and piles of square pieces of
paper before her. With nimble fingers she
ranges the finished articles in rows of half-a-
dozen or more, folds in each row, and makes
up her packets as fast, probably, as human
hands can do it. But this is a sort of work
which one supposes will be done by machinery
some day.

Still, all this while, the long rows of
machines on the counters, above and below,
and on either hand, are at work, cutting,
piercing, stamping, counter-sinking. We
must go and see more of their work. Here
is one shaping in copper the nut of the
acorn: another is shaping the cup. Disks

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