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Buttonhooks and Shoehorns
by Sue Brandon

A Shire Classics

Cover photo courtesy publisher This book is a historical look at the invention and declining usage of buttonhooks and shoehorns.

The everyday need for a buttonhook began in the early nineteenth century when it was used, as an accessory to masculine fashion, to fasten stiff leather button-boots. By the 1880s, lines of buttons had become fashionable on ladies' gloves, clothing and footwear, and the development of the feminine market encouraged the production of 'fashion buttonhooks' in the wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials that are described in this book, and which can still be found by collectors today.

Shoehorns were frequently produced as companions to buttonhooks, but although the latter had fallen into disuse by the 1940s, shoehorns still exist in most shoe shops and some homes to facilitate the slipping on of footwear. A 'schoying horne' was first mentioned in the fifteenth century and the imagination exercised around the well-known basic shape has resulted in the variety so interesting to present day collectors.

Author Sue Brandon and her husband have been collecting buttonhooks since 1972. A chance discovery of three examples in a Cheshire antique shop began their collection. From the beginning they collected every type of buttonhook and this has resulted in a comprehensive collection, which now extends to other associated items such as shoehorns. Mrs Brandon is a member of the Buttonhook Society, which was founded in 1979 and has rapidly increasing world-wide membership.

This book will be of interest to all collectors, those interested in period costumes, and historical researchers.

Buttonhooks and Shoehorns
Shire Library 122; ISBN: 0 85263 696 2
32 pp; black and white illustrations
Published 20 June 2008
Available to order from Shire Books Now part of the Osprey family
Published by Osprey Publishing
Midland House, West Way
Botley, Oxford, OX2 0PH
Web: Osprey Publishing

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