A *Bramah Button

Magical swords are often times connected to legendary figures throughout history. In particular, they symbolise a hero’s kingship. and we see this correlation in the King Arthur legend. Excalibur is a powerful sword that is said to be unbreakable and aids Arthur in the defeat of many enemies. But what has it to do with detectorist Pat Law?

Pat’s Button

In Yorkshire the word *BRAMAH meant something that was extra special, and especially good. 

Picture provided by Patrick Law ©

I have written about Skipton man Patrick Law on other occasions. This time, for your delight and delectation, I have revamped one of those previous stories about a very ornate and unusual button he found.

You can tell at a glance what I mean. I was surprised and delighted to see this button; the first I’ve seen found by a detectorist and would like to share the artistry, workmanship and design that has gone into the humble fastening.

I’ve seen others, but always with some kind of fancy border. It seems that a standard die was made, then a different border. Sometimes cut steel could be chosen, resulting in various finishes and embellishments.

I could be way off the mark here and if anyone can tell me more, I’d be grateful for the information. My estimation of the date is around the middle to late 1800’s.

Pat’s button depicts a knight wearing a full suit of armour and is made from stamped pierced brass, sans border. The ‘knight’ is King Arthur of course, complete with his plumed helmet and holding aloft his famed sword Excalibur.

Anne, the owner of the excellent and useful site Once Upon a Button tells me that she owns a set of four, all without a border. She checked for me her buttons with a border and the central image of King Arthur was exactly the same size as the example found by Pat; just over an inch in diameter.

Once Upon a Button is an appreciation of the art of antique picture buttons and buttons through time, featuring Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Nouveau buttons from Anne’s personal collection. Button shown with kind permission of the owner of the site.

An interesting fact is that the size of buttons, as designated by the National Button Society in the States (I didn’t know either) deems that the button without border is known ‘as small’. It is the border that makes the button a large size.

Anne commented, “One of the things I find fascinating about button collecting is the variation that can be found in one specific button design. The King Arthur buttons I own with borders are all of one piece, so there may have been dies without a border, and dies with a border.”

If you know where this rather ornate style of button was manufactured and any other details, please let me know.


Pat with his helpful detecting hound, Tizer – a Law unto himself.

6 thoughts on “A *Bramah Button”

  1. Very interesting John it could be that Pats button once had a border but through constant fastening the border has worn loose and frayed off and the original owner maybe cut the remaining border off the main button frame.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Considering we don’t know the exact size of this button and without a makers mark present, I’m thinking it’s a late-19thc design. I don’t think the border was trimmed or broke as Randolph mentioned, it looks to have been cast that way. Based on the rather crude casting, my feeling is that it may have been lost from a period costume at a festival of sorts. Great find Patrick. – Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your comment Mr Anonymous (my friend Dave?)
    The button with the border is 1″ & 3/8ths in diameter.

    Just realised you are posting from a Canadian location and I know who you are. Doh.
    I’m slow on the uptake.

    Like

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