Grandpa Emil Bilof Cut Buttons in Muscatine

by Janice Warmkessel
(Paris, Illinois)

Grandpa Emil Biluf Muscatine Button Worker

Grandpa Emil Biluf Muscatine Button Worker

Hi Kari,


My grandpa Emil Bilof cut buttons in Muscatine. Here is a photo of him beside several button factory workers in front of a pile of cut shells.

My grandpa, Emil Bilof, was born in 1884 in Poland. He was 18 when he came to the USA. He and grandma, Martha Maeglin, met and married in Muscatine on May 28, 1907.

When I look at this photo, I'm guessing that they were not married then. Grandpa is 4th from the right. His shirt appears to be very wrinkled (just out of the wash). Grandma was super neat and clean.

I hope you find this interesting.

Thanks for your interest,
Janice Warmkessel

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May 24, 2010
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Very interested!
by: Kari

Hi Janice,

I am very interested in the local Muscatine button industry history. I love seeing photos and hearing about former button factory workers here.

A great grandson of John Beopple, who got the whole button thing going here, is coming for a visit to Muscatine soon. It will be fun to meet he and his family and honor them as part of our city's heritage.

I hope you get a chance to visit us and see the amazing button museum we have.

Your analysis of whether or not your grandpa was married in the photo gave me a chuckle...and you are probably right! He probably would have had a nicely pressed shirt with grandma around.

Thanks for sharing and also for the copy of the photo.

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