Pearl Button Old Factory in Muscatine Iowa
Pearl Button Old Factory...View photos of the beginnings of pearl buttons from an old factory and shells made into button blanks at Ronda Pearl Button Factory. When operating at capacity, 2 million button blanks were cut every week at the Ronda Button Factory. (read article)
Tons of shells were needed at this plant (between 1500 and 2000 tons) per year for cutting button blanks.
All types of shells were brought in from rivers across the USA. The Arkansas, White, and Tennessee rivers contributed heavily to the shell button industry in Muscatine, Iowa. Even my uncles in Minnesota would gather shells from the Minnesota River near my childhood home and sell them.
Mother of pearl buttons even came from conch type shells.
Pearl buttons could be produced from small shells too…and here are some of the small polished buttons.
Most of these were made into shank buttons. A small metal shank was pressed into a hole on the back.
I don’t know the use for these shells, but there are still several at the button factory.
Various processes were tried in making shell button at the button factory. Sometimes the shell was polished before cutting as these shiny beauties show.
Buttons blanks were cut from shells…this one yielded a large button blank.
These button original shell blanks for mother of pearl buttons still have their ridges.
More pearl button blanks of larger size
Oval shaped shell button blanks. A hole was drilled near the top and shells used as pendants.
For buckles, shells were cut into rectangles, then shaped and polished and dyed. The polishing powder is still on these buckles.
See colorful jewelry made from mother of pearl buckles here.
Other novelty items from shells required cutting them in various shapes.
Unsorted pearl button blanks and buttons.
Assortment of blanks, buttons in process and one finished shell button.
You may also enjoy visiting the other pages related to this one...
Introduction to Ronda Pearl Button old Factory here.
Return to pearl button old factory tour here.
Read an article about Ronda Pearl Button Factory here.
Learn more about Schmarje Tool Company here.
This old pearl button factory is a “PEARL” in our midst.