Backpaper History

The most common way manufacturers identified the products they made was to print little round papers, and insert them in the back of the buttons. The backpaper might include the name and logo of the manufacturer, the patent dates, and perhaps a "union bug" showing which labor group the button workers belonged to.

No one ever perfected a machine for inserting backpapers, and button companies would pay local families to insert the papers while working at home. Children would show up at the factories to pick up boxes of buttons, pins, and backpapers, and take them home for the family to assemble. By the 1930s trucks would deliver boxes of button parts to rural families living in the region, then return the next day to pick up the finished buttons.

If you have a button with a Western Badge & Novelty Company backpaper, check to see if the backpaper design includes a large B and a large S (see illustration left. If it does, the button dates from roughly 1921-35. If produced before 1921 it would likely have a large B but not a large S. If produced after 1935 it would have no large letters, but would have a bold line above the printing, and also one below.
If you have a pin with the Walt Disney Enterprises Kay Kamen LTD. backpaper it was from the period of 1932 - 1949 to the best of our knowledge. Kay Kamen died in a plane crash in 1950.
If you have a pin with theWhitehead & Hoag backpaper, it is from  1890 through the mid 20th Century.

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