_ Buttons came into use in Britain at the end of the middle ages. The old metal buttons
we find have a hoop on the back called a shank for attaching them to garments. The form of
the shank is one way of dating a button plain button. Old plain buttons are encouraging
finds because they indicate your detector is getting a signal from old, coin sized
Early metal buttons were most often of pewter. At the beginning of the 19th century
gilded brass became a common metal for buttons.
In the 19th century rich gentry liked to dress their servants in uniforms with buttons
that carried a heraldic symbol. These 'Livery' buttons can often be dated by means of the
maker's name stamped on the back.