1) Occupational term for a maker of buttons.
The making of buttons is likely to have started out as a side-line for Yorkshire cutlers in the 1600s, but by the second half of the century the occupation was established independently: 1669 Peter Elston, button-maker, Fewston. In the years 1685-7 three Sheffield men, John Jarvis, John Bate and John Offerton were named as button-makers in the Quarter Sessions records and soon afterwards the craft was recorded in the Sheffield parish register: 1698 Beniam Mitchell, button maker’. It was a logical development, since the cutler had skills which enabled him to work not only metal but materials such as bone, horn and pearl. When Thomas Boulsover discovered how to plate copper with silver in 1743 he set up in business as a buttonmaker. In 1787 Gales and Martin’s Directory for Sheffield named ten metal button manufacturers, four of whom made ‘gild and plated’ buttons: there were 13 small firms making horn buttons in the town and five more close by.