Dorset buttons are from a period of history, 1600’s to 1850’s, where buttons were all made by hand. Originating in the county of Dorset, England, this style of button may also be refered to as the “Dorset Tradition” button.
At the beginning of the 17th century, menswear required larger and more practical buttons. Hence, button craftsmen were creating the buttons instead of tailors. The earliest Dorset buttons were produced by local sheep farmers. The natural colored sheep wool was used for the common button.
In 1622, commercially made buttons shifted with the industrial economy. However, the demand was high and Dorset button was contracted out still to the farm workers. As the supply of wire became available, the base of the Dorset button was fashioned with a wire ring base. This was something every member of the family could work with, even the children. As the Industrial Age progressed, the home made Dorset button became obsolete. Many people of the Dorset area became impoverished, many moved to faraway lands such as America, Canada, and Australia.