Real Civil War buttons?

Discussion in 'Militaria' started by Northern Lights Lodge, May 5, 2021.

  1. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    I know little to nothing about civil war era items. These came from my husband's grandmother's button box. Her husband's grandfather and great grandfather both served in the Civil War.

    The large ones are about 1 1/8" across and are stamped SCOVILLE MFG CO - WATERBURY on the back.

    The small ones measure 7/8" across and are also stamped SCOVILLE MFG CO - WATERBURY on the back.

    Are these indeed authentic Civil War era buttons?
    Shouldn't they be gold/brass in color?
    I have not attempted to clean them.
    Should they be cleaned IF they are the real deal and are brass under the tarnish?

    All but one; the one in the lower right corner, look clean and unused... but I can't imagine why his grandmother would have had them; if they hadn't come through the family.
    civil war buttons.JPG civil war buttons2.JPG
    Thanks for any info you may have for me!

    Cheerio, Leslie
    i need help likes this.
  2. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member
    judy, sabre123 and Houseful like this.
  3. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    My computer hangs on the marines website... :(
  4. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    sabre123 likes this.
  5. judy

    judy Well-Known Member

  6. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    Here's a comp of what was shown: A bit of difference, but not major!!!

    komokwa and smallaxe like this.
  7. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your posts and links...

    BUT... now I'm really confused! I see some with the extended wings like mine that are both Civil War and ALSO WWI. Perhaps, however, it does answer some questions; because both seem to be Marine Corp and neither the grandfathers that served in the Civil War were in the Marine Corp. One was in the Calvalry and another was in some Wisconsin Regiment. Neither had mention of Marine in the title.

    The only other military man on that side of the family; enlisted, but for some reason never served... and I don't think he was a marine.

    SO... these shall be a mystery for the time being.

    I do have some additional military buttons... I'll have to post pics of them the next time I run across them.

    Thanks again,
    Aquitaine likes this.
  8. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    Seems to be quite a few to choose wonder they're confusing!!!!!
    Northern Lights Lodge likes this.
  9. Doot Boi

    Doot Boi Active Member

    I dont know. Could be reproduction, could be something they came back with as a random suvonier. All I know for sure is I am definitly waiting to see what a pro might know, as I'd love to get some info on civil war relics!
    Northern Lights Lodge likes this.
  10. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    Yes, I'm pretty confused right now too @Doot Boi. It seems these were at the least - produced for some time and weren't altered often... making it hard to date.

    The search continues for answers! :)
  11. Lark

    Lark Well-Known Member

    military Buttons were usually brass unless officers and those would be gold guild which some times wore off.
    Northern Lights Lodge likes this.
  12. Firemandk

    Firemandk Well-Known Member

  13. DragonflyWink

    DragonflyWink Well-Known Member

    The darkened/blackened 'bronze' color is original, they're in good condition, I'd leave them alone. The button at lower right is likely older, a bit different in design, construction, and backmark - can you get a good image of the marks?

    I don't have access to my button books right now, though I believe someone else here has the 'Big Book of Buttons', and it has a section that may show the button. The backmarks on all but that one seem to have been used for some time, and could possibly date to the Civil War, though it seems debatable (like most references, the uniform button books will have varied information, and some errors) - the inclusion of what may be an earlier button wouldn't necessarily indicate similar dating of the group, could easily be a replacement that was pulled from the button box of a tailor, laundry, family member, etc.

    These appear to have the same backmarks, described as WWI:

    As is this one on a Marine forum:

    This site gives some information on U.S. military buttons, and Scovill backmarks:

  14. say_it_slowly

    say_it_slowly The worst prison is a closed heart

    I do have the 1981 Big Book of Buttons by Hughes and Lester. I don't know if these help but here these are.

    IMG_20210506_163902.jpg IMG_20210506_163921.jpg IMG_20210506_163942.jpg IMG_20210506_164000.jpg
    DragonflyWink likes this.
  15. DragonflyWink

    DragonflyWink Well-Known Member

    Thanks for looking, s_i_s - it's a pretty limited section, so not surprised at what you found, the Navy button is an older Scovill backmark, and the even older Marine 'Treble Gilt' most likely a British manufacturer. Last time I researched military buttons was quite a few years ago, lucky in that our county library had the Tice book...

    say_it_slowly likes this.
  16. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    @Lark that makes sense... and I believe that (being bronze) is what I'm looking at.
  17. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member


    Oh goodness! LOTS to study here!

    First: yes! I had hoped that I was to leave them "untouched". I'm glad to leave the finish as is.

    2nd: I hadn't realized how different that one button WAS until you called it to my attention! It IS different - Including the marking:
    I think it may be difficult to get a good shot of that one - as I had trouble making it out with a loupe.

    In your SCOVILL BUTTON link (just text) under the Leatherneck link - it gives many variations of the back marks! EXCELLENT... and I finally did find mine!

    Which is: SCOVILL MF'G CO (dot) Waterbury (dot) 1850-1865! YEA!

    I did dig out the other buttons: Attached is the photo of the single button back from the original post. Evan's Mfg
    IMG_9118 a.JPG

    And several photos of the other possible Civil War buttons: THE ART METALWORKS NEWARK NJ
    IMG_9116 a.JPG IMG_9116 a.JPG IMG_9115 a.JPG

    These buttons certainly appear to have more wear and seem to have actually been worn. Since they are also 15 star, fouled eagle, anchor with loop and banded background... it seems they are also Marine.

    Were these particular design 15 star, fouled eagle, anchor with loop and banded background used for ANY other military uniform or only MARINE??

    But I think the bottom line is that IF indeed they were only Marine buttons (this applies to the first lot also)... that even though they were found in the great grands button box... we have quite a lot of documentation and know of no family member in ANY era that was a Marine. So, even if we do date them to the Civil War... it appears that they didn't come from a family member's uniform. So I'm left scratching my head! LOL!

    I do love the research part...even though it can drive me batty!
    Thanks for your help!
  18. DragonflyWink

    DragonflyWink Well-Known Member

    Hi Leslie - can you tell me where you found that information regarding your Scovill backmark? And should note the caveat regarding dating for the backmarks, at the end of the clip I posted from

    The Evans button could be Civil War era, or even earlier (1848+), but I'd suspect later.

    The Art Metal Works in Newark (Ronson) didn't exist until the mid 1890s...

    They are Marine Corps buttons, 13 stars rather than 15 (for obvious reasons).

    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  19. Northern Lights Lodge

    Northern Lights Lodge Well-Known Member

    OH! DUH! Of course, re: the stars.
    I'm going to have to get back to you re: your question...
    I'm dog tired and just posted the big lesson on Stumpwork.
    Thanks for your response... I'll be back in touch!
    DragonflyWink likes this.
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