There is a lot to know about buttons!! ... And they are important!!
It is kind of amazing to us that we're devoting a page on our website to BUTTONS. But like just about everything in this world, it turns out there is far more to buttons than we ever suspected before we got involved with them.
The primary manufacturer of buttons in the USA is a company known as either Emsig or US Button. Two names for the same company.
We have always used Melamine Buttons on our garments because they are the best, according to the US Military. And here are some comments on Melamine from Burt Elliot, Operations Manager at US Button, “... simply the most durable product on the planet. At US buttons we make an item that is the superman of the industry. Our buttons can withstand fire, high impact, thousands of washings and, up to this moment, anything else that's been thrown at them. The resins that we use are time tested and of the finest and most consistent grade. It's no small wonder why we sell our buttons to companies that demand durability, Quality, and reliability. As an added bonus we were able to employ a staff and factory here in the USA ... not an easy task in today's world.”
And we were very happy since Day One to be using the best, toughest buttons on the market. But our philosophy at WeatherWool is to always do whatever we can to improve the quality of our products. And in 2014 or so, a customer told us about Slot Buttons. So we contacted Russell Breiter, whose career is BUTTONS. We think of Russell as THE BUTTON KING. In the picture below, Russell is showing us his Button Sample Racks ... each of the boxes you see contains a gross or two of a different type of button. And there are THOUSANDS of those boxes in that room, located in the Garment District of New York City.
Above is a picture of Debby and Ralph in Russell's Button Room ... and below, a sense of the rows and rows of shelves bearing an incredible number of samples of different types of Buttons!
Russell knew all about Slot Buttons, and fortunately for WeatherWool, US Button makes them in the USA ... and they make them from Melamine ... the best material from which to make Buttons. Again we quote Burt Elliot: “The new slotted button is the newest addition to our product line. This button will make any garment it goes on a true winner.”
We fully agree ... and once we investigated Slot Buttons, we knew they were our Buttons going forward.
You can see Slot Buttons pictured below. Instead of attaching the button to the garment via thread, the Slot Button is attached (in the case of WeatherWool) to a strip of extremely tough Mil-Spec nylon fabric. The nylon runs up through one slot of the button and then down through the other slot of the button. The nylon fabric is sewn to the garment on either side of the button.
In the picture above, the Slot Buttons have been arranged on the Nylon Fabric with spacing that must match the button holes. The Fabric strip will next be sewn to the garment. Attaching buttons in this fashion is far more labor-intensive than standard buttons. But the extra security is well worth it. Below, the slot buttons are shown on our All-Around Jacket, where we use them in several places. In the picture you can see slot buttons securing the Flap over the Cargo Pocket and on the underside of the collar, where they secure the optional Double Hood and the Throat Latch. But mainly, you will notice the Slot Buttons secure the Storm Flap over the Center Front Zipper. We added a Storm Flap to this latest generation of our All-Around Jac not only to make the Jacket warmer for the wearer, but also to help keep the Zipper warm! Our Zippers are guaranteed to temperatures down to -20F/-29C, but Chad, who designed our Ski Jacket, tells us it is frequently colder than that on the slopes at Vermont's Sugarbush resort.
US Buttons has made a very serious commitment to the Slot Buttons ... just the mold needed to make these Buttons cost $28,000. For our part, the purchase price of these Buttons is about 25 times more than the typical four-hole Button ... even Four-Hole Buttons made from Melamine. Add in the labor of attaching the Slot Buttons and we figure these Buttons are probably 75 times more expensive than standard buttons (let alone the imported buttons used on most garments!). BUT ... they are a big improvement, and that is the end-all, be-all for us.
We no longer use the standard Four-Hole Buttons on our garments ... if you know anyone who wants about 70,000 Four-Hole Melamine Buttons, please let us know!
Thanks to Russell and Emsig / US Button for a great product that our customers can rely upon in some of the most demanding situations that anyone might face.