There once was a young, unmarried woman who lived during the latter part of the 19th Century. She loved to collect buttons, especially those given to her by family or friends. Because each button held a special meaning or memory for her, she decided to thread them, one by one, on a long string. Her string consisted of buttons made of many types of materials, including glass, metal, enamel, china, and even rubber.
The young woman was not the only person of her time to collect buttons in this fashion. In fact, these long strings of buttons were plentiful enough to be given the name "charmstrings". Through the years, hundreds of buttons could be collected by an individual. Some women believed that when they reached a certain number of buttons, such as 500, they would find a husband.
On the charmstring pictured, there are 745 buttons, and it is about 6 feet long. Few charmstrings such as this have survived the decades. Most were not cherished as family heirlooms, but cut apart to harvest individual buttons. The steward of this lovely charmstring is Carol Cienna, President of the L.A. California Button Club. You can learn more about charmstrings and vintage buttons if you visit her site, firstname.lastname@example.org
Did the young woman mentioned at the beginning find her Prince Charming when her string of buttons reached 500? Possibly. All that is known for certain is that she lived happily ever after with her buttons.
If you love buttons, consider joining The National Button Society http://nationalbuttonsociety.org/Home.html