18th c tricorne, and brass buttons SOLVED

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Shadowcat
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18th c tricorne, and brass buttons SOLVED

Post by Shadowcat »

I have a customer would might like a tricorne for his wedding. I have one person I use regularly, but I know there are others, so hatters please?

Also, he had the bright idea of wanting brass buttons on his suit, 30 for the coat, 18 for the waistcoat, slightly smaller, and about 15 for the breeches. Anyone know where I can find same?

S.
Last edited by Shadowcat on Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Phil the Grips
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Post by Phil the Grips »

Dog's danglies tricorns here-
http://www.kittyhats.co.uk/
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Post by Tuppence »

best quality ones I've found are from the states (townsends http://jas-townsend.com/).

Sutlers stores do them here, but the quality is so-so, and doesn't compare to the american ones.
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Post by steve stanley »

Townsend's Fur felt are about the ultimate......
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Post by Shadowcat »

Thanks all - I've passed the addresses on to the customer.

S.

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Post by gregory23b »

I have a brown tricorn, hand blocked, hardened, with cockade loop, button and lined by Kitty hats, superb work. Much better than off the shelf hats, even Jas Townsends, only thing it is one piece, rather than two, but the dog's nuts indeed.
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Post by Tuppence »

Nige reminded me tonight that I had a problem with the brass buttons from Sutlers Stores.

The shanks are too small on some of the sizes - you can't get a normal needle through the shank because it hits the button - I had to use a beading needle (soft enough to bend). Wasn't on all of them, but on enough to be annoying. I'd have returned them if I'd realised in time.
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Post by Andy R »

I used to get plain brass buttons from Warhorse trading, but their website has been removed.

They 3/4" and 1" brass buttons we used for 18th century stuff - good quality as I remember. They were ACW plain brass buttons.

Although if they are imported, there is a chance that Suttlers use the same supplier, and they aren't as good as they were ten years ago.
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Post by Tuppence »

historical button generally for later periods tend to be soooo much better from US suppliers.

I suppose less reliance on the indian stuff.

Key over here is to go to the non-re-enactment button manufacturers, especially for military, but they're getting harder to find.
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Post by Neibelungen »

95% of the American buttons and metalwork are all made in Pakistan or China.

GG, Townsends etc all source their stuff from there.

It's scale, there's 5 times the numbers, so it's viable to import them after tooling costs.

Over here, a minimum order will be 250 buttons at £3.00 a pop, plus £250 for the die tooling from the button makers.

Pakistan might want a 1,000 order munimum, but there only 50p.

Either way, your mostly dealing with an order of about 50 buttons so your left with holding £350 expenses before you make any return. That's either another 200 expensive ones or 700 indian. and you probably be waiting 3 years before clearing that. To the american market, that only 6-7 months, which is viable

Ps.. as soon as you get an asian made pattern, they'll flood it out to the americans too, so that market vanishes.

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Post by Shadowcat »

Neibelungen wrote: Either way, your mostly dealing with an order of about 50 buttons so your left with holding £350 expenses before you make any return. That's either another 200 expensive ones or 700 indian. and you probably be waiting 3 years before clearing that. To the american market, that only 6-7 months, which is viable

Ps.. as soon as you get an asian made pattern, they'll flood it out to the americans too, so that market vanishes.
I already told the costumer this was a bad idea, but like a good little costume maker I promised to do a little research. Andy you have simply confirmed what I already thought.

I plan to get covered buttons, or use some *suitable* ready made ones I found in a junk/thrift/second hand/whatever shop ages ago.

S.

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Post by Neibelungen »

Pm if you need plain brass. I should have a load floating around here in a box. Not sure on exact numbers though.

If your not in a desperate hurry I've the tooling to to blank plain and shallow domed ones in 5/8 7/8 and 1"

Towards the end of the year will be doing die-stuck, single piece ,short runs in gilt copper & gilding metal.
Working towards bone and wood backs if I can source a reasonable cost supplier for those parts.

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Post by Tuppence »

95% of the American buttons and metalwork are all made in Pakistan or China.
I'd contest that actually.

About half of the palces I've found over the years make their own. And they mostly work out cheaper than the Indian crap, and for far better quality.

And they beat the stuff available here either on price or on quality in every case.



The townsend ones may be made in India, but they still beat the others hands down on quality.

Just because something's Indian, doesn't make it bad. That only happens when the importers have no QC.
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Post by Ronco »

If you are still stuck try thinredline, they do half ball brass buttons of good quality, but slightly pricey but in UK.

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Post by Neibelungen »

The americans do a large range of pewter, (plain and regimental) and have some good sculptors, but there's nothing really available in brass.

It's all the rimmed dommed pattern out of india and flat sheets styles. Try finding an engraved brass style typical of the 18th C. Or gilt copper shells on wood. And plated pewter is like butt ring maile.

Only DG has proper 18th century pattern pewter castings (on their more recent ones), with seperate iron wire shanks. and their Canadians.


It all comes down to the cost factor.. there's simply not the demand over here to make it worthwhile. Or the return to justify the effort.

I supply Williamsburg with their speciality designs because they can't get them made out there where it's not industrially scaled, viable for india or isn't plated pewter.

Buttons are like mail and plate armour.. unless you want something really specialized and are prepared to pay the price, you get the asian made stuff because it's affordable. And it's avaialble off the peg. But you only get what they all make.

I've never said that asian work isn't potentially of good quality. some of it is. But that fact you really have to heavily quality control it says something

The American's havn't killed off there small scalle manufacturing yet, unlike this country, with a much cheaper labour force. They have a bigger TV and film industry and the whole different scale of museum and heritage events. Where's the SCA or Ren Fairs in this country.

As for quality.. well try finding a decent RN flag button over there that isn't an LBB. Master & Commander came over here for the costumes because they couldn't get it made out there.

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Post by Neibelungen »

Much the same priciples goes with hat makers.

There's only two serious hat makers for the re-enactment field (18th C at least) which is Kitty Hats and Tom Norbury.

Kitty does it part time and Tom sells mostly blanks and blocked, rather than the complete finished hat. He's not a hatter, but a hat dealer as such.

Sutler's store really is a film and theatre supplierfor the most part.

If you want quality and accuracy, then you go to somebody like Jane Smith. but don't expect change from £300 for a proper bicorn. (how many have heard of her ? )

That's the difference.


You look at the states and there's at least two major and a dozen minor dealers in hats exclusively. Dirty Billy and Cllearwater are hat makers of the highest quality, but again.the vast bulk of what they do is revolutionary war and civil war, with a bit of western thrown in.

But then look at their prices.. Not too many will pay £150+ for a top of the range when you can go with a £25 turned up brim job from Townsends. Or £100 for fur felt

Hell, this country dosen't even have a felt hood maker left. it's czech or german imports

I think the trouble is that the Uk market for makers simply isn't big enough to support them and give them a chance to grow and improve. Some of it's down to the makers themselves. Some of them just aren't good business people, myself included.

Some of it's down to spending... American standard of living tends to allow a higher degree of personal spending (excluding the credit crunch where the reality caught up)

Re-enactment business doesn't promote itself in the same way as the americans doo either.. We don't market like them, or advocate that kind of commercialism. And i general were all pretty poor at dealing with websites, online retailing. Sellings frowned on compared to the states.



(Rant\)Well that's rant mode over and divergence from the topic finished (/Rant)

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Post by steve stanley »

Neibelungen wrote:
Re-enactment business doesn't promote itself in the same way as the americans doo either.. We don't market like them, or advocate that kind of commercialism. And i general were all pretty poor at dealing with websites, online retailing. Sellings frowned on compared to the states.



(Rant\)Well that's rant mode over and divergence from the topic finished (/Rant)
Which is part of the reasons why I tend to buy from the US/Canada,rather than track down & deal with someone over here..........
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Post by Kittyhats »

Thanks for the plug Jorge =oX I'll send himself along to the Palace with a bottle of something nice BH weekend.
We could probably make hats to match the american ones, no correction we can do it, Marc has been pushing me to include linings and sweatbands and for us to use more fur felts, but the big problem would be the price, people are not prepared to pay what it would cost to make up a historically accurate hat, sure they'll fork out for half a dozen 'meh' swords or an indian muskets or two but baulk at paying over £50 for a hat and for that I can only supply costume NOT clothing.

Sorry rant over, it's been a trying month.
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Post by Andy R »

Kittyhats wrote:sure they'll fork out for half a dozen 'meh' swords or an indian muskets or two but baulk at paying over £50 for a hat and for that I can only supply costume NOT clothing.

Sorry rant over, it's been a trying month.
Have to say £50 for a good tricorn in this country ain't bad at all.

Some of NFOE paid more than that over ten years ago.

The thing is, your kit can be as spanky as you like, but a bad hat will always make it look naf

or to quote Debbie…
Tuppence wrote:"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."
Or the bloke from Mad Max
bloke from Mad Max wrote:"speed is a question of money - how fast do you want to go."
Or put simply, you get what you pay for.
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Re: 18th century tricorne, and brass buttons

Post by THE MAYOR »

Hi all our Town Crier of Kidsgrove has a tricorn from Jas Townsend USA it is great quality and looks the part,so much so our Town Crier has won "Best dressed" :thumbup: on two of his three competitions.
John Parsons

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Re: 18th century tricorne, and brass buttons

Post by Nigel »

THE MAYOR wrote:Hi all our Town Crier of Kidsgrove has a tricorn from Jas Townsend USA it is great quality and looks the part,so much so our Town Crier has won "Best dressed" :thumbup: on two of his three competitions.
John Parsons

yes and we have agreed they are the bottom line if he wants a GOOD ONE go to Kitty abd support BRITISH INDUSTRY I woudl ahve thought that as a mayor of an English town you would have thought od this ? We tned having been palying this dress up game for some years to knwo where to go and personally I wouldnt touch townsends with a bargepole I will go to Kitty if I need to or Birty Billy as I have a hat of his given as a gift.

Sorry to sound terse but the recomendation of a town crier who I do not know as aposed to the thoughts of all the posters above who I know abd respect does not hold much water
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Post by frances »

Last time I was wearing a tricorn it rained on the procession. I'm so glad I was wearing one from a dressing-up shop that cost me about a fiver, donkey's years ago.

I've dressed it up with gold braid and a parrot. Not authentic, but a no-worry solution to English weather.

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