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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

3—Pearl-button Carding

3—Pearl-button Carding.

This form of button-carding is very different from that described in the catalogue—i.e., carding metal buttons. It is a higher branch of the industry, and is only given out to very clean and respectable workers.

Specimen 1 shows a piece of the raw shell from which the buttons are cut. They are imported from the Indies, Australia, and Japan, and cost £4 per hundredweight, bad and good mixed.

Specimen 2 contains pieces of "cut" shell.

Specimen 3 contains specimens that have been "bottomed."

Specimen 4 contains "turned" specimens.

Specimen 5 contains "drilled" specimens.

Finally they are finished and polished, and sent to be "sorted," as "speckies," "yellows," "wavy," "best," &c., are all mixed. "Sorters" only get 4d. to 5d. per score gross. Frequently they "card" also.

Carding pays from 9d. to 1s. 3d. per score gross of buttons, "fancy cards" fetching the higher price. Average price is 1s. Tinfoil and card found, but not cotton.

Carders working early and late may earn 6s. to 7s. a week, if no domestic duties distract their attention.

N.B.—The making—i.e., cutting, drilling, &c.—of pearl buttons causes a disease known as "pearl-rot," which stimulates consumption, and is due to inhaling the fine dust flying from the wheel or cutter, Both men and girls are employed in the manufacturing process.