For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the buttonhook was an essential everyday item.
They were used to fasten the buttons on shoes and gloves. The hook was simply placed around the button which was then drawn through the hole.
Buttonhook handles were often decorative and came in a variety of materials including silver, brass, semi precious stone, wood and early plastics. Some were used to advertise shops and were given away free. Others were folding and combined tools such as a knife or file.