Vintage Casein Coat Buttons

    Casein plastics were developed at the very end of the 19th century.  Casein - milk protein - was ground into powder, then mixed into a paste which was then hardened by prolonged immersion in formaldehyde.  Thick slabs could take nearly a year!  Manufacture of casein plastics began in Germany and France, where it was introduced as Galalith (from the Greek for "milk stone").  The new material was hard and took a good polish, and like celluloid, could readily be colored to imitate natural materials such as horn, ivory, and tortoiseshell.  Casein plastic was used for articles ranging from jewelry to fountain pens, but found its special niche in the manufacture of buttons.  It was produced under a wide range of trade names, "Erinoid" being one of the most prominent English brands.

   If you find some buttons that you want to order, please email me with the number and description at  I will send you an invoice through Paypal, or I will accept Money Orders, and Credit cards by phone. When you send your email order, include your phone number if you will be using a credit card, and I will call you to complete the credit card process.