Post By TheCannonballGuy
Jul 02, 2012, 09:24 PM
"Thos Cahill Boston" backmark help
posted this on th ebutton forum but did not get any replies. so I'll try it here.
Is anyone familiar with the "Thos Cahill Boston" backmark. Dug an eagle button with this mark. I believe there may be an "A" in the center but cannot be sure as the center of the button is dented and corroded and the shield is not discernable at all. Does appear to be part of a faint "A"" in the center but I could be imagining it.
Cannot find the backmark listed in Alberts book.
Jul 02, 2012 09:24 PM
Jul 02, 2012, 10:06 PM
Its in my "AMERICAN MILITARY BUTTON MAKERS AND DEALERS; THEIR BACKMARKS & DATES" book by McGuinn & Bazelon given to me by CannonBallGuy.
THOS. CAHILL/* BOSTON * "Cahill was listed alone as a merchant tailor at 141 Washington St. only in 1850. He was with John Earle Jr. & Co. from 1844-49 & in 1851 with Richardson Messenger & Co. (Cahill). From at least 1865-63, he was with the tailoring firm of Messenger & Cahill at 28 Court St. Their address in 1868 was 84 Washington St."
Last edited by Bigcypresshunter; Jul 02, 2012 at 10:09 PM.
Jul 02, 2012, 10:46 PM
I have that book and I could not find it. What copy do you have? Mine is "1984 Revised". If that is the edition you have then please tell me what page it is on.
Thanks for the info. That's a start. Maybe someone else can chime in with more info. Such as dates of manufacture as the listing you have given does not really indicate that. Would have to assume from the listing that the button would be 1850.
Jul 02, 2012, 10:54 PM
My book is the 1992 Expanded Edition on page 122 of the Addenda. I copied it word for word and Im not sure if it means this backmark was 1850 or 1844-68? CBG is more familiar with the book. Its worth more if its CW era but you said poor condition. A picture is necessary for identification.
Originally Posted by Mark S.
Jul 02, 2012, 11:26 PM
That backmark has been found on "eagle A" and "eagle I" buttons (which are for officers), but not on "plain" eagle buttons (for Enlisted-men).
The "style" of the eagle on your button's front will give us an approximate (but reasonably close) idea of its date. Please post some well-focused, close-up photos of it.
Jul 02, 2012, 11:33 PM
Here is a photo. It measure .920 dia.
Jul 03, 2012, 10:12 PM
Mark, thank you for supplying a photo of the button ...and especially, for supplying the PRECISE measurement of its diameter (.920-inch).
The photo and precise measurement have enabled me to give you a 100%-certain ID of your button.
First, it size:
Your button's .920-inch (23mm) diameter means it is one of the rarest sizes of the five sizes of civil war era US Army eagle buttons... the "overcoat" size. (The other four sizes are kepi, cuff, vest, and coat.)
Now, its specific ID:
Although the shield on your button's eagle is obliterated beyond recognition, I "microscopically" compared subtle details of the eagle's shape (such as the wings' angle and form, number of tailfeathers, shape of the eagle's legs, angle of the clasped arrows, etc) with those of every yankee eagle-button pictured in the various button-books. It is definitely an eagle-I button, not an eagle-A or any other version. Your button was manufactured by the firm of R.&W. Robinson or its successor company D.Evans & Co., of Attleboro Massachusetts, sometime between 1843 and 1855.
For verification, you can view a photo of what your button looked like when it was new, listed as button #GI122A1, on page 114 of Warren Tice's book titled "Uniform Buttons of the United States 1776-1865. Or, you can compare your button with a non-excavated example of a GI122A1 button in the photo below.
Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Jul 03, 2012 at 10:35 PM.
Jul 04, 2012, 09:53 AM
Thankyou very much for the extensive ID. The shape of the eagle does appear to be an exact match. I am confused as to the backmark. Was Cahill producing buttons for Robinson or Evans? Or is this an unknown factor?
Jul 04, 2012, 11:40 AM
The answer to your question is no, Cahill did not manufacture buttons, he was a tailor who made uniforms.
The answer to your being "confused about the backmark" is that the name in most button-backmarks is NOT the name of the button's manufacturer. Like most backmarks, the Cahill backmark is an example of what is called a "custom" or "customer" backmark.
Explanation of a "custom" or "customer" backmark:
Clothing-makers (such as tailors) and military uniform makers and clothing "dealers" did not have button-making machinery in their clothing-shop. So, the clothing-makers would order buttons from button-manufacturing companies such as Scovill, Robinson, Evans, etc. As a courtesy to their clothing-making customers (like Mr. Cahill), for a small extra fee the button-manufacturers would put the clothing-maker's name in the button's backmark, as a form of ADVERTIZING.
This is why some buttons are found with a backmark saying "Brooks Brothers" or "Hyde & Goodrich" or "Horstmann" -- even though none of those companies ever manufactured a button. They were merely clothing/uniform SELLERS.
In actuality, the vast majority (approximately 95%) of the backmark-names listed in the various button-books are merely "custom"/customer backmarks -- NOT the name of the button's manufacturer. The information I've given you in this post comes from the book "American Military Buttons Makers And Dealers; Their Backmarks & Dates", which explains about custom/customer backmarks.
Jul 05, 2012, 05:03 AM
Thanks again. I did not realize that about backmarks.
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