Solved: "puffback"/"blowhole" button from a colonial field, and other finds

brianc053

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Morris County, NJ
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Hi everyone. I'm hoping the experts on here can offer a bit more information on one of the buttons I found over the weekend in a southern NJ field with a home site that dates to colonial times.

I don't think the button is anything special, but it's different than others I've found and I'm just trying to learn. I thought it might be like a ball button, but it's not the right shape. It's a 1-piece and a mix of brass/tombac. It is NOT magnetic, which surprised me (I thought the shank was iron).

In the pictures below you can see the unusual button from different angles, and you'll see that it's sort of flying-saucer shaped, with a shank that is offcenter. In the fourth picture it's in the middle between a classic tombac (left, 1700's) and a "super fine" tiny cuff button (right, 1800's). All 3 were found near each other (within 50 feet).

I included a picture of all of the finds from the day, including all the lead (yellow box), the buttons (red) and various shoe buckle pieces (green), which I assembled into a sort-of Frankenstein shoe buckle in the last picture. Sadly the only coin I found that day was a wheat penny (I was with another detectorist who found a cut Matron Head LC and a 2-holed KG that was probably a whizzer/spinner - he found that while he was walking 5 feet to my left, which reminds me that this hobby is influenced by luck/chance quite a bit...).

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me about that unusual button.

- Brian

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VaGent

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Apr 20, 2021
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Is it solid cast, or does it feel hollow? The hollow ones we call "puffback" buttons around my area, and they date to the 1700s like tombacs. They often have small air vents on the back from the manufacturing process.
 

CRUSADER

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Is it solid cast, or does it feel hollow? The hollow ones we call "puffback" buttons around my area, and they date to the 1700s like tombacs. They often have small air vents on the back from the manufacturing process.
Agreed, looks like one of those 18th C types.
 
OP
brianc053

brianc053

Hero Member
Jan 27, 2015
866
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Morris County, NJ
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Is it solid cast, or does it feel hollow? The hollow ones we call "puffback" buttons around my area, and they date to the 1700s like tombacs. They often have small air vents on the back from the manufacturing process.
Thank you VaGent (and Crusader) for the information.
Upon more careful examination I think I can see where the air vent was once upon a time.

Huh - a "puffback" - I learned something new today, thank you!

S20220509_001.jpg
 

VaGent

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Apr 20, 2021
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Heres a similar one from a colonial site in Virginia.
 

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Hunk-a-lead

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Dec 20, 2020
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Primary Interest:
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Hi everyone. I'm hoping the experts on here can offer a bit more information on one of the buttons I found over the weekend in a southern NJ field with a home site that dates to colonial times.

I don't think the button is anything special, but it's different than others I've found and I'm just trying to learn. I thought it might be like a ball button, but it's not the right shape. It's a 1-piece and a mix of brass/tombac. It is NOT magnetic, which surprised me (I thought the shank was iron).

In the pictures below you can see the unusual button from different angles, and you'll see that it's sort of flying-saucer shaped, with a shank that is offcenter. In the fourth picture it's in the middle between a classic tombac (left, 1700's) and a "super fine" tiny cuff button (right, 1800's). All 3 were found near each other (within 50 feet).

I included a picture of all of the finds from the day, including all the lead (yellow box), the buttons (red) and various shoe buckle pieces (green), which I assembled into a sort-of Frankenstein shoe buckle in the last picture. Sadly the only coin I found that day was a wheat penny (I was with another detectorist who found a cut Matron Head LC and a 2-holed KG that was probably a whizzer/spinner - he found that while he was walking 5 feet to my left, which reminds me that this hobby is influenced by luck/chance quite a bit...).

Thanks in advance for anything you can tell me about that unusual button.

- Brian

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great finds all around
 

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