Newtel Incorporated

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Navy ButtonButtons

Early craftsmen used engraving tools no larger than toothpicks to hand-tool dies for intricate button designs laden with exquisite detail.

Silver ButtonToday, computer-aided design and technology reduces tooling time for a new design to two to three days. Still, hand tooling is, at times, as indispensable as it was in the past.

Air Force ButtonCraftspeople still make artful cuts by hand to produce high-domed buttons or designs too creative to trust to a computer. The dies are fitted into stamping presses, where button shells are embossed with designs. From there, button shells are plated in gold, silver or chemical finishes before they're polished, attached to separately produced backs, lacquered and packed for shipping to customers around the world.