Dating scovill buttons
In 1840, with the introduction and spread of daguerreotype photography in the United States, Scovill began to manufacture the silver-plated copper sheets used in the process, and then added other photographic equipment to their line of goods. American Optical became the manufacturing division of Scovill and produced all of the Scovill Waterbury cameras, as well a separate line of somewhat higher quality equipment under the American Optical name.
Scovill was primarily a distributor of photographic equipment and supplies, but in the 1860s acquired the American Optical Company which at that time owned the manufacturing facilities of Nelson Wright, John Stock, and C. From the 1840s through 1900, Scovill and the Anthony company followed parallel lines of growth, and each was the others major competition. Scovill incorporated in 1850, becoming The Scovill Manufacturing Company.
BOGETT 1825-1832 JOHN BOYLAN 1850-1880'S CAIRN & CO. 1840-1860'S CARTER / LOMBARD STREET LONDON 1790'S WILLIAM CRUMPTON 1807-1823 CULLEN BROWN 1840'S CUMNER JONES & CO.
(If you arrived on this page directly from a link on a search engine or another website and want to take this online vintage images tour of Waterbury from the beginning or create your own customized tour, click here)The Scovill Manufacturing Company, founded as Abel Porter & Company in 1802, was originally a brassworks that manufactured brass buttons, sewing hardware, and other brass and copper items in their factory that was formerly the John Hopkins Grist Mill on the Mad River at Mill Street.
The first Scovill Manufacturing Company buildings on Mill Street in the early 1900s and the 1980s.
The button above on the left shows mushrooming where the shank meets the back of the button. Although lack of mushrooming is not "proof" that your button is Civil War period, this factor along with understanding of certain backmarks, face designs and other construction methods can help determine the age of a uniform button.
I've been told that a very small, very round shank "eye" could be a good sign of a Civil War period button as well.