Pinback Buttons: from Politics to Activism

Stop Lynching, Vintage Pinback Button

Stop Lynching part of the 1930s Civil Rights movement. Image Credit Hake`s

Pinback buttons have been around and used for hundreds of years – literally hundreds of years; the first patented pin was made in the United States in 1896! Pinback buttons have mainly had a political application being used to promote a political candidate and their slogans, but the last few decades we’ve seen them used for activism such has the civil rights movement, saving the rainforests & many other causes, like the equal rights to marry.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling making on equal marriage rights, making it a right across the United States, I wanted to share some pinback buttons that others have made to help the cause and that promote equality for the LGBTQ community.

Pinback Buttons might not be able to directly change the world, but they can help by making it easier for you to be heard!!

Rainbow LGBTQ Pride Flag button by ThatLovelyBrooch

Foster Equality, Vintage Button found on Ebay

Rainbow Run, vintage 1990s Pin, found on Etsy

Rainbow Run, vintage 1990s Pin, found on Etsy



Gay Pride Buttons made by Mehoi

Various LGBTQ Pins made by Mehoi in Toronto

Ally - Rainbow Pride button

Ally Pride Button made by The Little Kangaroo

LGBT Rainbow flag button by ThatLovelyBrooch

YES, Marriage Equality

Yes to Marriage Equality Pins by PointyPins

Rare Button Sells for $15,100

Last month, a rare button sold for $15,100 on ebay.  The button is from the 1920 United States presidential election.  It features a picture of the Democratic nominee for President Governor James Cox of Ohio and the Vic Presidential candidate Franklin D Roosevelt.

The seller described the button as the “holy grail of political buttons”.  The auction had 18 bids.  The seller had little knowledge of the actual value of the button until it was listed.  The seller even threatened to cancel the auction if a higher bid wasn’t reached.  A few pictures of the button can be found below.

Cox and Roosevelt Political Button

Cox and Roosevelt Button - 2

Harvey Milk Political Buttons

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in U.S. history.

Sean Penn portrays Harvey Milk in the Oscar nominated film Milk.

A political junkie and button collector sent a note to Ken Rudin of NPR bragging about his Harvey Milk campaign buttons.  Well, Ken Rudin is a political junkie and collector himself and posts pictures of his Harvey Milk campaign buttons.

Head on over over to NPR to see some Harvey Milk political buttons.

Barack Obama Button Templates

If you would like to use your button machine to make Barack Obama buttons, there are several websites that have templates and graphics ready to be printed out.

A website called Buttons4Obama has a lot of resources available.

Chris Cox over at Change the Thought has several different designs available for download.

Over at Mercer County for Obama, they have button templates available in 2.25″, 1.75″, and 1.25″.

If you have some templates for download, let us know.

Buttons on Display at New York Museum

The Museum of the City of New York has an exhibit through election day that features political buttons and a variety of other political memorabilia.  Campaigning for President: New York and the American Election opened on June 24 and has buttons, oil lamps, a George Washington coat button, and more.

New York Museum Features Campaign Memorabilia in Exhibit Through Election Day – Fox News

Barack Obama / Larry Craig Button Snafu

A button maker in Idaho mistakenly put a picture of Barack Obama and Larry Craig on the same button.  You may remember Larry Craig as the Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho who was arrested in airport bathroom for lewd conduct.

Tigereye Design accidently put Craig in the picture instead of Larry LaRocco, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Idaho.  Craig is not seeking re-election.

Change Obama can’t believe in; he’s on a ticket with Larry Craig – LA Times