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Cute as a Morley Button

Morley Presents
Historic Portsmouth #267

James Morley needed strong uniform buttons to make his sewing machine invention work. It attached buttons to high button shoes. Morley eventually gave up on the sewing machine and stuck to buttons. By 1899 the plant had moved to Portsmouth from Beverly, MA and was the largest of its kind in the world. (Continued below)


This is the cover of a "magic button" sampler box used to advertise the Morley Button Factory in the West End on Islington Street. Now a haven for creative artists, the "button factory" was once a major Portsmouth industry. Inside the "buttonaid" box was a healthy supply of buttons and a button-shaped booklet called "Tremendous Trifles" that featured a button-shaped mascot who looked a lot like Speedy Alka-Seltzer. Among the handy tips, the booklet suggests that mom cut down dad’s suit for junior. A brief history of the button (from the French "bouton") is included with a healthy supply of durable, almost unbreakable, molded plastic buttons from Portsmouth, NH. (Courtesy Collection)

Morley Button kit, Portsmouth, NH /

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Morley Button Factory samples /


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Friday, December 15, 2017 
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