Johnson Smith Buttons

Johnson Smith Buttons

A friend from Drag City Records in Chicago shared this awesome Johnson Smith Company catalog of buttonsBusy Beaver Buttons collects the “Confucius says” pins made by the same company circa 1934 from Detroit.

Johnson Smith started in 1904 making novelties in Australia, moved to Chicago, Michigan, Wisconsin, and still does business to this day, over a century later, in Florida.

The catalog explains how buttons are an ice breaker:

These Buttons provide subjects for pleasant jokes an amusing conversation, and thus smooth the way to a more familiar acquaintance and cordial friendship.  They are very wittily worded and quite unobjectionable.  Wear one and see the effect.

Are these buttons icebreakers…or pick up lines?  You decide:

Slip it to me

It’s Right Here for You

Smile Darn You Smile

I am the Vampire Kid

Pretty forward-looking for 1930s pop culture, don’t you think?  What’s the 2009 version of these buttons?

Click here to read about Johnson Smith Company history.

Click here to order custom buttons from