Now You Know

Buttons are ancient, but buttonholes are not. Romans decorated their clothing with buttons thousands of years ago, but the idea of a buttonhole did not occur to anyone until the 13th century in what is now northern Germany. Cultures in mild climates (Greeks, Romans, Egyptians) wore loose-fitting togas and cloaks. Cold-weather Eskimos and Vikings slipped clothing over their heads and cinched it with belts or straps. The Chinese had toggles and loops, but the button eluded them. Buttonholes revolutionized clothing, but historians don't know whom to credit - or thank.

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