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Game carrier later adapted as a button stick

Game carrier later adapted as a button stick

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1890-1930 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, leather and brass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122b, case 2

Object Type
This object is a game carrier. It was used to transport game birds, such as pheasants, shot in the field back to the game larder. It has a double rack of two parallel narrow slots in which the bird's heads were held. By the early 20th century game carriers were supplied by large department stores like the Army and Navy and examples can be found in their sale catalogues. A double rack to carry grouse or partridges cost 5 shillings and 9 pence in 1901. Although the object was designed as a game carrier it is thought that it was later adapted for use as a button stick. In order to prevent metal polish from staining a military uniform a button-stick was used when polishing buttons or other metal uniform mounts. The button was passed through the circular hole at the top then moved down the vertical slot. The wooden frame protected the uniform and also raised the button to facilitate polishing. Early military buttons were made of pewter but by the mid-19th century most military buttons were made of brass. To keep them bright they had to be polished regularly.

Historical Association
By tradition, this button-stick was used to polish the harness mounts of the horses that drew the Lord Mayor of London's ceremonial coach. It would also be used to polish the coachman's buttons.

Materials & Making
Game carriers for use in the field had to be hard-wearing, so were usually made of brass.

Physical description

Wooden frame of rectangular shape with two parallel lengthways narrow slots, a leather strap and circular brass lids which fit over two round openings at one end of each of the long narrow slots. The object has been later adapted so that the leather strap has been screwed down over one of the lengthways slots. The brass lids are hinged and can open.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1890-1930 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wood, leather and brass


Height: 51.5 cm, Width: 9 cm, Depth: 5 cm

Object history note

This game carrier was adapted to clean the bottons on the harness mounts on the Lord Mayor of London's horses or on the coachmen's coat .Made in England

Descriptive line

Game carrier later adapted as a button-stick, made from wood, brass and leather, England; 1890-1930


Wood; Brass; Leather


British Galleries; Clothing; Personal accessories; Tools & Equipment


Metalwork Collection

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