snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Trivia

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 29 December 2008, 01:40 PM
Canuckistan's Avatar
Canuckistan Canuckistan is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 30,122
Ponder Jacket sleeve buttons that don't button

Taken from my calender of "More of the Dumbest Things Ever Said or Done":

Quote:
Frederick the Great of Prussia had buttons sewn on the sleeves of his soliders' coats. Why? To stop them from wiping their noses on their sleeves -- and that's how men's jackets got sleeve buttons that don't button.
There's no citation for this. Anyone know anything about the topic?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 29 December 2008, 02:04 PM
DemonWolf's Avatar
DemonWolf DemonWolf is offline
 
Join Date: 24 April 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 13,114
Wolf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuckistan View Post
Taken from my calender of "More of the Dumbest Things Ever Said or Done":



There's no citation for this. Anyone know anything about the topic?
I had heard that Napoleon added them either for this reason, or because he had a relative who would inspect the troops and would inspect the soldiers' pants buttons (this was before zippers) as an excuse to feel the mens' crothes. The buttons were added to the sleeves so that the men could trick the pervy general into a handshake instead of a groping.

No idea whether its true, but it is entertaining.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 29 December 2008, 02:06 PM
AnglRdr's Avatar
AnglRdr AnglRdr is offline
 
Join Date: 06 June 2002
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 50,681
Default

On the contrary, when I was in boot camp, I was told the reason we wore long-sleeved shirts (in Orlando, FL, August-October, fwiw) is so we would have something to wipe our noses on. We were not allowed to have tissues.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01 January 2009, 09:30 PM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,790
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
On the contrary, when I was in boot camp, I was told the reason we wore long-sleeved shirts (in Orlando, FL, August-October, fwiw) is so we would have something to wipe our noses on. We were not allowed to have tissues.
I have heard that ties were invented for the same reason, to wipe your nose.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02 January 2009, 01:27 AM
Ravenhull's Avatar
Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 1,935
Sneeze

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
I have heard that ties were invented for the same reason, to wipe your nose.
Hmmmm... and the origin I heard was to conceal 'lower class' buttons on shirts.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02 January 2009, 02:00 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

I always thought it was a rank thing - the more buttons on your sleeve, the higher up you are.

I think there is an article about this on the main page, but I'm too tired/lazy to look, sorry.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02 January 2009, 04:32 PM
Tarquin Farquart's Avatar
Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
Join Date: 20 November 2005
Location: London, UK
Posts: 16,354
Default

Quote:
To stop them from wiping their noses on their sleeves -- and that's how men's jackets got sleeve buttons that don't button.
Just use the other side of the sleeve. Works for me.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:47 AM
Sebbenth's Avatar
Sebbenth Sebbenth is offline
 
 
Join Date: 09 July 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 1,221
Default

According to what I've heard, the soldiers were supposed to shoot with the buttons as the weapon of last resort (those buttons looked a lot more like grapeshot than modern buttons do and were made out of led), but I can't give you quotes.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 27 January 2009, 03:32 AM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,159
United Kingdom

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebbenth View Post
According to what I've heard, the soldiers were supposed to shoot with the buttons as the weapon of last resort (those buttons looked a lot more like grapeshot than modern buttons do and were made out of led), but I can't give you quotes.
British uniform buttons have always been made from brass or copper. (at least the ones in all the museums are.)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 27 January 2009, 06:09 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Hmmmm... and the origin I heard was to conceal 'lower class' buttons on shirts.
I've heard it evolved from some kind of scarf.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:13 PM
rangerdog's Avatar
rangerdog rangerdog is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2002
Location: IOP Soiuth Carolina
Posts: 6,204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnglRdr View Post
On the contrary, when I was in boot camp, I was told the reason we wore long-sleeved shirts (in Orlando, FL, August-October, fwiw) is so we would have something to wipe our noses on. We were not allowed to have tissues.
Only snivley nosed Navy candidates get to use their sleeves. The rest of us used rocks and leaves.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:40 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
Posts: 6,657
Default

Isn't it just possible that at one time the buttons were functional (e.g., if the cuffs were a little small one may need the ends of the jacket arms to be buttonable) and the non-functional ones were added later because of the look?

Nick
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:46 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
Join Date: 28 June 2005
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 5,279
Icon24

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
Isn't it just possible that at one time the buttons were functional (e.g., if the cuffs were a little small one may need the ends of the jacket arms to be buttonable) and the non-functional ones were added later because of the look?

Nick
Would you stop it already with the perfectly reasonable and most-likely true suppositions? They really get in the way of a good convoluted back-transformation.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:47 PM
Tootsie Plunkette's Avatar
Tootsie Plunkette Tootsie Plunkette is offline
 
Join Date: 26 October 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 10,047
Reading

Bingo! If you look at the early to mid 17th-century coats (think pirate), they had big floppy cuffs that were held up by buttons. As the cuffs diminished and eventually disappeared the buttons became purely decorative.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 27 January 2009, 02:50 PM
Gayle Gayle is offline
 
Join Date: 21 February 2000
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 9,805
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
Just use the other side of the sleeve. Works for me.
Or your brother's sleeve. That starts a few fun fights.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 27 January 2009, 03:06 PM
Ali Infree's Avatar
Ali Infree Ali Infree is offline
 
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Location: Wheeling, WV
Posts: 2,575
Default

Well, Tootsie beat me to it. I did a Google search that gave the Frederick of Great or Napoleon story, then ran across this thread about the proper number of buttons on a man's jacket. Answer was three or four.

But the buttons were originally to keep the sleeves of your shirt out of the French Onion dip. This thread was number six on my Google search!

Ali "and ties were used to restrain men at hitching posts" Infree

I don't like ties
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 27 January 2009, 03:39 PM
Dactyl's Avatar
Dactyl Dactyl is offline
 
Join Date: 02 December 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonWolf View Post
I had heard that Napoleon added them either for this reason, or because he had a relative who would inspect the troops and would inspect the soldiers' pants buttons (this was before zippers) as an excuse to feel the mens' crothes. The buttons were added to the sleeves so that the men could trick the pervy general into a handshake instead of a groping.

No idea whether its true, but it is entertaining.
I'm most probably being very thick, but I can't work out how that would work.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 16 February 2009, 01:05 PM
TrishDaDish's Avatar
TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
Join Date: 22 February 2004
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Posts: 7,751
Default

I would imagine it's a sort of, "Look on my sleeve. I have extra buttons, so even if one fell off my trousers, I have an extra to sew back on. Now stop touching my crotch, your perv."
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.