The Pearl City - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

The Pearl City

Updated:
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Sex Offender Escapes Davenport Corrections Facility

    Sex Offender Escapes Davenport Corrections Facility

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:37:55 GMT
    A man described as a "lifetime Sex Offender" is on the loose, after failing to report back to a work released facility in Davenport.More >>
    A man described as a "lifetime Sex Offender" is on the loose, after failing to report back to a work released facility in Davenport.More >>
  • Meaning Of Ice Bucket Challenge

    Meaning Of Ice Bucket Challenge

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:23 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:23:59 GMT
    Nikki and Craig Leonard both lost their fathers to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Their family is grateful for the viral Ice Bucket Challenge. They see it as a great way of raising awareness of a disease that is often overlooked.More >>
    Nikki and Craig Leonard both lost their fathers to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Their family is grateful for the viral Ice Bucket Challenge. They see it as a great way of raising awareness of a disease that is often overlooked.More >>
  • Overnight Fire In Rock Island

    Overnight Fire In Rock Island

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:07 AM EDT2014-08-19 12:07:37 GMT
    An overnight fire caused considerable damage at a home in Rock Island, Ill. The call came in around 1:52 a.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Fire crews were called...More >>
    An overnight fire caused considerable damage at a home in Rock Island, Ill. The call came in around 1:52 a.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2014. Fire crews were called...More >>

It started with one man more than one hundred years ago. John Boepple is responsible for launching Muscatine's pearl button industry in 1891.

Boepple was a German immigrant button maker. When he found out that tough, thick mussel shell was abundant in the Mississippi River, he decided to settle in Muscatine. His goal was to make buttons from fresh water clam shells in the river.

Early on, Boepple was a one man show. He clammed the river, and soaked the shell so that a button could be cut out of it. He also cut and decorated the pearl material. The buttons were sorted into categories. Those that were not perfect would be used on underwear. The perfect buttons used for shirts.

Terry Eagle is with the Muscatine History and Industry Center. He says a few years after Boepple launched his business, several other shops opened. Muscatine was bursting in buttons!

At one time, over fifty percent of the city's population was involved in making buttons. By 1905, Muscatine was producing about one point five billion pearl buttons a year. Fashion industries from the midwest to New York bought them. Muscatine became known as the Pearl Button Capital of the World!

The industry peaked in 1916. The History and Industry Center has colorful displays which chronicle a time when Muscatine made 37 percent of the world's buttons. Eventually, limited availablility of shell, the development of plastic buttons, and foreign competition forced the pearl button industry to buckle.

Pearl buttons played a significant role in shaping this Mississippi River community.  

Powered by WorldNow

805 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803

Telephone: 563.383.7000
Fax: 563.383.7131
Email: news@kwqc.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Davenport, Inc. A Media General Company.