The World's Only Pinback Button Museum Lives in Chicago

Courtesy of the Busy Beaver Button Company
Courtesy of the Busy Beaver Button Company

Do you like buttons? Really, really like buttons? The vintage pinback type that can be affixed to clothing and broadcast your endorsement of political candidates, slogans, or ALF? Then you should consider a trip to Chicago. That’s where the world’s only known pinback button museum, operated by the Busy Beaver Button Company, resides.

According to Atlas Obscura, the museum was founded by button maker Christen Carter in 2010. Carter, who once lived in England where buttons, or “badges,” remain popular, began designing buttons in 1995. Sensing a need to archive the history of this stylistic accessory, she opened a physical gallery of buttons old and new. Roughly 4500 buttons are on exhibit, with another 25,000 in storage. In addition to vintage buttons, the Busy Beaver will custom-press buttons using designs from contributors like cartoonist Chris Ware and artist Francine Spiegel.

Courtesy of the Busy Beaver Button Company

The pinback button was originally patented in 1896 by Whitehead & Hoag of Newark, New Jersey, and was an upgrade from metal buttons that had a glass surface. Using a plastic cover known as celluloid to seal in a paper photo or illustration and a straight pin to affix them to clothing, the buttons took off in popularity due to their inexpensive manufacturing costs. Both William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan used them during that year’s presidential election. Owing to a recent solar eclipse, McKinley’s button depicted the candidate “eclipsing” Bryan, who mimicked the promotion with buttons promising to do the same to McKinley.

Initially intended for political campaigning, the buttons took on a variety of purposes through the 20th century, including depictions of characters, mottos, and other images.

The museum is located at 3407 W. Armitage Avenue in Chicago and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Northern Lights Storms Are Getting Names—and You Can Offer Up Your Suggestions

A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
Heikki Holstila, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

While all northern lights are spectacular, they’re not all spectacular in the same way. Aurora borealis, or “northern dawn,” occurs when electrons in the magnetic field surrounding Earth transfer energy to oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. The molecules then emit the excess energy as light particles, which create scintillating displays whose colors and shapes depend on many known and unknown factors [PDF]—type of molecule, amount of energy transferred, location in the magnetosphere, etc.

Though the “storms” are extremely distinct from each other, they haven’t been named in the past the way hurricanes and other storms are christened. That’s now changing, courtesy of a tourism organization called Visit Arctic Europe. As Travel + Leisure reports, the organization will now christen the strongest storms with Nordic names to make it easier to keep track of them.

“There are so many northern lights visible in Arctic Europe from autumn to early spring that we started giving them names the same way other storms are named. This way, they get their own identities and it’s easier to communicate about them,” Visit Arctic Europe’s program director Rauno Posio explained in a statement.

Scientists will be able to reference the names in their studies, much like they do with hurricanes. And if you’re a tourist hoping to check out other people’s footage of the specific sky show you just witnessed, searching by name on social media will likely turn up better results than a broad “#auroraborealis.”

Visit Arctic Europe has already given names to recent northern lights storms, including Freya, after the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, and Sampo, after “the miracle machine and magic mill in the Finnish national epic poem, ‘Kalevala.’” A few other monikers pay tribute to some of the organization’s resident “aurora hunters.”

But you don’t have to be a goddess or an aurora hunter in order to get in on the action. Anybody can submit a name (along with an optional explanation for your suggestion) through the “Naming Auroras” page here. It’s probably safe to assume that submissions related to Nordic history or culture have a better chance of being chosen, but there’s technically nothing to stop you from asking Visit Arctic Europe to name a northern lights show after your dog.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]