Muscatine History and Industry Center

Business Overview

By 1905 Muscatine produced 1.5 billion pearl buttons annually. With nearly 37% of the worlds buttons coming from Muscatine, the town became the undisputed Pearl Button Capital of the World.

The rise and fall of the pearl button occurred over a period of seventy-five years. At its height the cutting-edge automated industry employed half the local workforce. Decades later the American-made pearl button buckled under the pressure of foreign competition, changing fashion, limited availability of shell, and the development and refinement of plastic buttons.

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Muscatine History and Industry Center
117 W 2nd St
Muscatine, Iowa 52761

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Open Tuesday through Saturday
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Open by special appointment all other days.