A buttonhook simply consists of a hook which clasps round buttons to pull them though buttonholes. It has existed for centuries, but became especially prevalent in the nineteenth century when men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing featured buttons in button-boots, buttoned gaiters, long gloves, and dress bodices. Annie Walter would have found the buttonhook was essential for aiding her in fastening the tight button gloves and boots in fashion in the 1870s and 1880s.
Buttonhooks come in a variety of materials, sizes, and styles. They vary in length from around 5 cm to barely 25 mm. Designs and materials ranged from the simple to the elaborate and costly.