Since our cooperative is rounding 50 years of its existence and buttons have been produced for 100 years in our town, we have decided to put in this chapter.
Genuine mother of pearls started to be processed and worked into buttons at the very beginning of the 20th century in 1900, in Studena.
People produced buttons at home and because there was then no electricity , manpower had to be used for pedalling mashines, the so called ponks and drills. The worker pedalled the sprocket wheel and, holding shells in his hand, he drilled the blanks. As the shell heated up and started giving off a lot of dust, water from the "kropmasina" dripped both on the bit and on the worker´s hands. The buttons used to be called camrda, and the button makers camrdari.
Raw stock was imported from the Red and Coral Seas, CHINA, Japan, the Philippines, Fidji, later from the Mississippi area, and it often got the name of the port at which it was shipped, e.g. Makassar, Manila, Tahiti etc. Finished commodity was exported mainly to U.S.A, Germany, England and Spain, each year 60 waggons of raw stock were processed in the area.
World War I resulted in the 5 years lasting production recess in our town. Some archeological monuments have remained well preserved and even today we dig out old conches with drilled button holes - blanks.
In the early twenties this activity was refreshed, based on the same principle and making use of the same raw materials. There is,however, a new stuff, kasein - based Galalit. Both genuine mother of pearl and Galalit have been applied in the button industry up to this day, but not in Studena. They are no longer a fundamental stuff because they have been replaced by plastics, but they still hold their position.
Unfortunately, button making in Studena was discontinued by the world economic depression and by the competitive business in Japan until 1947. The depression came in 1926 and the button manufacturing had to be converted into textile production in the early thirties. After World War II the tradition was restored and has not been discontinued until now.
Mr. Homolka, who learned the craft before Worl War II, bought one of the houses in Horni Pole Street and started, together with 5 women, the production of buttons made of kasein based Argolite.
After 1948 they weren´t able to carry on the production on a private basis and so the nationwide cooperative was established on January 15 1950. This cooperative associated all private button makers and bore the name STYL, the button manufacturing cooperative z.s.s.r.o. (with limited liability ) Prague-Michle, Michelska Street. Prague was the seat of the head office managing 11 branches where 73 cooperative members were employed.
Within a system reorganization STYL was divided up into districts and as many as 18 members worked in Studena. Since there was no place to work in, the old "Orlovna" house was bought that had been a place of public entertainment before. In fact it has been a STYL domicile up to now.
There was nothing to keep the cooperative from starting its business and having its head office in Studena. It happened on April 24 1954. A constitutive general meeting took place then with 43 members and Mr. Homolka was elected head of the cooperative.
In 1957 a reconstruction of the "Orlovna" started and at the same time natural raw materials were abandoned to be replaced by synthetic mother of pearl - perspex. For this purpose the former cannery in Nova Rise by Telc was purchased even though there were only 5 workers at the beginning. In the course of the "Orlovna" reconstruction STYL bought one part of the brewery, the former ice house, and set up a workroom there for polishing and finishing of buttons and for the expedition of finished products.
At that time as many as 120 workers are employed and the production of manicure tool handles for the DUP Pelhrimov starts.
In 1969-1972 the reconstruction and extention of the premises in Nova Rise was started including the dining hall and sanitary facilities. In 1982 a part of the storehouse was converted into a stamping shop and a new pressing shop was constructed in the late eighties.
In 1976 a new workroom was constructed, centralizing surfacing and polishing of buttons. In 1980 servicing rooms were fitted up and 2 years later the central storehouse and 12 flats were finished.
In the seventies a revolutionary change occured in the button production both in Nova Rise and Studena. Unsaturated polyester resin started to be applied and it was a joint-action with the Syndicate for Chemical and Metallurgical Technologies. This substance has been a backbone to the button making up to the present day.
In 1974 a new production line was started in Nova Rise - it was the injection moulding of plastics and the injection moulding machines of CS series were subsequently installed.
Shaping, milling and perforating machines, that were manually operated, prevailed but the first automatic machines came into use, ranging from the most singular and single-purpose ones through the more efficient and more sophisticated devices up to the first modern automatic machines TM NOVA, supplied by the Italian firm BONETTI, that are able to put out finished buttons. Polishing was traditionally performed in wooden butts and beechwood corpuscles.
In the late eighties STYL Studena was undoubtedly a prosperous firm in the home market with a fixed production and a solid staff but it was explicitly home market oriented.
1989/90 became a turning point in the history of STYL. A lot of fundamental changes happened in the whole society including the transition from the centrally operated business to the marketing.
The internal regeneration was achieved on September 21 1992 when STYL was converted into a proprietary cooperative. The world opening of the then Czechoslovak economy was the most significant event from which a gigantic increase in chances and challenges as well as competitions ensued.
The previously existing restricted orientation towards the home market resulted in poor contacts with the foreign market and caused its total seclusion.. To make the matters worse, the cooperative cut off from the trends of modern technology and fashion.
Thanks to a rapid rearrangement of the display collection achieved by the acquirement of the machine for casting polyester rods and by the installation of a new, more efficient and ecologically more economical system of barelling buttons - the so called wet polishing. The cooperative managed to master modern technological processes including the production of blanks by rotative moulding, it purchased further automatons, installed computerization and introduced an integrated publicity system and promotion of its products. Thus a successful development of the company was initiated.
The peak of the present production development is undoubtedly represented by the process of surface imprinting by laser beams. This process launched completely new styles of design limited by imagination only. In this way a variety of embossments, ornamental facets, company logos and letterings were created. STYL is in posession of a laser with a manual insertion system for lettering and this year the B-8 KALEIDOS automatic machine was added turning out finished buttons with a required tone coloured decoration.
A new collection forming moved along with this process. The technologies in question started the production of a variety of fancy materials imitating natural products - mother of pearl, wood, horn and minerals. Centres of design and renowned fashion designers are contacted and garment makers specify the desired shape and colour scheme in correspondence with the seasons. Thus the collections of buttons and accessories are getting closer to modern orientations.
In the 1990s STYL started going to different fairs and later on it became an exhibitor as well.
Among the home fairs there are garment, textile and accessories fairs in Brno and earlier there was the fair known as Trencin - Town of Fashion. The fact that STYL Studena doesn´t only round the number is best proved by 6 awards earned for the best exposition - EXPOIMAGE. In reference to STYL´s foreign activities its participation in the International Textile and Accessory Fair INTERSTOFF in Frankfurt/Main as well as in the specialized exhibition SIBA in Piacenza in Italy housing the first exhibits of a firm coming from the Eastern block has to be mentioned.
In 1991 20 members started a staff retraining course in cooperation with the Otavan business in Trebon and founded a brand new production line - making of working clothes. Further, STYL preserved the kitchen and the dining hall where the late members of the cooperative or the best customers meet. In 1991 a factory shop was opened.
We hope that everything clearly shows STYL as a business that is able to adjust itself to new and challenging conditions of marketing economy and that it keeps being an honour to the old tradition of button making in Studena.
There are generations of people who passed through the firm and handed down their legacy to the younger ones, more or less depending on their assiduity, potential, rank and health.