Another bit of trivia discovered while researching my novel: WWI British soldiers passing time on a slow day in the trenches or enjoying their rotation outside of the trenches sometimes made buttonhooks from decommissioned .303 bullets. Referred to as “trench art“, bullets were drilled through from base to tip to accommodate the hooked prong. Likely others were made in small city shops for soldiers to simply purchase and send home to wives and sweethearts.
Back in those days, both men and women used buttonhooks for their high-button shoes. Handles might be a practical shoehorn or a decorative feminine or macho style. Smaller hooks were made for buttoning gloves or pulling zippers.