The Fascinating History of Tagua RSS

The rise of petroleum products and plastics caused the downfall of the use of tagua buttons. However, during the last few years the consumption of tagua has started to increase modestly.  Some of the main causes of this increase include the ban of elephant tusks and more environmentally conscious consumer habits. Check out our twitter page for up-to-date posts on world wide environmental efforts to save mother nature! www.twitter.com/rainforestivory

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Tagua Merchant Ship -

Giovanni Zanchi arrived to Ecuador’s coast during the early 1900s where he founded his own plant for the production of tagua buttons. At that point the exports of tagua increased steadily reaching around 40,000 tons per year in the 1920s and 1930s.  From around the time of great depression to the end of the second World War, over 20% of the buttons worn in America were made out of tagua. For years the uniforms worn by U.S soldiers had tagua buttons on them.

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Tagua Button Corozo Button -

The Zanchi family, one of the most prestigious Italian clothing manufacturers at the time sent one of its youngest members Giovanni Zanchi Pesenti to find the source of tagua. For 17 years they thought that tagua came from Africa since all the merchant ships stopped in Africa’s northern coast before making its way to Hamburg.  Mr. Zanchi’s perseverance helped him to finally find out that the actual source of vegetable ivory was actually South America and not Africa.

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History of Tagua -

It is believed that in the mid-1800s the first tagua seeds made their way to Europe used as ship ballast.  The Germans were then the first ones to notice the great potential of this material because of its hardness and its resemblance to animal ivory. By the 1860’s the Handelgesselschaft or German House of Tagua was established in Ecuador controlling the market for the production of buttons. Handelgesselschaft open several branch locations along the coast of Ecuador which exported the seed to Europe via the Strait of Magellan through the northern coast of Africa to make its way to Hamburg,...

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