This page is dedicated to the study of the "Official NBS Classification System", specifically Class 339 Unlisted Patterns (Section 17, Patterns, Non-Pictorial Designs). If you have patterns not noted here or if you just want to comment on this page, click here to e-mail Carol C. carolc@vintagebuttons.net Thanks to members of the ButtonBytes who have contributed and especially Narcie Alexander, Shelley Strick and Judy Stopke.


Sect. 17 Cl. 339 Unlisted Patterns

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1. Monad: A figure of a circle divided into two equal tangential arcs with opposite centers. The most common type: two comma-shaped halves. Usually in black and white or light and dark.


2. Triad: A group of three equal parts. Often three comma-shaped figures.

The "-skelion" ending pattern names refer to radial figures with "arms" extending from the center outward.

3. Triskelion: A tri-radial figure composed of three simple parts extending from the center outward, whose arms may be simple curves, scrolls or angular lines.

4. Traskelion or Tetraskelion: Four parts or arms radiating from the center. Similar to the swastika.


Patterns with the ending letters, "-foil" refer to multiple lobes or archs, a common shrub "cinquefoil" has 5 round petals. Although found in the dictionary "hexafoil" and "octafoil", and shown here as patterns, take care in using these in competition, we are not sure they are "recognized" unlisted patterns at this time.

5. Trefoil: An ornamental design consisting of three foils, lobes or divisions of equal size resembling a cloverleaf or club form. Can be used as a symbol of trinity.

6. Quatrefoil: A leaf-like pattern having four lobes resembling the shamrock. Formed by the intersection area of four circles.

7. Cinquefoil: A 5-lobed figure, common in decorative form as it resembles five-foiled flowers in nature.

8. Hexafoil: A 6-lobed figure, may be measled if labeled this way, best confirm if you can use this pattern in competition.

9. Octafoil: An 8-lobed figure, may be measled if labeled this way, best confirm if you can use this pattern in competition.

10. Vermiform: A design of lines resembling the shape of a worm. Here's one that is a variant including a branching look too.

11. Quilt: The formation of lines or patterns to resemble a quilt pattern. Click here to see more examples of quilt pattern buttons, thanks Judy Stopke for the compilation of these quilt patterns, Narcie for the pix on the right.

12. Pinwheel

13. Honeycomb: An all-over pattern of small hexagonal (6-sided) cells resembling a honeycomb.

14. Plaid: Right angle bands or lines placed in vertical and horizontal position.

15. Herringbone: Rows of parallel lines arranged in such a manner that any two successive rows slope in a reverse direction.

16. Calico. Calico buttons get their name from the word "Calicutta", a city in western India. It was there that cotton cloth with printed patterns was manufactured and exported to England. Some of this cloth, we believe, was used in the making of covered buttons. Calico designs have a repeat pattern covering the entire surface and most can be considered a "diaper" pattern per information in the Feb. 2003 National Button Bulletin giving a redefinition of diaper as "An all-over pattern consisting of small, closely set, repeated figures of geometric and/or conventional design."

17. Chevron: Bars that meet at a diagonal angle to form a point. Resembles the letter "V".

18. Zigma Line: A regularly broken line formed by angles that alternately project and retreat.

19. Zigzag: A series of short, sharp turns or angles.

20. Interlacement.

21. Stellar Variant.

22. Spiral.

23. Arrowhead: A wedge-shaped triangular design.


24. Arrowtail: An irregular polygon from the conventionalizing of the feather-tail.

25. Shield: Simpler forms of the shield are derived originally from articles of defensive warfare and innumerable designs have resulted. The various subdivisions have produced geometrical figures in heraldry called ordinaries.

26. Scroll: Most elemental of curvilinear motifs. Basically a "C" curve or arc of a circle in which both ends are turned inward to form a terminal blot. Often used in borders. Here are two examples.


27. "S" Scroll: A curve whose both ends consist of spirals diametrically in direction. It resembles the letter "S".

28. Wavy Scroll: Made of two comma-like forms, the center resembling an "S".

29. Loop: The simplest form of the twist or interlacement and consists of a continuous line forming a figure eight.

30. Line and Band : A line is the result of projectng a dot in a given direction. As it widens, it becomes a band. Line pattern pictured.

31. Wavy Line: This is formed by a succession of undulating or elongated wave like lines or "S" curves. Also a continuous series of half-circles or scallops joined together.


32. Ring: Anything circular in form. Superimposed, interwoven or interlaced give rise to an infinity of designs.

33. Segment: A portion of a circle.

34. Curvilinear Interlacement: Consisting of, or bounded by curved lines.

35. Other Geometric Variants/Combinations: Such as Angular interlacement, Rectangular combination, Triangular variant. I think this example is a triangular variant, it would also qualify as a "turn again" pattern.

36. Crescent

37. Shell


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