Excerpt from Handbook of Unionid Mussels in Kansas
The manufacture of buttons from the shells of fresh-water mussels began about 1891. In 1912 the income from this industry amounted to approximately yearly. With the advent of plastics, the shell industry declined sharply; today, fresh-water mussel shells are used primarily for novelty work, such as charm bracelets, hat pins, belt buckles, and fancy buttons. In 1912, approximately tons of shells were removed from the Neosho River in Kansas; this amounted to 17 per cent of the pearly products for the United States in that year. In the year 1960 in Kansas there was no commercial harvesting of unionid shells.
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