Buttons of past and present at Chicago's Busy Beaver Button Co.

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Busy Beaver Button Co. produces millions of pin back buttons per year. (WLS)

It's election time again in Chicago, so you're seeing them around town - political buttons.

Someone has to make those buttons, of course, so ABC7's Frank Mathie stopped in at the Busy Beaver Button Company.

When you're on Armitage just west of Kedzie, you come across a place with a name so catchy you just have to go inside. It's owned by sister and brother team Christen and Joel Carter, and for almost 20 years now, they've been stamping out those clever little buttons that almost talk. This is the Busy Beaver Button Company.

"It's the manufacturer of pin back buttons. It's the advertising political style of buttons," Joel said.

He said they make about 3.5 million per year.

"Everyone who comes to us wants something to happen. To express or share something they're thinking about," Christen said.

The busy beavers at Busy Beaver Buttons don't make the kinds of buttons on your clothing. But who are the busy beaver button buyers?

"Most of our customers, all of our customers are people who are up to really interesting stuff. And they want to make their stuff more well-known," Christen said.

They are carrying on a long tradition of these pin back buttons, buttons you can pin on your clothing and make a statement. And as you can see, the Carters don't just make the buttons, they collect them by the thousands. The front of their business is the one and only Busy Beaver Company Museum.

Their collection includes such things as a George Washington inauguration button from 1789 and a Lincoln campaign button from 1864. They are serious, they are humorous and they are what's on our minds.

"It's definitely a form of social media," said Christen Carter. "You're wearing a statement that's talking when you're not."

They even have buttons that go back to very beginning of mankind.
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