A normal day for the Cairo ‘s 175 officers and crewmen began at 0530, when they were awakened. For the crew it included scrubbing and swabbing the decks, drilling on the guns, and preparing for and being inspected. The Sailors were responsible for maintaining their uniforms, which included washing and mending them. For the latter, they had sewing kits, called “housewives”—usually small tin canisters containing pins, needles, linen thread, spare buttons, and thimbles. As well as housewives, scissors of all sizes were recovered from the Cairo .

Conservators found several different types of buttons on board, including black, hard-rubber U.S. Navy enlisted pea-coat buttons manufactured by the Novelty Rubber Company of New York. The most prevalent buttons discovered, however, were durable, three-piece brass military shell buttons made by the Scovill Manufacturing Company in Waterbury, Connecticut.