The illustration and pattern of the 1844 corset show a busk that would have been made of wood, or ivory, or baleen. Often busks were carved and given to a lady as a token of affection. This one from the Nicholson Whaling Collection at the Providence Public Library is one of my favorites.
© Providence Public Library (identification number 008)
I love the naïve quality of the artwork. It's carved on whalebone and you can see future Sailor Jerry's tattoos on this busk. Here is an older one made of wood that was carved in 1783 and is part of the Pinto Collection at the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery.
© Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (accession number 1965T600)
Below is an even older metal busk from the 17th century belonging to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.
© Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession number 30.135.32)
Look at the detail of the tiny portrait carved in the metal. Nice.
Notice how they are all decorated? I feel like I should jazz mine up with something. To fit the mock up I can use a couple 1/2 inch wide steels, but for the finished corset wouldn't a decorated busk be nice?