For the Hannover release, we are redrawing all the toolbar icons for several reasons. While there is nothing wrong with the current ones, we've had them for many years, and it is time for an update. Also, we are trying to look at all of them together now and create a more consistent visual language (you know, things like consistently use a yellow diamond in the upper left of an icon to mean "new thingy".)
The most compelling reason to redraw them is that as part of Hannover we are shipping the IBM Productivity Tools - A word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool. These came with their own crop of toolbar buttons -- many for similar functions like bold, italic, and your favorite, properties.
I am pleased to "introduce" you to the new Properties icon below-- the first one on the left. We are trying to convey the idea of a "control panel" or "things you set". The 2 former icons are to the right. Most of the other icons retain the same metaphor (e.g. scissors for cut, although I do admit we tried a round cd for "save" rather than the old diskette, and it just did not go over well). The properties icon is the biggest change, so I felt that it deserved its very own posting.