18th March 2018

New Zealand buttons:

Location of Kawau Island off the North Island of NZ.

Kawau Island lies in the Hauraki Gulf off the north Eastern coast of New Zealand. It is approximately 8×5 km. Ten percent of the Island is under control of the Department of Conservation, including an historical mansion and remains of  a copper mine. Considerable damage has been done to the environment due to introduced species, particularly wallabies. A trust is working to reverse some of this damage. The wooden buttons may be tourist or perhaps fundraising items.


17th March 2018

Coronet buttons:

From Carol.

“RAAF” insignia fashion buttons. Detail below. Note that it has a King’s crown.

I imagine that such a design must have been inspired by the outbreak of WW2 (the RAAF dating from 1921). This dates this button c.1939-1945.

Current version with Queen’s crown.

16th March 2018

‘KKK’ buttons:

The china buttons come from Birchcroft China (who also make collectable thimbles). The realistics are all from JHB (owned by Blumenthal Lansing Corp. since 2014). The picture button is of a cockatoo (note the crest feathers) in the style of an Austrian Tiny, but a little larger.

Pelican, koala, budgerigars, clown fish, penguins, koala, cockatoo.

15th March 2018

Carol has shared some more of her wonderful collection. The first is a Landico button. I’ve only seen a few of their buttons so far, but they are all  cast metal fancy buttons with self shanks. The backs are  rough and unfinished, with sharp edges and lumps. This is the first I’ve seen with a (?)painted finish.







Some more Shell Oil uniform buttons.






Carol has guessed that they were from service station uniforms. However, on sites such as Kelly Badges they are described as from merchant navy (in particular oil tankers) uniforms. Service station attendants did wear uniforms; such as a shirt, slacks (or skirt) and tie and jacket. I don’t think they were formal enough to require brass or Stay-brite buttons.  And yes,  ladies got in the act too!



14th March 2018

Two new finds!

S. Schlank. Adelaide:






Mercantile Navy ?button/badge: shank or pin missing. S. Sclank made some buttons, but many more badges. See pre-federation manufacturers page.






Shierlaw & Co. Adelaide:

The Shierlaws were a Scottish family who came to South Australia around 1852. Three bothers, George, William,  Joseph then later a nephew, Mr F.B. Shierlaw, ran the tailoring firm of ‘Shierlaw & Company’ from 1860 until around 1920. They supplied uniforms from 1877 to volunteer units, cadet forces and police. For many  years they were the governments sole supplier of uniforms. (See also the reference on the ‘Branded buttons: tailors’  page.)

The Express and Telegraph, 18th June 1904.


11th March 2018

New buttons as promised:

1) A couple of nice new KKK’s.







Now I know ‘platypus’ doesn’t start with a ‘K’, but it’s got the same vibe! And surely it must be unusual to feature a platypus? Apparently similar glass buttons by German makers were sold in the 1950’s.

2) Pat kindly sent me a ‘Jack and Jill’ rabbit:

3) Amor Sydney New South Wales button:


8th March 2018

Missed these on auction; sob!

But I have received a few nice buttons: Below is a merchant navy Shell oil tanker button by Stokes and Sons.







In 1833 Marcus Samuel started selling shells imported from the far-east from his antiques business. This was the start of the Samuel family’s import/export future. In 1892 they arranged for a bulk steamer to ship oil from Baku to the United Kingdom through the Suez canal for the first time. In 1903 ‘The Shell transport and Trading Company’ started to merge with the Royal Dutch petroleum Company. By 1907 they had became Royal Dutch Shell group.

In 1904, the scallop shell (or pecten) had replaced Shell Transport’s first marketing logo, a mussel shell.

Shell started shipping bulk fuel to Australia in 1901. In 1905 Shell and Royal Dutch established the ‘British Imperial Oil Company’ in Australia. Over the years they expanded into storage, distribution, refining and service stations.

The Inverell Times 27th Nov 1925.

In an 1925 newspaper article boasted of the companies policy of  “…  preference for Australian workers and Australian products …. The Shell Company here is proud of the fact that everything, from its Motor Spirit to its back-country Depots is All-British, and most of it All-Australian. It is the Spirit of the Flag.”  So while I can’t find a reference to when the uniform button was produced, it could have been as early as this era.

Aboard an oil tanker, Geelong, 1959. From Museum Victoria’s collection.


7th March 2018

New finds:

Olive & pink: Cygnet. Blue: Beauclaire. Green: Coronet.

New Zealand General Plastics. The Pearl-Sheen card dates from pre-1951 when they started to use the ‘Beauclaire’ branding.

Left: NZ Beutrons. Right: from Horn Buttons and Accessories Ltd: Wellington c1940-45.

Spotted but not bought: NZ Beauclaires.

6th March 2018

I found an interesting article dated 10th November 1899 from a journalist in Perth. He was commenting on the forces being formed to travel to the Transvaal (Boer Wars). They were half  civilians, and half from local infantry and artillery. With only a few days to go before they sailed the men were wearing a variety of uniforms and civilian clothes, the troops still being without their uniforms! “The uniform selected for the contingent, consisting of blue coats, with bedford cord trousers, are being made in the colony, the buttons have been brought from Victoria, whence the hats also came.” (Buttons were not able to be made locally until after Sheridan Badges was started in Perth in 1913.)

The writer noted that the primitive state of the military in the Colony rendered it practically useless, and needed to be merged with the proposed federal military system to prevent the money being spent on it being wasted. (Note that West Australia had not at this stage agreed to join the Federation.) If you are further interested see https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/113693895?searchTerm=%22colonial%20buttons%22&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

New tailor’s buttons:

T. H. French, Melbourne:

Thomas Henry French was born in Cambridge, England in 1854. I don’t know when he came to Victoria, but he was married here in 1883. In 1916 he was listed as working from 291 Swanston Street. he died in 1917 at the age of 63 years.

5th March 2018

More tailors’ buttons:

Marks & Kent, Melbourne:

Marks & Kent first advertised in Melbourne newspapers in 1884. Their tailoring and outfitting business was in the “The Little Monster” store, 107 Swanston Street (current site of the Manchester United Building). In 1886 Henry Morris Marks  and Albert Samuel Kent ended their partnership with Kent continuing alone, possibly until 1891. He left for West Australia before 1903 and died there in 1916.

Henry (Harry) Morris Marks (Zvi Ben Moshe) became a sharebroker and lived in Albert Park. He died in 1909.

Capon & Montgomerie, Melbourne:

In 1902 Messers Capon and Montgomerie were delighted to announce their new tailoring store in Collins St.  Walter William store has previously managed the Mutal Store.

The Herald, 11 Sep 1913.

Norman Leslie Mongomerie, supposedly the best dressed man in Melbourne, died in 1926 aged 55 years. After this the business was sold to Walter Arnold Walker who continued trading under the Capon & Montgomerie name, but had to sell everything to pay his creditors in 1927. After his partner’s death Mr Capon continued as an outfitter until his retirement. He lived in Camberwell and died in 1941.

Norman Montgomerie, 1925

Chas. Lane & Co, Melbourne

Charles Lane ran a high class tailor’s in Flinders Street from 1902 until the business was absorbed into the business of a neighbouring tailor’s in 1929.

Table Talk, 5th April 1917.

The Herald, 28th Oct 1921.

On the label “Chas. Lane & Co.:Pty.Ltd.:Elizabeth St. Melbourne. 1917. Museum Victoria collection.











Charles bought pasture in Coleraine in 1933,  and despite having no prior experience as a grazier was very successful. He appeared to have a long term connection with Western Victoria: a local agent was selling clothes from his business in 1906. Unfortunately, he seemed to have seperated from his wife; they were not listed living together in the electoral rolls after 1919.

A mistake button!

The firm was Lowe’s Ltd not Low’s!