27th September 2016

Whilst most of Melbourne is getting excited about the footy,  I’m more excited about my lastest deliveries of Australian and New Zealand buttons!

Kings crown Navy button by Stokes and Sons. What is interesting for me is the 'hollow back" style of shank. All my other Australian uniform buttons have various types of loop shanks.

Kings crown navy button by Stokes and Sons. What is interesting for me is the ‘hollow back” style of shank.  All my other Australian uniform buttons have various types of loop shanks.

c.1950 Donald buttons with a vivid blue background.

c.1950 Donald buttons with a vivid blue background.

This lovely card came from New Zealand. On the bottom right hand corner is a fancy 'F'. On the top left hand corner is a bird of prey. Putting all these together, I think this must be from 'Falcon Plastics' , a past Kiwi button manufacture. See the NZ page for more history on this company.

This lovely card came from New Zealand. On the bottom right hand corner is a fancy ‘F’.  On the top left hand corner is a bird of prey.  Putting all these together,  I think this must be from ‘Falcon Plastics’ , a past Kiwi button manufacture.  See the NZ page for more history on this company.

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And now, just for a laugh…..

Published in The Brisbane Courier,  28th February 1911.  If this hat was to scale, the buckle alone would have been 10-12 cm in length!  Useful indeed!

Published in The Brisbane Courier, 28th February 1911. If this hat was to scale,  the buckle alone would have been 10-12 cm in length!  Useful indeed!

26th September 2016

A while ago I was contacted by Michael Thompson with an A.Hordern & Sons copper button that had been dug up.  He has now kindly sent an image of the button in question.

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He also told me that a similar button had been unearthed from a WW1 site near Frommelles. I’m guessing that this is the button being referred to.

Button found in mass grave at Pheasant Wood (Fromelles) during a dig in 2009.

Button found in mass grave at Pheasant Wood (Fromelles) during a dig in 2009.   See also http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/fromelles/pheasant-wood/exhumed-objects-gallery.php#

As you can see, it is referred to as a braces button, used by soldiers to keep their trousers up. The photo below from the Australian War Memorial’s collection clearly shows the braces buttons on this WW1 era soldier’s breeches.

Apparently this type of button turns up frequently on the goldfields,  so this button may have been made over a long period and cannot be dated accurately.

25th September 2016.

Recently I shared a Myers Emporium advert showing hats trimmed with buttons.  This piqued my interest as my mother was a milliner back in the day.  I don’t know if this was a common trimming,  but I did manage to find some other examples.

Published in The World's News (Sydney) 5th November 1927.

Published in The World’s News (Sydney) 5th November 1927. A halo of buttons? Not quite angelic.

 

 

 

 

 

In the Australian Women's Weekly, November 1941.

In the Australian Women’s Weekly, November 1941. Slightly nautical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Australian Women’s Weekly, 12 September 1951.  I quite like this one.

 

 

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A touch of Gilligan’s Island.

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This one can double as a tea-cosy.

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Wrong. Just wrong.

In the Australian Women's Weekly, September 1951.

Nice bobbles.

21st September 2016

In 1873 The New Zealand Clothing Factory was established in Dunedin to supply the Hallenstein Brothers clothing stores.  By 1900 there were 30 “HB” clothing stores across the country.  A grand new headquarters was built in 1882-3 which housed up to 300 employees. The opening was celebrated with a ball for 500-600 people. The company continues today,  but now most of the clothing is made in China.

The NZ Clothing Factory, 18-20 Dowling Street, Dunedin.

The NZ Clothing Factory, 18-20 Dowling Street, Dunedin.

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Otago Daily Times, 15th April 1890.

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As the above newspaper article outlines,  the factory manufactured military uniforms.  I have just received NZ artillery buttons,  including these 2 from the New Zealand Clothing Factory.

note the Queen Victoria Crown, dating the buttons pre-1902

Note the Queen Victoria Crown, dating the buttons pre-1902.

20th September 2016

According to the Smithsonian,  the fashion of “pink for girls and blue for boys” has waxed and waned and even reversed throughout the last century,  only settling on the current status in the 1940-50’s as a marketing tool.  Having said that, I can remember in Louisa May  Alcott’s  ‘Little Women’ from 1869 that when Meg had twins they were dressed to tell them apart with pink and blue in “french fashion”.  Be that as it may be,  the Beauclaire buttons below are gorgeous!

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I’ve gradually built up a collection of the below style from Beauclaire.  Interestingly,  I’ve also received some glass buttons that are very similar (although not the same) in style. Coincidence or copied?

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Glass versions.

Glass versions.

From a 1955 advert.

From a 1955 advert.

14th September 2016

So much to tell,  where to start?  Perhaps with Mr Elijah Thomas, tailor and outfitter of Grey Street, St Kilda.  According to this information http://www.historyaustralia.org.au/ifhaa/bios/elijah.htm   He came from England around 1900.  Three generations of his family operated E.Thomas Pty. Ltd. Mercers and Mens Ware from then until 1980.

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Now;  the Wiseman Bros.  In the 1880’s  Albert and Walter ran a business in Flinders Lane, Melbourne,  as softgoods warehousemen.  Along with their brother Arthur,  they were well regarded as philanthropists.

Mount Alexander Mail, 26th October 1906

Mount Alexander Mail, 26th October 1906

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Now things in 3’s!!  Three cards, 3 red buttons, 3 ducks and 3 Beutron buttons.

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 And some English made MOP buttons sold by Farmer & Company in Sydney.

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See also the Vintage advertising page for more on Farmer’s.

13th September 2016

Buttonfest 2016  is coming up next month.  Very exciting;  I’ve been preparing some displays along this year’s theme of animals and birds depicted on buttons.  Here’s a preview of a display of Beauclaire animals, including a new trio sent to me by Leah.

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Details of the new buttons.

Details of the new buttons.

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Over the last week I’ve received buttons and buckles to add to the collection.

A nother colour of Beauclaire buckle, and a cpuople more of the Beutron type, making quite a nice collection.

Another colour of Beauclaire buckle,  and a couple more of the Beutron type,  making quite a nice collection!

American, Woolies and Rex cards.

American, Woolies and Rex cards.

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-4-30-54-pmThese 2 buttons have a metallised centre set in a clear plastic surround with a molded zig-zag pattern.

These 2 buttons have a metallised centre set in a clear plastic surround with a molded zig-zag pattern.

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3 more variations of this "cluster of berries" shape.

3 more variations of this “cluster of berries” shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A very beautiful glass design. The details below come from 1955 Beutron ads.

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Feeling a little Irish. green Beauclaire styles.

Feeling a little Irish.  Green Beauclaire styles.

A lovely grecian horse.

A lovely Grecian horse.

 

 

1955 advert detail

1955 advert detail

 

 

 

Beutron originals.

Beutron originals.

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9th September 2016

I have received 2 cards of modern MOP buttons from Broome.  This prompted me to revisit the history of this industry, and remember how dangerous and lucrative it once was, how things have changed and how plastic has almost completely taken over.

A collection of modern and vintage pearl-shell buttons, showing how the shell could be carved and dyed, as well as combined with other materials (here, glass and plastic). Real MOP buttons are still in production, but for the most part have been replaced by cheaper, more wash resistant pearl-like plastic.

A collection of modern and vintage pearl-shell buttons,  showing how the shell could be carved and dyed,  as well as combined with other materials (here, glass and plastic).  Real MOP buttons are still in production,  but for the most part have been replaced by the cheaper, more wash resistant pearl-like plastic (like the 1960’s examples here from Woolworths and Embassy).  The story below explains how it was possible to colour your own MOP buttons.

published in the Northern Argus (Clare,SA) 21st February 1936

Published in the Northern Argus (Clare,SA) 21st February 1936.

5th September 2016

The ‘Button Gods’ have delivered me buttons from within a decade to over 100 years old.

Wooden Koala from Oz Dye-Art Fabrics; the company is listed as defunct, but there is still a Facebook page.

Wooden Koala from Oz Dye-Art Fabrics; the company is listed as defunct, but there is still a Facebook page.

1950's style Walkers buckles. I have 5 of each...so if anyone is interested I'll sell you one for $5 plus postage.

1950’s style Walkers buckles. I have 5 of each…so if anyone is interested I’ll sell you one for $5 plus postage.

1950's Beutrons

1950’s Beutrons

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I now have my own NSW Mounted Rifles button dating from 1892-1901 (QV crown) in beautiful condition.  I don’t have to be jealous of Carol anymore!  Just love the spotty leopard head.  This may have been the buttons worn by the troops going to the Boer Wars.  It is my first button by Charles Anderson.  The Paramatta Woollen Mills also made similar buttons.  I spotted this picture on a military sales web page,  but unfortunately it is out of stock.  For interest I have included below a newspaper report of C.Anderson and the Mills both winning a tender for military uniforms, including for the Mounted Rifles.  For for about the Parramatta Woollen Mils see http://arc.parracity.nsw.gov.au/blog/2015/11/17/parramatta-woollen-mills/

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The Cumberland Argus and Fruit Growers Advocate (Parramatta) 15th February 1902

The Cumberland Argus and Fruit Growers Advocate (Parramatta) 15th February 1902

3rd September 2016

Leah keeps tempting me with vintage Australian buttons.  It’s not fair.  I’ll run out of money.

The blue wash buttons are new to my collection. I have included the purple version to show how they were labelled "British Made" even though they were made in Sydney. Go the Empire!

The blue ‘wash buttons’ are new to my collection.  I have included the purple version to show how they were labelled “British Made” even though they were made in Sydney.  Go the Empire!

The "Tub" or "Boil" buttons in the middle are new to me; I've added the others to show how this fashion colour was used in varying styles.

The “Tub” or “Boil” buttons in the middle are new to me;  I’ve added the others to show how this fashion colour was used in varying styles.

If I understand the explanation on the back, the glass centres of the leftward "Originals" were imported and set in Beutron bases. I'm guessing the 2 small buttons matching the larger ones were for cuffs or button down collars on shirts. The coat button is about 4 cm diametre!

If I understand the explanation on the back of the card,  the glass centres of the leftward “Originals” were imported and set in Beutron bases.  I’m guessing the 2 small buttons matching the larger ones were for matching cuffs or button down collars on shirts.  The coat button is about 4 cm diametre!

Finally, a mixed bag. The Beauclaire bead-like buttons are sewn onto a pre-punched card. I haven't seen that before except with Rex and Disney examples. The red apples are a cheery Embassy example. The Woolies are complex for only 75 cents: faux-wood on top of golden plastic with 4 golden "stitches" showing through. The Needleworks were "packaged by Beutron Australia for Myers Stores Ltd"

Finally, a mixed bag.  The Beauclaire bead-like buttons are sewn onto a pre-punched card.  I haven’t seen that before except with Rex and Disney examples.  The red apples are a cheery Embassy example.  The Woolies are complex for only 75 cents: faux-wood on top of golden plastic with 4 golden “stitches” showing through.  The Needleworks were “packaged by Beutron Australia for Myers Stores Ltd. Grace Bros” which dates them post 1983.