15th March 2019

New finds from Deb:

Carr also produced the Gripper Fasteners. They are based in South Australia.
More buttons from this Ballarat tailor. See also the Tailors Q-Z page

New finds:

These ‘British Made’ Beutrons probably date from 1946 (when the name was first used) until 1949 when G.Herring claimed that its plastic buttons were Australian made. Below is a close up and a ‘General Purpose’ Australian made button that show a similar style.

10th March 2019

Acrylic buttons:

Many of the Leda buttons I received in my last batch were clearly a different plastic to the casein types so commonly used by general Plastics and G.Herring in the 1940s-1950s. I don’t often ‘hot needle’ test my buttons due to the damage done to the buttons, but I decided to ‘sacrifice’ a spare button to science. Using http://www.thebuttonmonger.com/content/button_identifying.pdf as a reference, and other websites, I decided they were polymethyl metyacrylate, better known by the trade names of Lucite, Perspex, Plexiglas, Acrylite, and others, but more easily referred to just as ‘acrylic’.

The Herald, 24th September 1946. A three quarter coat featuring “big Perspex Ice buttons – so beautiful, new, arresting!”

Developed in the 1920s and first marketed in the 1930s by several companies, it would be widely used during WW2 for airplane turrets, windscreen and the like. Du Pont had licensed this new product to jewellery manufacturers early on, which is why the name Lucite (their trade name) is used generically for acrylic buttons. It proved a valuable and flexible product, highly suitable for the manufacture of jewellery, beads, buttons and many other products. Although Naturally clear, it could be coloured, clear, translucent or opaque. It was lighter than glass, strong, and did not yellow with age. Its peak popularity was post WW2 into the 1960s, although it is still used. Vintage plastics with embedded glitter or other objects are usually acrylic. My buttons are the ‘Moonstone’ acrylic variety, with a slightly greasy feel and a glossy, glowing, variable colour tone.

The Herald, 10th march 1947. Another three quarter coat, with “huge crystal-clear perspex buttons.
This may be the same design in 2 different plastics. The one on the left look like acrylic, but the one on the right is glossy or as smooth.
Unknown plastic and metal Leda buttons.

9th March 2019


The definition varies somewhat between collectors and also by museums/libraries. However, it basically refers to printed/written (mostly) paper products that were meant to be used once, or for one purpose, then thrown away. Examples include newspapers, advertising fliers, movie posters, menus and ticket stubs. I think that vintage cards of buttons come close to that definition. The cards certainly were not meant to be treasured. Once the buttons were used, they were to be thrown out. The buttons don’t classify, even though now-a-days they are mostly thrown out with the clothing!

I got to thinking about this as I received a lot of dusty and less than pristine cards of buttons. It occurred to me that they were bought for a purpose, but not stored with any care …. just like ephemera, they were not meant to be valued or stored beyond their function. Certainly, they were not intended to be collected as examples of manufacturing history!

So be warned, the cards I’m going to share are scruffy!

This type of button has also been seen on Beauclaire and Roger Berry cards.
Only the second button of this design in my collection.
1950s Leda buttons.
These baby Beutrons are pale pink. All the others I have are white/cream/off white. See below.

7th March 2019

Unearthed buttons:

Andrew sent me a query about the buttons he found in the Atherton Tablelands. They are typical trouser buttons. Two have “Ask for Crowns” on them.

I think I have the answer! From 1867 until 1910 “Crown Brand” moleskin trousers, “the best Mole (sic) in the world”, were imported from England for sale in Australia. They were supplied to back country Queensland.

The Daily Telegraph, 26th August 1893.

3rd March 2019

More buttons from Carol’s collection: Australian Lighthouse Service

The Commonwealth took over control from the States of the service from 1913-1915. Its role was to maintain navigational aids, light house maintainance and to transport families and supplies to and from lighthouses. A uniform from the crew of one of the ships used by the service is below, care of the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service Museum webpage: https://mvcapedonsociety.org.au/museum.html

1st March 2019

Correction for yesterday’s button: Adelaide Steamship Company

Thanks to Don for the identification. Sure enough, the Australian National Maritime Museum has an example online …

According to Wikipedia, it was formed as a cargo and passenger company between Melbourne and Adelaide in 1875. In the 1930-40s it diversified, including the formation of Adelaide Airways in 1935, which was one of the founding airlines that merged to form Australian National Airways (ANA) in 1936. The company was liquidated in 1997.

New finds:

The design on the Haby Habits card is a version of a Beutron design from the 1950s, but in cheaper plastic and with a different back. I guess it was made in the 1980s-90s in Asia to the old design. See the details below.
I love the variety of designs used by Woolies for their branding.

28th February 2019

New uniform button from Carol:

??Commonwealth Shipowners Association by O’Neill & Co.

On the 10th July 2018 post Cam Smith shared an O’Neill Button from a shipping line. This button also has the typical ‘rope’ edge of naval and shipping uniform buttons.

The Commonwealth Ship owners Association was formed in 1905 by Howard Smith Ltd, Adelaide Steamship Co, AVSN Co. Ltd., Huddart, Parker & Co, McIlwraith, Mc Eucharn & Co. By 1946 many shipping firms in Australia belonged to the organisation to manage freight costs, fares, and allocation of business. In 1946 it extended into stevedoring.

This is only a guess … any other ideas where this button originates from?

27th February 2019

Carol’s new finds: Office Cadet School button by Stokes.

Other versions of this buttons were shared on 23rd August 2018.

Royal Australian Navy: 1911-1928.

After this date the ‘lazy anchor’ was replaced by an upright one.

This button, made in England, graced a uniform made by Chorley & Co. of Sydney.

Personalised Hunt Club button:

This button has been inscribed ” Mrs P. J. Kearnes. 1940.” Searching in Trove, I uncovered the following photos:

News, 28th May 1937.
Australian Women’s Weekly, 13th Jul 1946.

The Photo of Mrs Kearns riding came from an article about the first post war season for hunt clubs to “ride to the hounds”. The button therefore comes from a Hunt Club

26th February 2019

New buttons from Carol:

These 2 tailor’s button are interesting in that they are marked as being made in Germany and England. Many tailor’s buttons do not have this marked.

Craig, Williamson & Thomas, Melbourne:

This button dates from 1879-1897, with the department store having different names prior to and after these dates. See Craig, Williamson P/L on the department store page.

J. B. Leach, Melbourne:

Reporter, 8th March 1907.

John Benjamin Leach was born in Hampshire, England. He was in partnership with William D. Fetherston and Charles R. Dyson as “The Melbourne Tailoring Company” in Bourke Street, Melbourne from circa 1883. At the end of their lease, in 1894, Leach continued on his own. “Davies & Davies” succeeded Leach running The Melbourne Tailoring company in 1920. He died in 1929. His son John Benjamin jnr., was also a tailor.