14th December 2017

I bought an old ‘MacRobertson Clematis Assorted Chocolates’ tin containing old buttons.  Most of the buttons were nothing special,  but also inside were a couple of vintage,  double-sided advertising flyers from the 1950s.

The Pinnock Manufacturing company was floated in 1956 to manufacture Fridor sewing machines and household appliances.  Fridor sewing machines were at that time imported from Holland.  They were running into trouble by 1971 and have since been de-listed.

Fashion Patterns advertised in the Australian Women’s Weekly from 1939-1963.  You would post in your orders to your state’s distributors.

12thDecember 2017

New find:

A uniform button for the Commonwealth Oil Refineries company (COR) by Stokes and Sons, Melbourne.








Thanks to Wikipedia:  The Commonwealth Oil Refineries ran between 1920-1952 as a joint venture by the Australian government and the Anglo-Persian Oil company.  Billy Hughes initiated the partnership.  In 1924 the first Australian refinery opened near Laverton.  The Menzies government sold their interest in 1952 to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company,  which in 1954 become the British Petroleum Company (BP).  The brand COR was continued until 1959.

Queensland Times, 25th August 1920.

The Argus, 13th July 1923.

The Australasian, 21st July 1924.

10th December 2017

I had a delivery of parcels today, even though it’s Sunday.  The gentleman said he wouldn’t be having a day off until after Christmas!  I know you have to ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ but that’s tough.  It’s not like they get paid well anyway.  Back to the delivery.  I received something I have been waiting for with anticipation …. a box of Astoria Saftey Buttons direct from New Zealand.

Advertising card

Beutron sold the same product as ‘Cardigan Buttons’ in 1950-51.

From Lois: cardigan buttons with the instruction on the back.

This was a whole box of them, with cardboard inserts to set the box up for counter-top display.

Here are a selection of the variety the box contained:

You might notice that the card is the same as that used at one stage by Beauclaire.  Astoria was a brand name used by the NZ branch of General Plastics.  Strange, a Beauclaire card with a Beutron product.  Could this be after the 1957 merger? Did one company copy the idea from the other?

30th November 2017

Oh, dear … the computer/internet ate last nights post!

What I was trying to tell you was that Carol noticed plastic ware in NZ with the same trademark as featured on a card of NZ sourced buttons I’ve featured,  as well as the name ‘Falcon Plastics”.  I had a look on Trademe auction site and discovered that Falcon Plastics used to make “Duraware” melamine picnic ware in New Zealand.  It confirms that the card of buttons featured on the NZ Buttons page was in fact from Falcon Plastics.

 Note that historically there were “falcon ware” vases etc that were not connected with this firm. Also, there is a current firm by the same name based in AMerica; again, no relation.

28th November 2017

Final of the current series of tailor’s buttons:

S.J. Dalley, Melbourne:

Samuel John Dalley (1868-1923)  operated from the first floor of the Finks Building around 1901-1905.

The Finks Building stood on the corners of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets,  opposite the station.  It was one of the tallest buildings erected in the boom-time of the 1880s in Melbourne.  In 1898 a fire nearly destroyed a whole city block,  including this building.  It was rebuilt some years later, but the original ornate roofline was not restored.  The building was finally demolished in 1960.

C.R. Hiam, Balaclava:

The name is rather worn.

Charles Robert Hiam (1855-1924) established his tailoring business in 1887 in Carlisle Street,  Balaclava having previously worked for Gissing and Co. He advertised “cricketing and sporting garments made to order” and was at one time “the oldest established tailor in St Kilda.”

27th November 2017

Another tailor’s button … and this one deserves its own post.

Robertson and Moffat, Great Bourke Street east, Melbourne:

What we now know as Bourke St was originally known as Great Bourke Street from  the 1840s until around 1900, and the section of Little Bourke street between  Queen and Elizabeth Streets was known as Post Office Place (this was never official, but was widely used from 1866.) William Robertson and William Turner Moffat came to Melbourne during the gold rush to start a drapery store in Great Bourke Street, to take advantage of those who found gold and wished to spend up big!

The photos in this post all come from an article published in the Punch newspaper, 27th August 1907, describing the history of the firm.

They were successful,  and the store expanded.  They promoted themselves as “The House of Quality”, and as “Drapers,  Tailors,  Boot and Shoe Importers,  Furniture,  Furnishings and Carpet Warehousemen.” They set up factories to manufacture quality furniture themselves and had a notable art department.  William Robertson,  whose health had always been poor,  died after only five years in the colony,  so for many years Moffat continued alone.  In 1922 that great business dynamo,  Sidney Myer,  sucessfully negotiated the takeover by Myers Emporium of Robertson and Moffat,  which were located next to each other.

Below: the store from Post Office Place,  and then from Bourke Street:

A selection of fashions available from Robertson and Moffat through the years: all but the first were published in ‘Punch’,  a Melbourne newspaper.

Australasian, 24th November 1894

As sketched at Robertson and Moffat; 1907

Elegant race model; 1907

A charming opera Coat; 1913


Smart styles; 1915

26th November 2017

What?! More tailor’s buttons?

A. Boswarrick, Melbourne:

Arthur Boswarrick, originally from Ballarat,  (1867-1944) was a tailor in Sale, Victoria, in partnership with Mr Herbert Phillips.  They ended their partnership in 1889,  with Arthur continuing alone.  Unfortunately the business failed the following year.  He  moved to Melbourne by 1891 and by 1893 he was advertising for employees for his “Eclipse Tailoring Company” in Sydney Road, Brunswick.  He was involved in the local council and also local sporting clubs.  His first wife died in 1904 and his second wife in 1909,  only days after giving birth.  How sad.

Alston & Brown, Melbourne:

Mr Alston was born in Glasgow and came to Melbourne in 1852.  In 1857, due to the retirement of his previous partner, Thomas Alston went into partnership with William White Brown selling clothing and drapery. They became known as very fashionable, high class drapers in Collins Street until they closed the business in 1888. Mr Alston was to become a director of various companies and public institutions and a JP. He died on Christmas Day, 1907.

The article below was published in the Australasian, 12th July, 1884.


Mark and Philip, Ballarat:

These tailors operated from bridge Street, Ballarat in the 1930-1950s.