Author Archives: abuttonadmin

23rd March 2017

Back in June last year a member of the Victorian  Button Collectors club told me a story involving legal action of G. Herring against General Plastics.  Looking at some of my buttons last week she was able to tell me more.  In approximately 1950 she was a young lady.  One day she visited the haberdashery store near her work place where she had some goods on order.  A button sales rep. was there and told her and the staff that General Plastics had produced buttons using g. Herring’s Opal-glo’ formulae.  Due to this dispute the supply of these buttons was on hold.   Apparently the industrial chemist/engineer who had developed the formula was now working for General Plastics and believed that it belonged to him rather than the company. This was probably a bit naive of him as G.Herring Pty. Ltd. registered the design on the 20th December 1948.  I can’t find any record of this in the papers,  but of course the issue may have been settled out of court.  In my collection I notice that Beauclaire ‘Moonglow’ buttons are replaced by ‘Superglow’ buttons.  Perhaps this change of marketing reflects a change of the formula used?

22nd March 2017

Last Tuesday Sonia brought along a wonderful card of buttons that I had seen advertised way back in 1951!  She has kindly sent me an image.


Examiner (Launceston) 13th Jan 1951.

Examiner (Launceston) 13th Jan 1951.

This is intriguing.  These are exactly the same fish as on my Rex C. Norris card of the same era. There were also Coronet branded Disney buttons in this era. Were Coronet part of the same company as that distributed Rex/Jack and Jill buttons??

21st March 2017

Further tailor’s buttons:

Newbury & Son, Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-21 at 1.51.23 PM

Charles Hyatt Newbury, son of Charles Hyatt senior, grocer,  and later his son, Charles Robert Newbury, were mercers and drapers in City Road,  Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne) from before 1890 until at least 1922. The next Charles (Renton) Newton let down the family by becoming an orthodontist.

1934 CR Newbury

The Record (Emerald Hill) October 1922.

The Record (Emerald Hill) October 1922.

Waldrop Pty. Ltd. Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-21 at 1.51.35 PM

George Waldrop started his tailoring and mercers business around 1885. It was taken over by Roger David Pty. Ltd. in 1977.

Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 7.37.05 PM Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 7.36.53 PM

Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser 14th October 1921

The table below, from the same article above regarding Wardrop’s,  shows the staggering size of the clothing industry in Melbourne in the 1920-1930’s.

The Argus 10th April 1935.

The Argus 10th April 1935.


20th March 2017

And yet more tailor’s buttons:

R. C. Norman, Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 6.40.49 PM

Richard Charles Norman was born in Middlesex in 1874. He was a tailor in Melbourne from at least 1903 and  died in 1943.

Haigh Brothers, Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 6.40.35 PM

Haigh Brothers were tailors and outfitters in Collins Street from 1853 through until at least 1926.

The Argus 18th June 1853.

The Argus 18th June 1853.

The Argus 27th November 1923.

The Argus 27th November 1923.

Screen shot 2017-03-19 at 8.59.59 PM

circa 1883. Collins Street from Town Hall.

Burkby and Waggen, Sale

Screen shot 2017-03-20 at 6.40.16 PM

Frederick James Burby and his son-in-law,  Vincent St.Clair Wagglen,  took over a tailoring business in Sale in 1923.

Gippsland Times, 12th March 1923.

Gippsland Times, 12th March 1923.

Less than 18 months later they dissolved the partnership,  with Mr Wagglen continuing alone.  There must be a sad tale underlying this,  as he only kept the business going for another two years before starting again in Sunshine.  This business in turn lasted for around 3 years.  In the following years he was separated from his wife then in 1941 he died at the age of 50 years.

19th March 2017

I continue with my series on tailor’s buttons.

The Mutual Store,  Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-19 at 8.54.03 PM

The Mutual Store Limited was Melbourne’s first department store, established in 1872. A fire destroyed the original building in 1891, but was rebuilt successfully.

Screen shot 2017-03-19 at 6.47.22 PM

The second building.

The department store traded until 1965.  It was used for the Council of Adult Education for many years, and then converted into apartments.

Gilbert A. Parker, Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-19 at 8.47.47 PM

Gilbert Alexander Parker was born in 1897 in Bunbury, West Australia.  His family moved to Melbourne after the death of his father.  He started work as a tailor’s cutter, progressed to tailor and then manager.  In 1929 to 1931 he advertised for sewers and machinists to work at 152 Elizabeth Street, 4th Floor.

15th November 1929, The Age.

15th November 1929, The Age.

W. G. Scates, Swanston St. Melbourne

Screen shot 2017-03-19 at 8.52.11 PM

William Gardiner Scates was born in Ballarat East in 1892. He became a tailor with outlets in Swanston Street and also Footscray. He died in 1973.

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934. What pray-tell, is a practical tailor?

Werribee Shire Banner, 1st February 1934. What pray-tell, is a practical tailor?


16th March 2017

Thank-you to all those who attended my presentation on Australian buttons at the Victorian Button Collectors Club meeting on Tuesday.  Perhaps you may be more intrigued about the subject now!  I had fun and I hope you did too.

New finds:

Screen shot 2017-03-16 at 5.38.57 PM

I don’t know where ‘Latest Style’ comes from, but the graphics are quaint.

Thanks, Nadia for these!

Thanks, Nadia for these!

Screen shot 2017-03-16 at 5.39.07 PM

I’m working through a new collection of tailors’ buttons: here’s one as an appetiser. Check out the ‘tailors’ page for more.

Woulfe & Son, Brisbane:

Screen shot 2017-03-15 at 8.13.08 PM

Screen shot 2017-03-16 at 5.57.47 PM

Patrick Woulfe (1888-1948) set up his tailors establishment in Adelaide Street,  Brisbane,  in 1913.  He was a successful businessman;  by 1939 he employed 400 people with outlets in other Queensland cities.  The family continued with the business after his untimely death,  with it finally being wound up in 1972.

Screen shot 2017-03-15 at 7.58.45 PM

This photo is so daggy!  I love Harry-high pants in the middle.  From the Telegraph, 3rd November 1953.     “Here are three well-dressed men,  unperturbed at the prospect of hot summer days,  yet fully prepared for the cooler evenings.  They are dressed by Woulfe and Son Pty. Ltd.




14th March 2017

Carol F. has kindly sent me a new button photo for the collection.

Screen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.29.11 AMScreen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.28.59 AM 






Charles Roper Martin (1833-1910) arrived in Melbourne in 1852 on the same ship as my husband’s great-grandfather. In 1885 he established an importing business in Flinders Lane,  particularly gold and silver lace.  He was a pioneer of the Melbourne Cavalry Troop,  and rose to the rank of Commanding officer,  retiring with the rank of Major. His interest in military matters extended to manufacturing of military trappings.  The button above shows a Queen Victoria crown, and was produced for the Queensland Railways, so he was also producing government uniform buttons.

13th March 2017

I received some feedback that other people are finding the vintage advertising helpful to identify and date buttons from their own collections.  This motivated me to return to Trove and re-trawl through advertising,  looking for illustrations of buttons, and I made a couple of discoveries…

The Daily News, 14th Jan 1942


23 sep 1943


Screen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.34.12 AM

I suspected that these 11×7 cm cards dated from the 1940’s, so it’s great to have these ads for confirmation.


1946. The profile of the card on the left was familiar…

Screen shot 2017-03-13 at 11.35.47 AM

And yet this is a Coronet design button! (see the Coronet page). Presumably both Coronet and ‘Latest fashion’ buttons were produced by the same firm.

I’ve added more to the ‘vintage advertising’ page. Have a look!

10th March 2017

Old buttons continue to come out of the woodwork.  The Beutron buttons obviously date from around 1950 as they have the same artwork as the “clothes line” cards, but are printed to be cut into half dozens.

Screen shot 2017-03-10 at 6.39.06 PM

The yellow buttons look like painted wood, but are plastic.  The Word ‘Australia’ can be seen at the bottom.

Screen shot 2017-03-10 at 6.39.49 PM

These tubes of buttons are from Terries, except for the short one which is from Astor.

Screen shot 2017-03-10 at 6.57.00 PM

7th March 2017

The issuing collecting of commemorative medallions has a long history.  Many Australian die-sinkers produced these as well as buttons,badges, medals and the like.  Here is a medallion struck to commemorate Stokes and Sons centenary.  It includes the likeness of Thomas Stokes I have found.

Screen shot 2017-03-07 at 3.21.33 PM

Screen shot 2017-03-07 at 3.21.45 PM

Perfection Plate, a silverware firm, produced buttons for the military in 1942.

Commonwealth Gazette, 1942

Commonwealth Gazette, 1942

I couldn’t resist this quirky offering from the company in 1954.

detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th Novemeber 1954.

Detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th November 1954.  A Commonwealth Military Forces button with the Perection Plate backmark in the foreground.

Screen shot 2017-03-07 at 5.30.01 PM

Detail from Pike Bros. advert in the Courier mail (Brisbane). 29th November 1954.