One modest card of Beauclaire buttons set me off on quite an historical search!
This card dates from 1953-54 when a cross promotion occurred between Twinprufe knitting wool and Beauclaire buttons, distributed by Paterson, Laing and Bruce.
Firstly the wool: Twinprufe refers to it being ‘moth-proof’ and ‘shrink-proof’. The wool was produced by F.W. Hughes P/L at their Alexandria Spinning Mills. Frederick Hughes established this firm of pastoralists, meat producers, canners, skin merchants, wool spinners and textile manufacturers in 1915. In 1966 it became a subsidiary of Ralli Australia P/L.
Secondly the buttons: According to advertising “The Twinprufe button has been especially designed in weight and size to compliment every hand-knitted garment” and were available in 2 sizes and 70 shades to perfectly match the wool.
Thirdly the distributers: The origins of this importing and manufacturing company stretches back to Geelong in 1850. After various partnerships it became Paterson, Laing and Bruce in 1879. By 1883 their warehouse in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, was the largest in Victoria. By 1909 they were leading retailers in Australia. They had a branch in London and through expansion and mergers spread to Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.
Flinders Lane warehouse, circa 1899.
The Mr. Bruce of the company’s name was John Munro Bruce. His son, who was the acting chairman of the company in 1909, was Stanley Melbourne Bruce. He became the eighth Prime Minister of Australia, serving this role from 1923-1929.
John Munro Bruce, 1899.
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1923.
This is a delightfully patriotic advert advert from 1947.
Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th January 1947.
An enlargement of their ‘Pledge to the Nation” is below…
You can see the PLB shield on the card of buttons (so they were quality buttons, guaranteed).
An advert from 1954 can be viewed on the Vintage Advertising: Beauclaire page.