It’s been a strange and trying year, both personally and globally. I guess many people would join me in being glad to see the end of 2016. On the positive side… I’ve enjoyed compiling knowledge of this section of Australia’s manufacturing history, especially in the light of the further reduction of manufacturing in our country. I feel it is too easy to forget the stories of our past. It is too easy to overlook the ‘everyday’ and the ephemeral, and the next thing you know the stories are forgotten. So, thanks to those who have supplied me with buttons and information. I appreciate your help!
Today I’ll share with you a couple of finds of interest. The first is a cute card of Embassy brand children’s buttons from ? the 1980’s by the price tag. I’ve added a couple of buttons I had that are the same basic button with differing transfers.
The next is decades older. I bought a collection of vintage buttons that included what I refer to as compound buttons. Perhaps there is a more correct term for it, however I am referring to buttons that are made from a button within a further ‘mount’ or ‘bezel’ of material to make a larger and fancier button. I’ve already shared some Beauclaire and Beutron examples of this, but this is the first I’ve seen in a Coronet button. The centre of the black buttons is the same as that of the mottled brown coronets, but instead of a proper shaft there is only a plastic rod that looks like the button was snapped off from a sprue. This has then been mounted into a plastic disk (bezel).
One of the black centres keeps falling out, showing the mounting disk (bezel) lined with cardboard.
The reverse shows a padded disk of cloth to sew the button onto a garment.
Here are other examples from my collection. I wonder if this was a common design ploy?
The basic buttons are in the bottom row, with examples set in varying bezels above them.
A novel type of “compound” button can be seem below. This time a shaftless pearl-like button has been glued onto the basic button.
I hope you all had a blessed and joyful Christmas. I certainly enjoyed good times with friends and family, despite falling ill and ending up at the doctor’s on Christmas Eve! At least I was unable to overindulge so don’t have to worry about extra weight!
Now that it is quieter, I’m trying to organise my collection and marshal my thoughts into a coherent whole with regards to Australian and New Zealand buttons. This is in preparation for the Victorian Button Collector’s Club meeting in March 2017 when I am to present a talk on the subject. How to give an interesting history without boring people is one of my concerns. I do hope that fellow enthusiastic collectors will bring and share their buttons and stories. Do plan to come even if you are not a member, as guests are welcome. We will all benefit from each others’ knowledge and enjoy seeing each others’ treasures!
Here are a few recent finds that I haven’t yet shared:
Beauclaire “Tiny Tots” elephants. Gorgeous!
Beutron: circa late 40’s to 50’s
Embassy and Woolworths buttons.
L to R: Modern Miss, Walkers, Leda, Astor.
On the 12th day of Christmas the postie gave to me…. a massive pile of buttons to sort through! And …. an answer to a mystery!
One of the great unknowns for me has been who made the “Unnamed lovely lady/Made in Australia” buttons. A new find provides an answer.
At the bottom is partial card from Beauclaire with the same design buttons as those on the”Lovely Lady” card. As far as I can tell from my research in Trove, the name ‘Beauclaire’ only started to be used in advertising from 1951. Before that I don’t think buttons were advertised by name. Due to the larger size of the card (120×75 mm) and also the art work, I am guessing that this is a card of General Plastics buttons from the 1940’s. The company claimed to be the largest button manufacturer in Australia in 1949, so many early plastic buttons must be from this company, or its predecessors (see the General Plastics page).
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. a partial card of lovely Coronet buttons.
And a new history lesson. I received the tin below (full of buttons) recently. Back in 1882 Robert Stuart Murray from Chicago opened a factory in London, such was the demand for his American style caramels there. He registered R.S. Murray and Co. in 1900.
An Australian subsidiary was opened in 1920. By the 1930’s over 300 people were employed there. The subsidiary was acquired by Rowntree in 1942.
On the 10th day of Christmas, I thought I’d share with you … some random buttons, a Maxart sales card and a cute Beutron ad from 1961.
A mixture of Beauclaire, Beutron and Modern Miss.
There is a Melbourne 6 digit phone number, which could have been up to the mid 1980’s.
Very cute, but what has it got to do with buttons? Is it just that the little boy is as “cute as a button”?
On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. a Rising Sun CMF badge made by General Plastics.
This design was used from 1904-1949. The company name ‘General Plastics dates from 1941. Therefore this badge was made between 1941-1949. Apparently General Plastics made only a limited number of badges. They also supplied buttons to the army.
The lugs have been reset, so the first couple of letters have been obscured, but ‘NERAL PLASTICS’ can be seen around the crown.
The Rising Sun badge, also known as the General Service Badge or the Australian Army badge, was used as an army badge from 1902 for troops going to the 2nd Boer War, although the origins go back to the 1820’s. It is usually worn on the brim of the slouch hat. It became the official General Service Badge in 1911.
On the 8th day of Christmas… my true love said to me “Time to frock up for all the Christmas parties!”
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, 14th November 1929.
Williamstown Chronicle, 19th December 1941…. fascinating holiday frocks!
And now my favourite… a Prue Acton frock. The Australian Women’s Weekly 27th November 1968.
On the seventh day of Christmas the postie brought to me… a card of pink pearlised Maxart buttons and a loose larger cream one in the same design.
For a laugh, take a look at this model from February 1950!
If I hold out one of my large pointed collars, studded with diamentes, you’ll not ask me ‘What on earth have you got on your head?’
On the sixth day of Christmas I thought I’d share with you….. More Kiwi buttons!
I’ll also share with you a photo of some buttons I failed to win at auction, and the back story.
Two of these Post and Telegraph buttons are backmarked Ross and Glendining. One is Stokes and Sons, Melbourne.
John Ross and Robert Glenining were Scottish immigrants who took over a draper firm in Dunedin in 1862. They changed from retail to wholesale, becoming very successful importers of fashion and other goods from Europe. They then expanded to sheep farming, milling and manufacturing, building the Roslyn Woollen Mill in 1879 and a clothing factory in 1881. Stock such as buttons for their clothing was imported from London for the mens and boys wear they produced under the brand name Roslyn. This would probably include the above buttons. The company continued to prosper until the 1960’s, finally being bought out and broken up in 1966.
photo from File:Flickr – jabbapablo – Ross and Glendining Ltd., Manufacturers and Warehousemen.jpg
For more on the company see http://www.nzfashionmuseum.org.nz/fashion-story/ross-glendining
On the 5th Day of Christmas my true love said to me…… “Do share some more of those interesting buttons from New Zealand. You know, the ones that look like they are made by Beutron but are called ‘Titan’. “
NZ ‘Titan’ wash buttons verses Aust ‘Beutron’ wash buttons.
NZ ‘Titan’ tub buttons verses Aust ‘Beutron’ tub buttons.
‘Beauty Buttons’ by Titan.
Beauty buttons from an auction ad. Carol also got some of these on her last trip to New Zealand (see the post from the 9th November 2016).
It looks like the brands of Titan and Beutron were contemporary. Beutron was produced by G.Herring; were Titan button made under license by a company such as Falcon Plastics? Or were they made in Australia and exported to NZ by G.Herring? When did they drop the Titan name and change to Beutron? So many questions. So few answers.