Monthly Archives: January 2017

29th January 2017

A photographer under the tag of “Tyranny Sue” has a couple of button photos in the public demain:  I wonder who made these buttons?

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Brownell’s were the first department store in Hobart, opening their “London House” store in 1836. They also had a successful mail-order business.

The Mercury, 12th September 1936

The Mercury, 12th September 1936

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28th January 2017

This detail from a 1957 advert makes me chuckle.  I guess that sales staff were sick of shoppers mispronouncing it …

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And speaking of “Bow Clair”… here are some more random examples.

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Now here’s something interesting to ponder …..

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This is a detail of an article showing jewellery “recently imported from Czechoslovakia” that appeared in several newspapers from late 1937 into 1938,  showing “a collection of little animal bone buttons”. In other adverts they are described as “composition buTtons” which may be more accurate as they look like plastic.  The koala is a dead ringer for a button I’ve featured before.

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I wonder if the article was in error, and the buttons were actually made from casein,  like my koala.  Otherwise, it would seem that the design was copied.  Animal buttons of this type were very popular in the late 1930’s.  Anyway, it seems this little fellow is European!

27th January 2017

Enjoy looking through these lovely vintage newspaper advertisments.  If you collect buttons, they can help you date your buttons and buckles.  There are some gorgeous art deco styles in plastic,  ceramic and metal combinations.  Hand-made novelties were very popular,  as were dress clasps.

The Advertiser (Adewlaide) 13th September 1933

The Advertiser (Adelaide) 13th September 1933.

Truth (Brisbane) 5th September 1937

Truth (Brisbane) 5th September 1937.

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A lovely pair from The telegraph (Brisbane) 8th September 1937.

The Newcastle Sun 9th March 1939

The Newcastle Sun 9th March 1939.

Sunday Mail(Qld) 28th May 1939

Sunday Mail (Qld) 28th May 1939.

The West Wyalong Advocate (NSW) 25th August 1939

The West Wyalong Advocate (NSW) 25th August 1939.

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Erinoid was a trade name for casein plastic from the Lightpill Mills in Stroud, England. These 3 ads were published in The Telegraph (Brisbane) 13th March 1940.

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The Telegraph (Brisbane) 18th April 1940

The Telegraph (Brisbane) 18th April 1940.

The Sun(Sydney) 20th August 1941

The Sun(Sydney) 20th August 1941.

26th January 2017

Lastest finds:

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I’m busy organising my thoughts and my collection to share with members of the Victorian Button Collectors Club in March.  There’s nothing like giving a presentation to make one make an effort!  (and otherwise a nice collection may look a lot like a mess!)


19th January 2017

Lastest finds from the 1950’s:

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3 versions of a flower design by Cygnet.

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I suppose they charged more for 9 buttons on a card?

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A small version of Beauclaire’s rose design on a Beauclaire and a Leda card.  Also the first small Terries card I’ve found.

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18th January 2017

Buckles galore today!  Interestingly, the Beauclaire buckles below are the same design but on 3 different cards.  I guess that means the design was sold for some years.

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Below are buckles from the 1950’s to 1980’s from various manufacturers.

Top: (L to R)Beaucliaire, Beutron, Cygnet/Walkers Bottom: Astor,Walkers/Sullivans (distributors)

Top: (L to R ) Beauclaire, Beutron, Cygnet/Walkers
Bottom: Astor,Walkers/Sullivans.


17th January 2017

Sometimes I get outbid for some buttons with a story … outrageous!  At least I can research the story and share it with you.

Ross & Glendining, Dunedin.

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In August 1862  two Scotsmen,  John Ross and Robert Glending,  took over a drapery store in Dunedin.  It was the start of a business that would last until 1966.  They changed from retail drapery to wholesale and importing when they opened a warehouse in 1865.

The warehouse as it looked in 1908.

The warehouse as it looked in 1906.

The Stafford St factory remains, now empty.

Some of the original 1862 warehouse remains in Stafford St.. Extentions and a new facade were built in 1919.  As of 2015 there were plans for development of the site.

 Their travelling salesmen would sell goods from Europe all over New Zealand. The business diversified into sheep farming, milling and manufacturing in the 1870’s.  In 1879 they built the Roslyn Woollen Mill in the Kalkora valley, Dunedin, producing yarn, blankets, flannel, plaiding, knitwear, hosiery and men and boys wear.  The buttons and trimmings were sourced from London.  They were the largest manufacturing firm in New Zealand,  even expanding into coal mining.

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By the 1900’s over 500 people were employed at the mill.  The business changed from a partnership to a Limited company.   John Ross remained involved in the company until the 1920’s, and his sons continued after that.  The number of factories increased producing clothes and shoes under various fashion labels.  In the 1960’s the firm struggled,  finally being sold and broken up after over a century of trading in 1966.  The mill continued under new ownership until 1980.

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If you are interested in more of the story, you can get your hands of a copy of this book about the firm, “Doing Well and Doing Good.”

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14th January 2017

Today we have the tale of two tailoring forms;  one large, one small.

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First the smaller:  Samuel Holden (1869-1935), then later his son Samuel Garth Holden (1894-1958),  were tailors with a shop in Brunswick Street,  North Fitzroy.  Samuel senior was listed in local directories as a tailor from 1888.  It seems he had some employment issues.

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The Age (Melb) 1st December 1906.

The shop in Brunswick Street.

The shop in Brunswick Street.


The Leviathan Limited was a tailoring/retail firm  from 1865 until 1972.  They built the Leviathan Building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets in 1912-13, the ground floor of which has been separated into smaller stores since the late 1970’s. The firm had a link with another Victorian icon,  Fletcher Jones,  as Mr David Fletcher Jones was a director of leviathan Ltd in the 1950’s.

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Below are just a few of their delightful adverts.

Sporting Globe 24th September 1927

Sporting Globe, 24th September 1927.

Advocate 14th July 1927

Advocate, 14th July 1927.

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Table talk, 13th October 1932.


13th January 2017

When I first noticed similar glass and plastic versions of particular button designs (see 20th September 2016 post) I wasn’t confident that it wasn’t just co-incidental.  After all,  glass buttons weren’t manufactured in factories in Australia.  Would Australian button makers think it worthwhile to send their designs overseas for glass versions to be made?  Was the market big enough to make the expense of 2 versions of the same design profitable? Well, apparently so! Maybe the glass versions were more “upmarket”?

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Beutron: Plastic versions on the left, glass on the right.

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Beauclaire:  plastic (including metal coated plastic) top 3 rows,  glass versions beneath that.

Plastic teddy on the left, with glass teddies on the right. See detail from a beutron card below.

Plastic teddy on the left, with glass teddies on the right. See detail from a Beutron card below.

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Here is a beautiful red Darian glass button .Screen shot 2017-01-13 at 11.34.50 AM



12th January 2017

I’ve a couple of new adverts to share with you.

As you can see, Leda was a General Plastics product. As the term "leda by Beauclaire" was not on all Leda cards, I presume the brand was accquired by General Plastics.

As you can see, Leda was a “General Plastics product”. As the term “Leda by Beauclaire” was not on all Leda cards, I presume the brand was originally seperate then acquired by General Plastics,  which was in turn acquired by Beutron.

It's not my fault; the advert was printed in the magazine blurry!

It’s not my fault; the advert was printed in the magazine blurry! March 16 1966

I have gradually discovered more advertising:  even if you have browsed them before it is worth re-checking the advertising pages.  There are a lot of treasures there!