Two English brothers, Edwin and Walter Pike, came to Brisbane in 1883. They established their business, Pike Brothers, in 1885.
Published 16th may 1885 in the Queensland Figaro.
They were successful, and opened branches around Queensland, as well as an office in London. In 1956 the firm was bought by the Melbourne outfitters, Leviathan (for more, see the tailor’s button page) although the stores continued to trade under the name Pikes Brothers, then simply ‘Pikes’.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on dating carded buttons. Delving back into Trove, (the NLA’s digital resource), I found an advert from McDowell’s store in Sydney published in The Sun on 2nd February, 1950.
Detail from the ad showing a card of “Tub Buttons” bottom right.
Here’s an example of a card with the”sheets on a clothes line” graphic. Cards of buttons were advertised for sale from at least as early as 1890 in Australian newspapers, so the carding of buttons is not a new phenomenon. Most (although not all) cards were of one, two, three dozen, or even a gross of buttons. The ad detail below shows how cards of “American boilproof washing buttons” were available in 1940 (also from The Sun).
The development of plastics had been accelerated by the needs of WW2 so that plastic “wash”, “washing”, “boiling” and ‘boil proof” buttons were becoming the norm, and would come to dominate the market, at the expense of mother-of-pearl buttons. “Washing” buttons were advertised from 1912 onwards. “Boiling Buttons” were advertised from 1940 to 1954. “English Beutron wash buttons” were advertised in 1945 and “Beutron Boiling buttons” from 1947 through to 1953.
Due to the increasing quantity of tailor’s button in my collection I have had to give them a page of their own instead of being part of the “Unbranded/generic” page. Tailor’s and draper’s shops, manufacturing and retailing have been an important part of the retail and industrial development of our country. They provided employment to many, as well as a sense of purpose and identity . There is no turning back the hands of time, but it is a shame that so much local production has disappeared. Please send photos of your own to add to the blog.
The buttons below are variations on styles I have already shared with you. The gold ones are metal coated versions of a Coronet style. The glass are 3 more of the Beutron ‘Original’ bird with a big tail.
I’ve just received a treasure trove of vintage advertising (thanks Roy!), so many of the digital scans I sourced from the National Library will now be replaced with better reproductions. Check out the Beutron and Beauclaire pages. Here are a couple of new finds to wet your appetite.
Australian Women’s Weekly, 28 June 1961
Australian Women’s Weekly, 8th April 1957
Woman’s day and Home, 23rd August 1954. Pretty in pink.