Further examples of manufacturers who produced buttons for the military:
Cushioned Heels Limited: Carlton
In 1938 Sandals Pty. Ltd. converted to a public company and changed their name. As expected with a name like that, this company produced moulded heels for shoes. They operated at 15 Macarthur place, Carlton until 1951.
Commonwealth Gazette 21st January 1943.
Burns, Philip & Co. Ltd.
Two Scotsmen, James Burns and Robert Philip, founded this company in 1870 to establish a regular shipping line between Sydney and Townsville. They expanded along the Queensland coast and into the South Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa and the New Hebrides. During WW2 the company was a major trader in this region. Perhaps this was why it was able to tender for pearl Buttons for the Navy. It became a major food manufacturer before delisting in 2006.
Commonweath Gazette 11th June 1942.
Burns Philip Building, 1901, Townsville.
Burns Philip Building, Bridge Street Sydney, built 1901.
Raynors Pty. Ltd.: NSW
Commonwealth gazette 9th April 1953.
Raynors were (?are) engravers who expanded into die-casting and general metal engineering. They operated from at least 1932 until 1977.
Dunlop Weatherproofs Australia Pty. Ltd.: Wagga Wagga
In 1944 the Dunlop rubber Co. Ltd took over a munitions factory in Wagga Wagga and registered a garment division of the company, to make uniforms for the military. After the war they continued as the largest single employer in the region, only closing in 1977.
L. Sullivan: Euroa
In 1919-1920 Laurence Sullivan advertised his tailoring shop in the former E.T. Stammers (also a country tailor) store.
Euroa Advertiser 23rd January 1920.
Mather Brothers: Ballarat
James Walter Oliphant Mather, a Scot by birth, was a tailor in Armstrong Street, Ballarat. In 1918 , two years before he died, he handed over his business to his sons, Walter Percival, James Lewis and Francis Richard to run as Mather Brothers. James died in 1931 and ‘Perce” retired in 1946. I don’t know if the business continued after this.
Hopetoun Courier and Malle Pioneer 23rd August 1918. I Couldn’t find any advertising for the brothers.
John Edward Buchan was born in Melbourne, but moved to Ballarat as a child. He was a tailor situated at “Bath Corner”. In 1885 he partnered with Mr Jackson to form the “Gold Mines Clothing Company”. Several year later Mr. Jackson had to retire due to ill health and so John continued alone. Unfortunately he contracted pneumonia and died in December of 1897, aged only forty-one years.
Bendigo Advertiser, 16th September 1885.
Bendigo Advertiser, 17th January 1888.
Snow’s : Melbourne
As early as 1892 John Snow and Co., “the increasingly popular and premium drapery emporium of inland Victoria”, were operating in Ballarat.
Hand coloured postcard of Ballarat circa 1910. The John Snow Company building can be seen to the right of the Town Hall with it’s clock tower.
Table Talk, 10th January 1929.
The Argus, 24th August 1931.
Around 1915 they opened in Flinders Street opposite the station. In 1926 they purchased the business of Lincoln, Stuart Pty Ltd.(see the Tailor’s button page). The men’s wear department was sold to be run as a separate business, “Snow’s Men’s Wear Ltd.” in 1937 with the parent company continuing in Hawthorn. They moved from their premises next door in Flinders Street, with Tattersalls moving into the original building, and later on Yooralla. This Art Deco building, although much renovated, still stands today but it’s days may be numbered as developers wish to demolish and rebuild.
Gowing Brothers Limited: Sydney
John Ellis Gowing was born in 1835 in Suffolk. He emmigrated to Sydney in 1857 and died in 1908.
John Ellis Gowing opened a drapery business in Sydney in 1863. In 1868 he was joined by his brother Preston, and Gowing Brothers was born. It was a department store specialising in novelties, camping gear and men’s wear, and had trademarked lines of clothing. Although an investment arm of the business survives today, the last department store closed in 2006.
“Gowings perfect gentleman”. The company boasted of pioneering affordable ready made suits made from Australian wool.
I’m excited to now have a product to match with a name: Australian Buttons and Buckles Pty. Ltd. This company existed from 1936 until 1951 when they went into receivership. They produced casein buttons and coverable button moulds, including the “Jiffy” below, and the “Jiffy delux” which had a ring of gold or silver showing.
Below are some lovely new goodies!
It turned out that my new “supplier”, Amy, had out bid me on these Joy-tu-boils, but that’s ok if she then sells them to me!
In 1927 in North Melbourne John W. Derham formed the Australian Moulding Corporation. This Company produced ‘Saxon’ and “Harlequin” ware. To survive the Great depression in 1932 the company merged with Moulded Products (a company started in 1931 producing gramphone records) to become Moulded Products (Australasia) Pty. Ltd. Dunlop Perdiau had a controlling interest in this firm from 1934 until 1937. During the war required the company was obliged to produce only military requirements, including plastic and vegetable ivory buttons.
Government Gazette, 19 December 1940.
The company became the largest producer of moulded plastic products in Australia. In 1944 a new factory was built in Mentone. New products, such as garden hoses were made. In 1966 the company was renamed Nylex Pty Ltd. The factory employed many people at the Mentone factory until its closure in 2006.
Radio silence has ended…. Blog/Hosting problems! I have some new Koalas in pink and grey, and a new tailor’s button.
W. Gribbles & Co; Ballarat.
1896 advertising from the Sovereign Hill and Gold Museum.
W. Gribbles and Co. , tailors, were located at 27 Sturt Street, Ballarat. They used material from the Ballarat Woollen Mills for their expertly cut suits. They bought out an existing business in 1887 and were still trading in 1954.
With Anzac day being celebrated tomorrow it is timely to discuss “trench art”. Trench art encompasses any decorative item made by soldiers, POW’s or civilians where the manufacture is linked to armed conflict or its consequences. They can be functional or purely decorative and may use materials such as shell and bullet casings, wood or bone. Some pieces include uniform buttons. Trench art is known from the Napoleonic wars onwards, but is commonly used to describe items made during WW1, hence the name. Some pieces were made during quiet times in battle zones; others were fashioned as momentos once the soldiers returned home. Others, such as the one below, were probably made by returned soldiers for rehabilitation and employment.
This casing has a R.A.A.F. button at one end. Inside it has been fitted with the workings to be a cigarette lighter. The picture below came from The Weekly Times, 24th March 1917. The knives were made using bullets, cartridges and shell casings and buttons by a soldier.
I have some new finds to share, as well as a few that got away….
The top corners are both Woolworths, the middle Modern Miss. The bottom is Delphi, Maxart and Beutron.
Smith’s Weekly 12th January 1924. A caricature of George Bond. (Notice the ‘Made in Australia’ stamp on his forehead.)
Around 1907 an American by the name of George Alan Bond came to Australia. From 1915 he started patenting and trademarking article of clothing. The firm of George A. Bond and Company was the start of what became Bonds Industries Limited. From 1932 to 1938 they advertised ‘Silver Ram’ pure woollen underwear.
Bonds ‘Silver Ram’.
The Sun(Sydney) 23rd June 1938.
From New Zealand, here are a few items I’ve seen advertised:
…. and some Coronet buttons that got a bit pricey in bidding on Ebay. Never mind; I did win on another lot that I’ll be able to share soon.
I am astounded to still be turning up past button manufacturers. I keep thinking “surely that’s it”, only to stumble across another couple!
E. W. Tilley, 123 Latrobe Street Melbourne:
In 1935-6 this manufacturer was referred to as a die-shop then in 1937 as a bakelite factory. Later it was described as a plastic moulder. In 1944 the government was leasing out factories that had been used for war supplies, and ‘F. W. Tilley’ (sic) was listed as “producing plastic buttons and accessories for Service and civilian needs” in an ex-ordinance component factory in Hamilton, Victoria. In 1945 the name was changed to Tilley Plastics and in 1947 it was publicly listed. It was struck off in 1982.
The Argus 7th November 1945.
?unknown; owners Mr & Mrs Gintz, Flinders Lane.
Weekly Times 6th November 1946.
Fleeing to Melbourne from Czechoslovakia in 1939, Karel (Charles) and Eliska (Elsie) Gintz established a button factory in Flinders Lane. As her husband became unwell, and then died, she gradually took over management of the factory, despite not having previous experience. During the war the entire output diverted to military stock. In 1946 the article about her in The Weekly Times claimed there was only one other factory of this type in Melbourne at that time.
?Plymouth Plastics, Melbourne:
Barrier Daily truth (broken Hill) 15th May 1951.
The Argus, 11th October 1956. This may be the factory involved.
I’ve found a view more mysterious button manufacturers by trawling through Trove. Some, frustratingly, are just a reference….
Austral Pearl Company:
The Age, 18th July 1889.
Jewish herald, 20th December 1889.
The Fink’s Building was built on the corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Streets in 1880. A fire destroyed it in 1897. It was rebuilt, but finally demolished. What a shame.
An early pearl button manufacturer was John Ward, late from Birmingham, who traded in Brisbane from at least 1884 to May 1889.
The Telegraph, 11th October 1884.
The Telegraph, 13th May 1889.
T. H. Cheese:
Trent Hirst Cheese 1907-1986.
The Sun (Sydney) 14th Aug 1936. The company was struck off in 1943.
Buttons Ltd/Button Manufacturing Company:
The Sydney Morning Herald 7 September 1935.
Vogue Button Company:
The Age, 20th November 1935.
The Age 16th June 1937.
The advertisement at the bottom shows that this plastics firm became a button manufacturer. It spanned over 10 years.
Daily Commerial News and Shipping List 15th May 1926. “P.A.”Yeoman was a mining engineer, inventor and grazier who became famous for the “Keyline System” for land management, which became the basis on modern farming technique, and of permaculture.