Monthly Archives: March 2018

31st March 2018

Good news! Cam Smith has found the identity of the recent mystery uniform button: It is a “Campaigners for Christ Volunteers” button. He identfied it from a reference book: Metal Uniform Embellishments of the Australian Army Post 1953 (QEII Series) Volume 1.

From Cam Smith

A couple of fellow collectors have asked me about a firm of button distributor, Grotjan & Co. The business card below is affixed to the cover of a sample folder of pearl shirt buttons owned by Jean.

F.C. Grotjan was Frederick Campbell Grotjan, son of the founding partner, Emil Grotjan, a merchant born in Hamburg who came to Melbourne in 1903. The company originally described themselves as cork merchants and indenters. They would import and distribute quite a variety of goods including foodstuffs, metal scrap and ores, horse hair and artifical limbs. In the 1930s  increased tariffs on imported pearl buttons were being debated in parliament, to protect the fledgling local industry. Emil, as spokesman for pearl button importers spoke against increased tariffs. By the 1950s they were describing themselves as a  wholesale hardware firm. Frederick retired from the firm in 1952.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8th Aug 1908

The Age, 12th September 1931.

The Argus, 5th Jan 1938.

30th March 2018

Easter Blessings to you all!

New finds from Pat:

The white buttons are flat flower pots.

These type of cards were also branded for Farmers stores in Sydney (see department store page). I wonder who suplied them?

The green buttons are on a partial ‘Lovely Lady’ card. Probably a pre-1951 General Plastics line.

and a couple of new Maxart cards in my collection.


29th March 2018 part 2

New finds:

All from Woolworths.

Above and below: More from Pat’s hoard!

The pre/post decimal currency dates these to 1966. Does anyone else have any other Solite buttons, ‘an exquisite Australian product”?

A mystery product; see the Mysteries page.

29th March 2018

Following up from yesterday… here is an advert from 1964 that contains some of the buttons from yesterday’s catalogue.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th November 1964.

New Leda buttons:

The ‘knight on horseback’ button appears also on Embassy and Woolworths cards.

Leda buttons from Pat.   Permaloid was celluloid acetate,  Permalon was a polyethylene plastic and Permalite (above left) an epoxy resin.

28th March 2018

Pat has sent me an absolute treasure trove of button pictures: I think I’ll start with a Beutron catalogue pre-1966 (i.e. pre-decimal currency). Note that the cards with curved tops (for the Opal-glo) and the rectangle card with the legend “Always matches. Never clashes” at the top were both being used at the same time. Consistency in the styling of advertising was not considered necessary!

“Fashion selected by world’s leading stylists … New York, London, Paris, Rome” Is this a confession that their designs were copied from overseas? Or a case of cultural cringe (Foreign was better than Australian)?? Or simply boastful advertising???

Love this button dispenser. As it contains ‘Tecpearl’ buttons it dates from 1958 onwards.


Some of the “fashion” (their latest designs?) appear in 1963 advertising; so possibly this is a 1963 catalogue.


26th March 2018

New finds:

Lovely hand painted Coronet brand buttons c.1940s.

Detail of paint painted flowers.

Clear glass buttons, back painted pink. ?Origin of buttons, but my other Kristine branded buttons have a Melbourne distributor’s name on the card. See post from 1st September 2017.

25th March 2018

A mystery button:

From Cam Smith

This uniform button poses a mystery. What do the letters C,C,V stand for?  ‘Something’ City Council?  Victorian ‘Something’ Club??

Perhaps the Victorian Coursing Club!? Coursing was the sport from which greyhound racing originated. From 1860 greyhounds were taken to vacant or bush land and released to chase down wallabies or hares. Later formal courses were built. One of the first clubs to start in Victoria was the Victorian Coursing Club, still in existence today. Coursing was a very popular sport, with big money spent on imported dogs, and on betting.

Illustration of the 1881 “Waterloo Cup” in Melbourne, run by the V.C.C. A race official is on horseback.

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions for this button. The backmark dates the button from circa 1895-1962.

24th March 2018

New Zealand buttons:

Beauty buttons were a brand name used by G.Herring in New Zealand but not Australia.

An exciting ‘new’ button from Pat (Thanks!!)

A hand painted plastic Cinderella button.

It has the same shank as the Disney buttons shared previously, so it may have also been made by Coronet. Unless we find some mounted, we can only guess. However, see the 1951 advert below:

I previously thought this was simply ‘poetic licence’ because of this card belonging to Sonia. Maybe there were actually real Disney Cinderellas as well.

“Cinderella” buttons. As mentioned before, these fish were originally a Rex design,  a Beauclaire then finally a Beutron design, due to mergers over the years.

23rd March 2018

New finds:

The ‘W’ chevron branding dates from 1972 until 1989. These buttons date from the 1970s by their pricing.

First time I’ve seen the old Beauclaire ‘Tiny Tot’ elephant on a Embassy card. The elephant does not appear to have had the same appeal as the ducks and fish.

A different Howes and Howes tailoring button:

22nd March 2018

New tailor’s button:

Ashmans, Bendigo:

W. G. Ashman

William George Ashman (1870-1944) started as a tailor in High Street, Eaglehawk circa 1891.  In 1908 he admitted into partnership  his brother, Arthur Thomas Ashman, as “Ashman Bros. tailors, hatters and mercers”, but by 1915 the partnership was dissolved. William continued as W.G. Ashman “The Northern District Tailors” and Arthur moved to Bacchus marsh to run his own business, although he moved back to Eaglehawk in 1918.

Bendigonian, 16 December 1915.

William had some trouble along the way. In 1901 he has to give up all his assets to creditors. In 1909 he was sentenced to 6 weeks gaol for buying gold without a licence; the authorities clamping down on this practice due to its link with gold stealing.

In 1936 William registered a new company of Ashman (William George) and Sons Pty Ltd with his sons William Basil, Eric Raglus, John Osbourne and Charles Kenneth. This business was in liquidation in 2007.