Monthly Archives: April 2020

29th April 2020

Confirmation of the pre-1859 history of vegetable ivory for buttons:

From the January 1947 edition of the National Button Gazette:

As stated in the 16th November post last year ( see although it is frequently stated that vegetable ivory buttons were invented in Austria in 1859, or that the industry started in America in 1862, the manufacture started much earlier. This English publication states that the British industry was already underway by 1843, and that the nuts had been carved “from time immemorial”. Even in America there seems to have been small scale business from 1847.

From “the Resources, Products, and Industrial History of Birmingham and the Midland Hardware District, edited by S. Timmins, 1866; it suggests the industry became mainstream  some time between 1856-1866.


New finds:

Not a great card, but the button harks back to an Beauclaire ad from the 1954:

There are 4 differing colours of this 3-lobed button in the ad.

More advertising:

Sydney Morning Herald, 11th November 1962.

Unknown magazine, 1950.

28th April 2020

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Some glass buttons with an Australian feel:

Please contact me if you know who the manufacturer is/was. They may have come from Queensland, but that is not confirmed.

Top left: Koala in branch of tree right: waratah flower Bottom left: waves? right: tide marks in the sand?

Carol’s example of the waratah:

New Landico button from Don:

Perhaps a dwarvish archer? The Landico mark is on the underside.

In 1951 Landico Pty Ltd was investigating the method of metal plating plastic that G.herring had obtained licence for some years before. All Landico buttons I have seen so far appear to be metal, like above, some with enamelling.

Foreign Trade Weekly, 1st January, 1951.

They had a Sydney agent:

Sydney telephone directory, 1950.


27th April 2020

Inspired by Pat’s marine buttons perhaps, here’s Carol’s fish.

and Don’s “pearls”:

Some examples of tubes of buttons:

Note that this form of button packaging/marketing was developed by Max Wilson (of Maxart) “which better satisfied the display needs of button retailers for display purposes as well as allowing consumers to buy just the quantity of buttons that they required. The idea was quickly adopted and is still a popular button display method worldwide. ” (Thanks Ron Wilson)













Different eras of Maxart labelling.




26th April 2020

I found some American advertising from 1954 that remind me of the advertising from the same era by Beutron. Have some fun searching for vintage advertising in Pinterest such as

Here’s several Beutron ads I’ve not seen before. The first is a counter top display c. 1949 in poor condition, the second from 1960 and the third a Hong Kong advert from the 1970s. Groovy.

1960 advert, original source unknown.



25th April 2020



Anzac day 2020:

Rising Sun badge made by General Plastics.

‘Sweetheart brooches’

Backmarks Top L to R : J.R Gaunt & Son, London x 2, Stokes & Sons Melbourne.  Bottom L to R:  Smith & Wright Birmingham, obscured, Stokes & Sons, Melb.


Hatpin tops made from 1942 and 1943 pennies:


Loyalist Token made from a penny showing  King George VI head and a RAAF button:







WW2 perspex sweetheart jewellery:

A badge encased in plastic to be used as a button, and a perspex token reverse impressed and painted for ‘Mother’. Such tokens were made in the Pacific region from salvaged perspex such as aircraft windshields.


Cigarette lighter fashioned from casing and  RAAF button:

Possibly made as rehabilitation/employment by returned soldiers.

23rd April 2020

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Seen online:

A 1950s Beutron buckle.


The Brighton Button Shop:

There has been a button merchant in Bay Street, Brighton since 1914. From 1914 until  around 1932 it was in the Brighton Bay Arcade, opposite the Palace Cinema. From c.1932 until c.1982 it was at 295 Bay Street and from then onwards at 405 Bay Street.

Researching the Melbourne phone directories, I found it listed as ‘Brighton’ or simply ‘Btn’ in 1965 through to 1974. From 1950 to 1960 it was listed under the previous owner’s name, J. H. Nugent .This would be John Henry Nugent, draper.

Earlier than 1950, I didn’t see a listing.




22nd April 2020

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Postcard of Flinders Street:

The postcard dates from after mid 1909, when the ‘new’ Flinders Street station was completed.

It shows on the right the store of Lincoln, Stuart & Co, tailors. (See branded buttons pages.)

New Button backmark:

Thanks Cam Smith

In Kelly’s  London Post Office Directory in 1891, Howard and Davies were listed as Australian shippers & tailors’ trimming warehousemen, 63 Aldermanbury, Central Eastern London. The Queen Victoria crown dates the button pre-1902, and the design appears on Victorian Railways uniform buttons.





21st April 2020

Button Companies from Sands & Dougall Melbourne Directory, Part 2:


General Plastics has moved to 36 Flinders Lane.  Haffeden & Jackson, button merchants mentioned in the 14th April post,  had a warehouse at 202 Flinders Lane also and were listed from 1960-70.

‘The Lane’ was officially gazetted in 1843. According to Wikipedia, due to its proximity to both the wharves and railway station, Flinders Lane was home to many  emporiums and soft-goods warehouses from the 1880s. It became the centre of the ‘rag trade’ in Melbourne through to the 1960s with many Jewish businesses established by migrants from war-torn Europe. My mother was apprenticed to a Jewish-owned millinery firm in the early 1950s, rising to be ‘head-girl’ of a table of workers.

Flinders Lane c.1948,_Melbourne

In the 1960 directory, Maxart Productions was listed in Bay Road, Cheltenham.

Bijou Button & Buckle had moved to 5 Shakespeare Street, Richmond.


H. Arendsen & Sons were now listed at 1305 Malvern Road, Malvern, and would continued to be so until at least 1974. See

1305 Malvern Road.

Maxart changed its listing to Maxart Pty Ltd, still in Bay Rd, but also listed Par-max Pty ltd from the same address. Beutron (Aust) Limited , no longer called G. Herring, is listed at 104 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne in 1965 and 1970, but not 1974.

My Lady’s Button Boutique was listed at 335 Bourke Street (Royal Arcade). I mention it because there is a lovely photo of the arcade showing this store:

Gog and Magog in the Royal Arcade  with a sign for My Lady’s Button Boutique.(photographer and date unknown).

The store was successful enough for a My Lady’s Button Centre in Little Collins Street and Mylady’s Button Bar in the (now demolished) Port Phillip Arcade, Flinders Street  to open by 1970.


Maxart now has multiple related companies including Par-max P/L , Consolidated Buttons Co P/L and Maxart Industries P/L in Cheltenham, Maxart P/L in Flinders Lane, and Max Wilson listing himself at 31 Wren Street, Moorabin. These notice below shows the diversifcation of the company by the time it went into liquidation.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, 1987. This shows how the company had diversified.