10th August 2019

Apologies… more IT issues last night prevented this post being published.

I’m sharing this picture of a card of Beutron Irridel Buttons I’ve just bought.

The slogan “the beautiful plastic buttons that boil” was used by G.Herring in advertising only in 1947. The branding “Beutron Irridel” was used in 1948.  After that the name changed to “Opal-Glo”. This may have been the same product; certainly they were described in similar terms. Then, after a nine year hiatus, they resurrected the name Irridel. Why? The answer may lie in the advertising of the era, and a story I have shared previously …

From 1953  G.Herring started to warn against ‘imitators’ in the company’s advertising. In this same year General Plastic started advertising its ‘Moonglow’ buttons, which it changed in 1954 to ‘Superglow’. These buttons looked very similar to the Opal-glo buttons.

Ruth was a young wife in the late 1950s. She remembers going to her local haberdashery store were a salesman was explaining that Beauclaire buttons (General Plastic Ltd) were currently unavailable due to legal action by Beutron (G. Herring). Apparently an engineer who had worked for G. Herring now worked for General Plastic and was using the plastic formula he had helped develop for his former employer, reasoning it was ‘his’ formula. Interestingly, Beauclaire was not advertised after November 1956. It was probably this year that legal action was proceeding, or at least threatened, although I can find no mention in the newspapers. At this time the company faced financial pressures, due to the unsuccessful venture in Cairns with the “Pearlshell Manufacturing Company” (See the Pearl Buttons and General Plastics pages.) In 1956 preference shares were to be cancelled. Perhaps  these financial and legal pressures lead to the company being bought by Beutron Australia Limited at the start of 1957.

Beutron advertised “Opal-Glo with Irridel” in 1957. These ads claimed that “Ever since we been making Beutron buttons, other manufacturers have been imitating us” and warned against ‘substitutes’. Despite buying out there main competitor, they still felt the need to re-define their Opal-Glo product as distinct and superior. The following year it was advertising “Tecpearl” and all mention of imitators and substitutes had disappeared.


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