15th September 2019

Please note: the new address of this blog is austhistory.com


Birmingham Button Manufacturing: Part 8

Manufacturers mentioned by John Pemberton Turner in 1866.

Samuel & Thomas Aston/John Aston & Co.

John Aston (1802-1882) was a contemporary, and rival, of Benjamin Sanders.  His grandfather William ( born before 1730, tarding at Princip Street),  father Samuel ( 1754-1820) and uncle Thomas had also been in the Birmingham button trade.  John, with brothers Thomas (1789-1855) and William (1787-1842) took over the family firm of ‘Samuel and Thomas Aston’ at St Paul’s Square, after their father’s death until 1823.John then continued with Thomas only until 1833, then on his own account. he manufactures Florentine and silk buttons under the name ‘Jon Aston’ as well as gilt and plated buttons as ‘ John Aston & Co.’

In 1825 John patented a fabric button, similar to that of  Sanders in 1813. Sanders challenged this is court in 1832.

Details from a 1834 patent application.

He patented a button making press in 1841 that was displayed at the 1850 Great Exhibition. It was the fabric buttons  of people like  Sanders and Aston that resulted in the demise of the Dorset button industry. In 1841 In 1841 he patented and manufactured the invention of Humphrey Jeffries of a three-fold linen button, which became hugely successful. By 1841 the firm employed 356 people. A directory of 1878 describes the company as “manufacturers of plain & fancy silk buttons, fancy linen buttons, florentine buttons, the original patent linen buttons & the patent triplicate linen buttons”, located at the Eagle Button Works, Summer Hill. He retired as a partner of John Aston & Co in December 1879, and the business was carried forward by his sons Thomas Lawrence Aston (1829-1892) and George Lyttleton Aston (1839-1902), together with William White.





Palmer & Perkins:

In 1770 ‘Palmer & Perkins’ were listed as button and coach spring makers. This may have been a Mark Perkins (or a relation of his) who took over the mortgage of a ‘glit toy maker’ called John Richards i upon John’s death in 1837. I can find no other reference except for Mr Tuner’s refrence to Mr Perkins as a button manufacturer in his 1866 report.



Leave a Reply