15th October 2019

Buttonfest finds part 4:

More Beauclaires:

These are glass buttons, therefore imported. They have four-way box shanks (see below) which, according to the Big Book of Buttons were characteristic of many Czechoslavakian glass buttons both pre WW1 and 1918-1938, which is strange as these were sold in the 1950s. Were they old stock, or were the manufacturers using up old shanks?

4-way box shank

Arthur George “Randolph” Griffiths: 1898-1952

Managing Director General Plastic 1946-1952.

(See also the Beauclaire page)

Randolph was born in Suva in 1898. His grandfather had started a Fijian newspaper, which was a challenge to distribute to remote islands by boat in the 1860s! By 1912 his parents had moved the family to Sydney. Randolph enlisted in WW1 and served for 3 years, but was deemed unfit for active service as he had a history of rheumatic heart disease. He was at that time working for the Perdriau Rubber Corporation (later Dunlop-Perdriau Ltd) and by 1935 had become the sales manager. He resigned to work on his own business, possibly Grifko Auto Accessories Ltd, which he started in 1924 but folded by 1936.

In 1920 his parents moved to California, which was perhaps a reason he travelled to America often, enabling him to research plastics and button designs. In 1921 he married Florence Rheuben, sister of Otto and Percy who had bought the pioneering Herrman Company from yet another brother in-law, Berthold Herrman. I wonder if this was a cause for concern, as he was Anglican, and they Jewish. None the less, he acted as the honorary treasurer of the Emanuel Temple. He became vice-president of the Bondi Life Saving Club where he would save 4 lives. In 1932 was elected to the local council. He enlisted again during WW2, reaching the rank of Major. At some stage he joined the family firm of O. C. Rheuben & Company, as when it became General Plastics in 1946 he was the chairman and managing director. He would be involved in setting up the short lived pearl shell manufacturing factory in Cairns in 1952, just before he died aged only 54 years. I wonder if this rheumatic heart disease caught up with him.

He was remembered for his work in the Welfare Guardian Society, the Bondi Lifesaving Club, and for his ongoing concern for Fijian natives living in New Zealand.


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