10th April 2020

A mystery:

Who was this button manufacturer?

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20th June 1919.

The only button manufacturer in Sydney that I am aware of around this time was ‘Herrman, Hatfield & Co’, but they could not have formed their partnership until February 1920 when Albert Hatfield returned from active service during WW1. Perhaps Berthold Herrman had started manufacturing before then? Otherwise, this is an unknown factory.

Button Borers:

When recently writing about ‘dangerous buttons’, perhaps I should have mentioned the possibility of infestation?

Starting in 1934 articles started appearing that warned of boring beetles laying eggs in trouser buttons (? made of Tagua nuts). The grubs would hatch, and by eating the inside of the buttons undermine their structure and cause them to collapse.

Chronicle, 17th October 1935.

I thought this was a bit of a beat up against imported buttons by local manufacturers, as  only a couple of articles were reprinted time and time again. Then there was a reply …

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th October 1935.

So these kind of boring buttons were well known, but could also attack other plant and animal based buttons, including casein, compositon, etc. A decade later an article entitled ‘Man verses The Insects – A War That Never Ends’  it described beetles laying their eggs in drying buttons with the lavae eating it after drying and stamping. Tough critters!




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