20th April 2020

Nice MOP cards from Pat. The Pennant brand card is copyrighted 1922.

Would you wear pearl buttons waterskiing?

With photoshop

Without photoshop.











Button Companies from Sands & Dougall Melbourne Directory, Part 1:

Note that I won’t cover every listing. There were multiple covered button makers and haberdashery merchants.


Australian Button Company, East Melbourne:

The first button merchants listed in  appeared under ‘Haberdasherers’. The Australian Button Company  was listed at 99 George Street, East Melbourne from 1920. I think it was also known as Novelty Co. In 1942 they advertised as selling mirrors for “the bag trade”. Strangely enough for a company that was listed until 1960, that is all I know about them,

Co-incidentally, the famous Jimmy Buttons store in Fitzroy is run by an ‘Australian Button Company’, no connection!


 Both E.C. Birch and C. Wyeth (button mould maker) were listed as haberdasherers.


David Kennedy ( of Kencrest buttons fame), was listed as a button merchant at a warehouse at 118 Flinders Lane in 1935 and 1940, but not later on when he put his name on the cards of buttons! The Pearl Manufacturing Company was listed at 297 Rae Street. Fitzroy North. O.C. Rheuben & Co Ltd was listed at 111 Flinders Street. (Frank Welton Parratt, warehouseman, had been nominated as agent for O. C. Rheuben at 110 Flinders Street when the company was registered in 1935.)

297 Rae St, Fitzroy North.


Companies described in this blog, including Bijou, Cashall’s, Melbourne Button Co  and  O. C. Rheuben were listed.


‘Essential buttons of Australia’ were listed. This firm supplied casein beads to the military in 1943. They were described as a factory, and also made jewellery until at least 1954.

‘Rex Buttons’ was listed, although it had its beginnings in 1940.    http://www.ausbuttonhistory.com/?page_id=442

Grotjan & Co were now the sole agents for G. Herring, and Burns, Philp & Co. This firm were agents for various firms with offices in Melbourne and Sydney since 1903, and listed as button merchants from 1935.

F.C. Grotjan (on the card) was Frederick Campbell Grotjan, son of the founding partner, Emil Grotjan, a merchant born in Hamburg who came to Melbourne in 1903. The company originally described themselves as cork merchants and indenters. They would import and distribute quite a variety of goods including foodstuffs, metal scrap and ores, horse hair and artifical limbs. In the 1930s  increased tariffs on imported pearl buttons were being debated in parliament, to protect the fledgling local industry. Emil, as spokesman for pearl button importers spoke against increased tariffs. By the 1950s they were describing themselves as a  wholesale hardware firm. Frederick retired from the firm in 1952.

The Argus, 5th Jan 1938

1950 & 1955

General Plastics had a warehouse at 114 Flinders Street from around 1948-1955.

114-117 Flinders Street in 1946. General plastics had their Melbourne warehouse here.

Grant Featherstone Designs was listed at 138 Islington Street, Collingwood, although he did not list in 1955.  J. G. lloyd was at 94 Pelham Street, Carlton, and remained listed there until 1960.

G.Herring was not listed. This company had sold a plastic manufacturing plant and stock at 30 Russell Street, Melbourne, in June 1945. Perhaps it had been manufacturing in Melbourne, but closed this branch?

The Argus, 23rd June 1945.




Leave a Reply