G. Herring (Beutron)

See also the page of vintage Beutron advertising.

‘G. Herring and Co.’ advertised for a traveling salesman for sheep-branding oil in 1931-2.  In March 1933 it became G. Herring and Co. Ltd.,  as a manufacturer of twine,  jute,  flax and also cotton spinning.  By 1937  they were importing button and buckles.  Also around this time they were extending into jewellery.

Published in The Argus, 21st May 1932.

Published in The Argus, 21st May 1932.  The company at this stage is located in Pitt Street, Sydney.

Glen Innes Examiner (NSW) 22nd November 1934.

Glen Innes Examiner (NSW) 22nd November 1934.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The company was named after George Gerard Herring, 1900-1980,  one of the first directors. The other first directors were Marshall Ney,  his brother Cornelius Ney,  and John Morrow.  Mr Marshall Ney was the managing director from 1933 until at least 1953.  In 1937 the address was Jones Lane,  Waterloo.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th June 1937.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th June 1937.

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Australian Women’s Weekly,  20th November 1948.

Marshall Ney, December 1949 in The Australian Women's Weekly.

Marshall Ney, December 1949 in The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Marshall Ney 1907-1977, from The Sun(sydney) 7th September 1951.

Marshall Ney 1907-1977,  from The Sun (Sydney) 7th September 1951.

"Succulent chops and sausages are being cooked by Mr. Marshall Ney at the barbecue, whilst vivacious Mrs. Ney serves drinks at their home at St. Ives."

‘Succulent chops and sausages are being cooked by Mr. Marshall Ney at the barbecue,  whilst vivacious Mrs. Ney serves drinks at their home at St. Ives.’  Australian Women’s Weekly, 7th March 1956.

In 1939 a new company was  incorporated in New South Wales from this company and the Pearl Button Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (see also the Pearl Button page.)  The company would continue to produce pearl buttons through the 1940’s. This may have been the beginning of the company producing their own buttons, rather than importing.

The Age(Melbourne)18th January 1939

The Age(Melbourne), 18th January 1939.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 9th October 1941.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald,  9th October 1941.

The article (below) from the newspaper ‘Smith’s Weekly’ 30th August 1941,  describes how the company was moving into new processes.

By 1943 the company was described as a manufacturer of casein,  mother-of-pearl buttons and dress accessories. The name ‘Beutron’ was first used by G. Herring for its buttons around 1946. (Interesting side note: there was a race horse named Beutron from 1941 and another around 1953.  I’d guess that one or both were owned by someone to do with the company.) As the company was producing buttons by 1939,   there was approximately a 4 year period when the buttons were otherwise labelled.  A brand they may have produced in this period was “Bonnie Buttons”

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The design on the top is definately a G. Herring design (see below). It is possible that these buttons have been re-sewn onto the card from some other source.

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Presuming that the buttons had come loose as the card was cut to sell a customer some buttons, and that they are in fact G.Herring buttons,  then this was a name used by the company circa early to mid 1940s.

The photos below shows that the name Beutron was originally used by the company as a name for a type of plastic (note that the Tub Buttons were ‘made from Beutron, The plastic of the Future’).  The buttons may be be casein.  Soon the trade name would apply to the buttons,  as well as the plastic. (The earliest use of the name Beutron was for a racehorse in 1941. Co-incidence,  or was the horse owned by one of G.Herring’s managers?)

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The G.Herring logo of 3 fish in a circle can be seen bottom right.  They’re herrings;  get it?

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Reports in The Sun (Sydney) of a court case in 1945 shed light on the operations of the company:

20th May 1945

above: 20th May  and right :1st July

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-4-05-32-pm1st July 1945

Published 29th July 1947, The Canberra Times. Note that the buttons are made from 'strong Beutron plastic'.

Published 29th July 1947, The Canberra Times.  Note that the buttons are made from ‘strong Beutron plastic’.

Warwick Daily News (Qld) 4th May 1948

Warwick Daily News (Qld) 4th May 1948.  G.Herring made more than buttons.

 National Archives of Australia: A1200,L12790 Mixing plastic at Beutron, Sydney, 1949

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L12790
Mixing plastic at Beutron, Sydney, 1949.

 National Archives of Australia: A1200, L12791 Extruding rods of platic to be cut into buttons. Beutron, Sydney, 1949

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L12791
Extruding rods of plastic to be cut into buttons.  Beutron, Sydney, 1949.

 National Archives of Australia: A1200, L12792 Sorting button. Beutron, Sydney, 1949

National Archives of Australia: A1200, L12792
Sorting button. Beutron, Sydney, 1949.

Published in the Sunday Herald (NSW) 13th March 1949

Published in the Sunday Herald (NSW), 13th March 1949.  The caption says: ‘Buttons by G.Herring Pty Ltd. Frocks by Farmer’s’.  These buttons seem more like costume jewellery.

 

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The buttons are now named Beutron rather than the plastic.

All these buttons

All these buttons were made expressly for ‘Richall’ Melbourne.  The only reference I have so far to this company is that The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has a child’s dress from the 1960’s with the label ‘Richall’ in its collection.

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Note the term 'British Made' was sometimes employed by patriotic Australian companies (e.g. Anderson of Sydney)

These cards were not perforated, but had to be cut to separate.  ?Mid 1940s.  Note the term ‘British Made’.

Several sizings of the same design.

Several sizes of the same design.

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Various 'Tub Buttons'. Note that the same designs were sometimes attached to 'Tub buttons' cards and also 'Wash Buttons" cards.

Various ‘Tub Buttons’.  Note that the same designs were sometimes attached to ‘Tub buttons’ cards and sometimes to ‘Wash Buttons’ cards.  Perhaps the names were just a marketing ploy.

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A box of tailor’s buttons.

Boiling buttons,  Tub buttons,  Wash buttons!  What exciting names!!

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Packing box with examples of 'Lastest Fashion' buttons on the end.

Some buttons have been affixed to the end of this Beutron  ‘Opal-Glo’ packaging box.

‘Opal-Glo’ was a line of iridescent buttons  trademarked by G.Herring on 20th December 1948  using a combination of two American plastic formulas. Screen shot 2016-01-16 at 11.11.42 AM

There were at that time 130 men designing and making more than one million buttons per week.  The company mixed and coloured their own plastic.  The powdered plastic would be poured into extruding machines to be forced under pressure into long rods of varying diameter.  These rods were cut by machine into buttons then the holes drilled.  After glazing and waxing the buttons would be inspected,  carded,  packed and distributed.  The company at that time were opening their 3rd factory in and around Sydney.  A small card of Opal-Glo buttons cost one shilling.  By 1953 the price was one shilling and four and half pence,  dropping to  one shilling three pence by 1956. 

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Style 613 from Lois.

Style 837 from Lois.

Style 837 from Lois.

Opal-Glo style x37.

Opal-Glo style 837.

Style 246

Style 246

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Stylexxx

Style 809

Style 660 in various sizes.

Style 660 in various sizes.

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Styles x and y

Styles 849 and 842

New style card with added matching cotton, from 1949.

This style card with added matching cotton,  from approx 1960.

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From Lois's collection.

Thanks to Lois.

Along with Opal-Glo,  G. Herring’s other main lines in the 1950’s included ‘Originals’,   which were  both ‘light as a feather’ plastics and a line of metal coated dress buttons.  Some of these were imported.  There were also ‘Boil-tested Whites’  for uniforms and similar,  and cardigan buttons.  These included backing disks to stop the button pulling through the knitting,  as shown in this detail from a 1950 advert.

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 The Sunday Mail (Brisbane) on the 5th July 1953,  trumpeted the  ‘most sensational advances in the Australian button trade’.   What was the cause of this excitement,  you ask?   The new Beutron press stud pearl buttons with the  clip on top that could ‘be removed in seconds’ for washing or dry-cleaning.  Oh,  boy!!

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Note that the press-studs were available in 3 sizes and 11 shades.

The buttons on the right have the same 'pearl' front but with a shaft inserted instead of a press-stud glued on. Notice hat there are 2 different sizes (at least).

The buttons on the right have the same ‘pearl’ front but with a shaft inserted instead of a press-stud glued on.

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Thanks , Lois.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old style of 'cardigan buttons' had the backing disk wasn't visible, but mounted behind the button. On the later cards it was more obvious what you where buying. I have removed several buttons with their matching disks off the card to show .

With the old style of card of ‘cardigan buttons’ the backing disk wasn’t visible,  but mounted behind the button.  On the later cards it was more obvious what you where buying.  I have removed several buttons with their matching disks off the card to show at the right.

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From Lois: cardigan buttons with the instruction on the back.

From Lois: cardigan buttons with the instruction on the back.

'Boil-tested whites'. These were marketed from around 1951 through to post decimal (1966) days.

‘Boil-tested whites’.  These were marketed from around 1951 through to post decimal (1966) days.

In Helen’s collection.

Published in The Newcastle Sun, 26th January 1950

Published in The Newcastle Sun,  26th January 1950.

Beutron 'Originals' were plastic buttons coated by a special process with 'real silver and gold' to produce a metal like button without the weight. 'Buttons by the world's greatest designers'.

 ‘Buttons by the world’s greatest designers’.

Screen shot 2016-06-26 at 8.28.49 PMFrom my (left) and Carol's collections: 3 sizes of 'wreath' style in approx 20 colours.

 

‘Originals’ metal coated plastic button:  Above from my (left) and Carol’s collections:  3 sizes of a wreath-like style of outer ring,  in approx 20 colours.

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This style above has a plain outer ring.

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From Carol’s collectionThese have a twisted rope-like style outer ring.

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This time the ring is a series of small arches.

This time the ring is a series of small arches.

Lovely flower like buttons from carol's collection.

Lovely flower like buttons from Carol’s collection.

The top row are 'light as a feather' plastic. The rest are imported glass designs.

The top row are ‘light as a feather’ plastic.  The rest are imported glass designs.

From Lois's collection.

From Lois’s collection.

As well as button cards  labelled ‘Opal-Glo’,  ‘Originals’ and ‘Boil-tested Whites’, from around 1949 til 1959 there were yellow carded ‘All Purpose’ buttons.  In 1958 Beutron’s new ‘Tec-pearl’ was marketed.  These were pearl-like plastic buttons with (supposedly) the look of pearl without the inconvenience.

the-canberra-times-1st-november-1958

The Canberra Times, 1st November 1958.

These shaped yellow cards, at first without printed prices, would remain in used until about 1960 when they were replaced with a simpler, rectangle shape.

These shaped yellow cards,  at first without printed prices,  would remain in use from 1949 until about 1960 when they were replaced with a simpler,  rectangle shape.

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Note the faux-stitching around the button edges.  The pink buttons have been sewn onto a boil-tested white card.  Oops.

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A nice variety of 'All Purpose' buttons from Lois.

Above and below:  A nice variety of ‘All Purpose’ buttons from Lois.

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Tecpearl buttons. From the top left, older style cards. The perforated rectangle cards dated ?from 1960. The TecOpal is an anomyly: I haven't seen it advertised at all.

Tecpearl buttons.  From the top left,  older style cards.  The perforated rectangle cards dated ?from 1960.  The TecOpal is unusual:  I haven’t seen it advertised at all.  However,  the name was trademarked 24th July 1957.

A disastrous fire,  sparked by an electrical storm on Sunday morning ,  the 16th November 1952,  destroyed the Herring button factory,  and damaged a couple of neighbouring factories. Employees living near-by  rushed to help fight the fire.   More arrived to protect the machinery from the heat and water,  and to help clean up.  The company was able to start manufacturing buttons the following week.  Below is a thank-you letter from the managing director, Marshall Carl Ney.

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Little more than a year later there was another fire that destroyed most of the second story of a Herring’s button factory.   This time twelve had to flee,  with 2  sustaining minor burns.  The Sydney Morning Herald,  on 19th January, 1954,  announced planned for a new factory to be built for G.Herring with an amusing title:

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The factory was to be 30,000 sq.ft  with room for a further 20.000.  It had a steel frame and saw-tooth roofing.  There was to be a ‘modern cafeteria for serving hot meals’.   As the factory was to show a  ‘delicate touch’  I’m also amused that  ‘A new note in appearance has been struck,  particularly with the main entrance … This entrance has been made as forcible as possible with a large stone-flagged forecourt … ‘.

An article in 'Building, Lighting and Engineering' 24th February 1954.

An article in ‘Building, Lighting and Engineering’ 24th February 1954.

For a long time,  all Beutron buttons were made in Australia.   As the company thrived and demand increased,  factories would be opened overseas.  In the late  1950’s  Australian made Beutron buttons were shipped in cardboard tubes to Japan to be sewn onto cards  then re-imported for retail sale.  At some stage after October 1958 the company became Beutron Australia Ltd.  In 1963  F.W. Williams Holding acquired a half interest in the company.  By that stage there were,  or had been,  factories in Sydney,  Hong Kong,  New Zealand,  Japan and  South Africa and Beutron branded buttons were being supplied world-wide.     Beutron was purchased in 2001 by Leutenegger, a large craft firm that was started in 1891 in Brisbane by a Swiss immigrant,  Jacques Leutenegger.

Note that theplastic buttons were entirely Australian made, but Beutron glass buttons had imported tops.

Note that the plastic buttons were entirely Australian made,  but Beutron glass buttons had imported bases.  However, there was still ‘nothing better than a Beutron.’  The buttons below date from c.1960-1966.

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The top left buttons are dyed mother-of-pearl. Top right are metal coated plastic. The middle row has opal-gol style buttons. The bottom a general purpose style. However, they are no longer labelled that way.

The top left buttons are dyed mother-of-pearl.  Top right are metal coated plastic (like an Original).  The middle row has Opal-glo style buttons.  The bottom a General Purpose style.  However, they are no longer labelled that way.

From Lois's collection.

From Lois’s collection. ‘Colour Matched’ was a marketing line in the 1960s.

 'New Beutron' ?? Perhaps after a merger?

‘New Beutron’ ? Perhaps after a merger? Probably mid 1960s.

From Lois's collection.

From Lois’s collection. 1966.

Beutron through the years from ?late 60's-early 70's through to the modern era of ownership by J.Leutenegger Pty Ltd (bottom right)

Beutron through the years from ? late 60s-early 70s through to the modern era of ownership by  J.Leutenegger Pty Ltd (bottom right).

Beutron packaged and/or made buttons for other companies/stores such as these;  Kmart,  Target and Butterick.  Probably 1970s era.

others

1980s or beyond (due to bar-codes) :  now produced in Thailand

kids

Children’s buttons  ? 1980s.

Pretty 12mm pearlescent pink buttons produced by Beutron for Butterick. Details from the tune label below.

Pretty 12mm pearlescent pink buttons produced by Beutron for Butterick.  Details from the tune label below.

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From Carol’s collection:

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‘Crystal’? Are these glass or a clear plastic like lucite?

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BUCKLES:

Buckles from Carol's collection.

Buckles from Carol’s collection.

In Helen’s collection.

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And now something totally groovy!

groovy

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