Thanks to Ronald Wilson for this history of Maxart:

John (Jack) Frederick Wilson (1916-1992)  was an industrial chemist.  After the war Jack went into business at Maxart Pty. Ltd. with his brother Maxwell Henry Wilson  (1918-1980)  who had established the company to supply his mother’s Block Arcade business (Rosebud Frock Decorators)  with sequins & beads from about 1947.  

Rosebud advertised from 1945-1956 in Melbourne newspapers.

Rosebud advertised from 1945-1956 in Melbourne newspapers.

Advocate (Burnie, Tas) 30th september 1948

Advocate (Burnie, Tas), 30th September 1948.

The Argus (Melbourne) 10th October 1953

The Argus (Melbourne), 10th October 1953.







The company then diversified into the manufacture and importing of buttons.   Jack was successful in developing the business further by dyeing buttons to the latest fashion colours.   Max then developed the packaging of buttons in tubes which better satisfied the display needs of button retailers for display purposes as well as allowing consumers to buy just the quantity of buttons that they required.  The idea was quickly adopted and is still a popular button display method worldwide. 

3 tube of the type developed by Maxart showing different art work over time. The top version dates from 1968

3 tube of the type developed by Jack,  showing different art work over time.  The top version dates from 1968.

Maxart became the major manufacturer of fashion buttons to Australian retailers including Myer as well as specialist wool and fabric stores.  Later his three sons joined the business.  They diversified the company’s product range.  Maxart Plastics Pty. Ltd. injection moulding was formed with Frank Lenthall to manufacture Nylon and ABS Plated buttons.  Brian  and Alan Wilson diversified the company further into  women’s belts then introduced a highly successful range of jewellery quality buttons imported from overseas.  Ronald later bought out the Maxart companies from the family.  Maxart stopped trading in 1992.  The removal of tariffs on garment imports had dramatically reduced demand for buttons in Australia from industry and individuals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From the Victorian Public Archive: Maxart applied to extend the factory in 1957,  and again in 1964 to extend and repair after fire damage.

Maxart button plant 1980. From the Wilson family tree on

Maxart button plant 1980.  From the Wilson family tree on


Maxart Buttons in Cheltenham, Melbourne, Victoria. 1980

Maxart Buttons in Cheltenham,  Melbourne,  Victoria. 1980

?1950’s era Maxart buttons.

Same card as the smaller ones above, but the printing is solid colour rather than pink/white stripes.

? early 1960’s cards.

post 1966-1970’s



From an auction advert. 1980’s.


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From Carol’s collection.

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S.S.Maxart, how cute!

S.S.Maxart, how cute!

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Now from Lois’s collection:

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2 boxes i purchased at Buttonmania's closing down sale.

2 boxes i purchased at Buttonmania’s closing down sale.