Rex C. Norris/Rex Agencies (Australia) Pty Ltd

From around 1936 until it was declared insolvent in May 1939,  Reginald Charles Norris and John Henry Spiers traded as Norris and Spiers, “manufacturers of Buttons,  Buckles and casein products” from a factory in City Road,  and then Mary Street,  Surry Hills,  Sydney.

Published in Construction (Sydney) 5th October 1938.

Published in Construction (Sydney) 5th October 1938.

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Courtesy of Museum Victoria.

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Sydney Morning Herald, 8th June 1939.

Sydney Morning Herald, 8th June 1939.  The sale from the closing of the business included stock,  materials,  plant,  fixturers,  dies, etc.  Could this be why a Rex fish button is also produced by Beauclaire (and later by Beutron)? Perhaps they bought the buttons or the dies??

Reginald Charles Norris applied for registration of designs for buttons,  dress accessories and for brooches from 1941 to 1949.  In 1946-7 his company,  ‘Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd.’ was described as a ‘fancy jewellery warehouse’.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 30th August 1947.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 30th August 1947.

In 1950, Under the name Rex Charles Norris he applied for registration of designs for buttons and fancy buttons  (the name Rex is a diminutive version of Reginald).  According to the Rex Agencies web page,  “Rex Buttons” began in Victoria in 1950.  Over the decades they grew to be the  “second largest button and buckle maker in Australia” (presumably behind Beutron).

Who was Rex C. Norris?

Reginald (Rex) Nathan  Charles  Wylie Norris was born in 1903 in Castlemaine,  Victoria.  In 1925 he is listed in the electoral rolls as living in Prahran employed as a labourer.  In 1928 he and his  wife Jeanie,  are living in Toorak,  and he is now a railway employee.  By 1930 he has moved to Randwick East,  Sydney,  and is listed as working as a  ‘speciality artist’.  In 1936 he is listed as a  manufacturer,  and by 1943  a company director.  from a passenger list of the ship  ‘Strathnaver’ in 1951 leaving London in  for Sydney are listed Reginald Charles,  DOB 19 July 1903,  Importer,  and his wife Jeanie and daughter Diana.  He is last listed in the electoral rolls as a merchant in 1963.   So how did a labourer and railway employee come to be a designer,  company director and importer?

Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd. became Rex-Norris Trading Pty.Ltd.,  then Rex Agencies (Australia),  then Selit-Rex Australia,  run by Jeffrey Charles Bird.  Mr Bird died in 2012.

Jack and Jill buttons were a line of novelty buttons produced or distributed by Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd. These green koalas are owned by Robyn Caddy, VP of the Victorian Button Collectors Club. The koalas below are in my collection, bought from another Robyn (Button Broker).

Jack and Jill buttons were a line of novelty buttons distributed and/or produced by Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd.  These green koalas are owned by Robyn Caddy,  V.P.  of the Victorian Button Collectors Club.  The koalas below are in my collection,  bought from another Robyn  (Button Broker).

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There is a surprising amount of detail on the fish. 

koala

These koalas are from Carol’s collection and show another colour variation.

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Thank-you Sophie for my ducks! On the bottom right hand corner is printed REX. PATENT DISPLAY CARD 24410/49 Presumably therefore, the buttons date after 1949.

Thank-you Sophie for my ducks!  On the bottom right hand corner is printed REX. PATENT DISPLAY CARD 24410/49 Presumably therefore, the buttons date after 1949.  The card is large,  being designed for 24 buttons,  approx 13x18cm.  This design of ducks were used by Beauclaire,  Embassy and Beutron.  I suspect that Beauclaire made Embassy branded buttons,  then Beutron continued to do so after the merger,  but now I wonder if the original design came from Rex.  Did they sell the design,  or even the whole “Jack and Jill” line to Beauclaire?

Examiner 16th Jan 1953

Examiner 16th Jan 1953.

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These 2 have “Distributed by Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd.” printed on the side.

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From pre to post decimal pricing.

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Metal buttons imported by the box by Rex.

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These 2 rows are from Carol’s collection.  Thanks again for sharing!

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