25th November 2017

Even more tailor’s buttons:

Ben Cohen, Melbourne:

Benjamin Cohen (1853-1935),  tailor and outfitter, operated from 252 Collins Street from around 1902, then the Flinders Building in Flinders Street from around 1911.  In 1920 he was listed in the Eastern Arcade.  The Eastern Arcade no longer exists, but ran from Lt Collins Street to Bourke Street in between Russell and Exhibition Streets.  In 1922  a Ben Cohen was arrested for running an illegal betting house in the Eastern Arcade, so presumably in was the same man! Readers may realise he is not the first tailor in Melbourne to be charged for this!

Howes and Howes, Sydney:

The Sun, 8th June 1911.

Howes and Howes opened in Pitt Street  in 1889, and were still located there in 1954.  I have not been able to find out how long the firm lasted.  One of the original “Howes” was Alfred Howes;  the other may have been a brother.  His father, George Howes was also a tailor in Sydney from at least 1854, and was considered a father of the  trade in that city, having trained or employed many of the city’s tailors.  He died in 1909 at the age of 81 years. Alfred was born in Sydney in 1864,  and died after surgery for appedicitis in 1919.  In his will Alfred left the business to be run as a limited company,  with his family and old employees as the founding shareholders. 

24th November 2017

More tailor’s buttons:

R.W. Raby, Melbourne:

Sorry about the definition; the button is quite worn.

Robert William Raby was a tailor and outfitter in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne from at least 1894.  Around the years of 1896-1905 his business was known as “Raby and Co.” then he was in partnership with Alexander Wilson as “Raby and Wilson” from around 1909-1913.  After that he operated as R.W. Raby until his death in 1939.

Published in ‘Freelance’, 21st May 1896.

Published in ‘Winner’ 5th Aug 1914.

A.Phillips, Minyip:

Published in the Minyip Guardian and Sheep Hills Advocate, 7th Novenber 1916.

Andrew Phillips, a native of Derry, Ireland, came to victoria in 1878.  He moved to Minyip around 1883 to run a general store.  The business was successful,  and grew to be known as “The Big Store”. Mr Phillips was very involved in community life, and became a local councilloras well as a Justice of the Peace.  In 1916 he was tragically killed,  falling from a train.

21st November 2017

New tailor’s buttons from Helen’s collection:

J. J. Scotchmer, Lismore:

John James Scotchmer was born in England in 1854.  He moved to New South Wales and started tailoring, first in Milton in 1880,  then in Nowra from 1883,  and then at Woodlark Street,  Lismore from 1907.  From 1922 his son Randolph Charles Scotchmer (who had worked with Hooper and Harrison) joined him,  so the business became J. J. Scotchmer and Son.

From the The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser 7th March 1891:  J.J.Scotchmer’s tailoring establishment in Nowra.

Northern Star, 17th Jul 1907.

Palmer’s: Sydney


The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th May 1931




Palmers (F. J. Palmers and Son’s Ltd) was a menswear department store selling “Everything for Mankind and The Boy”. The photo below, from the 1930s in the NSW State Library collection, shows the store close to Murdoch’s.

Frederick John Palmer was born in 1854 in Bristol,  England.  He started as a hat manufacturer in Sydney in 1880,  then expanded into tailoring and mercery.  His son Ernest Albert Palmer would run the Haymarket branch of their business.  He died suddenly after a short illness in 1920, at the age of 63 years.

Frederick John Palmer

Ernest Albert Palmer


15th November 2017

New tailor’s buttons:

F. A. Johnson, Richmond:

Frederick Adolph Johnson was born in Dunedin,  New Zealand in 1888.   From 1930 he lived in Richmond,  moving to Morwell around 1939.

Ince Bros., Melbourne:


Richard Ince and his brother Arthur owned this tailoring firm.  Richard was born in Collingwood in 1863.  Soon after the family moved to Ballarat were his father,  Richard senior,  was a cutter for L. S. Christie & Co, before going into partnership  as ‘Young and Ince’.  The sons also worked with this  firm.  Around 1887 Arthur moved to Geelong and Richard moved to Melbourne. They operated as Ince Bothers, with Richard located in Swanston Street. They would travel to country towns such as Camperdown, Kyneton and Yackandanda to take fittings for suits.

Wahalla Chronicle and Moondarra Advertiser, 23rd April 1915.

In 1901 their mother died in Ballarat.  Richard senior re-married in 1903,  at the age of 71 years, to a 25 year old woman in Melbourne.  Having  married in the afternoon they booked into a hotel.  Twenty minutes after retiring, the new bride ran to the manager for help;  her husband lying dead in his bed. Oh dear!


A new plastic button from Fletcher Jones that looks like pearl-shell.

12th November 2017

The warmer weather (at last) has me thinking about Spring fashions.  Here are a couple of ideas from 1907 and 1909.

Sunday Times, 8th September 1907. “Cream Sicilian Costume … smart buttons are used to ornament the vest.”

The Star (Sydney) 30th Jul 1909. A “princess robe made of moonlight blue volie with large
pansy purple velvet buttons on It.”

8th November 2017

Latest finds: Excellent condition Beutron cards from circa 1950.

… plus some new Disneys (unfortunately the blue Chip as a snapped shaft) as well as a Beauclaire rabbit and a very 3D Darian button. Apparently American collectors are now aware of Grant Featherston’s ‘Darian’ branded glass buttons from the 1950s, so unfortunately prices may increase!