Category Archives: Uncategorized

21st January 2020

A couple of posts ago, I was trying to make sense of which firms were distributors verses manufacturers. Why?

Well, firstly, a definition:


Definition of Distributor

As the name suggests, the distributor is an agent who distributes products and services to various parties in the supply chain network. It is impossible for the manufacturer to reach customers directly for selling products and services, and for this purpose, they have to rely on middle agents or distributors, who exclusively store and sell the company’s products, in different locations.

The distributor is also known as channel partner who deals with the manufacturers to promote and sell their products and services to various customers, such as retailers or final consumers. To do so, the distributor enters into an agreement with the producer and purchase the right to sell the producer’s product. However, he cannot use the producer’s trade name.

Distributors purchase non-competing goods or product lines from different manufacturers, hold stock in warehouses, transport it to various locations and resell it to various parties.


Therefore, each distributor would only accept buttons from one manufacturer (i.e. non-competing products). They may have exclusive rights to distribute a company’s products. They may have a contract that allows them to sell the buttons under the manufacturers name, or  under their own name. That is why we get Demetre, Coronet, Roger Berry, Terries, etc buttons. In trying to understand the industry in Australia, I have had to grapple with who was what!

The advert below indicates that along with other products, E. Walker & Son distributed and marketed Delphi buttons. (although they incorrectly  spelt the name DEPHI and DEPHHI):

Windsor and Richmond Gazette 14th August 1957.

This still does not explain as to whether Delphi was the brand of a manufacturer or not. Were these buttons made here, or imported (apart from the glass buttons on Walker cards, which must have been imported)? Were the buttons made by G.Herring, General Plastics or some other as yet undetermined manufacturer?

Certainly, the Delphi buttons look much like  Beutron Opal-glow buttons or Beauclaire Moonglow buttons of the era. I own a box labelled “Beauclaire Delphi Buttons” which indicates that they were either 1. always made by General Plastics or 2. if Delphi had been a separate company, it had been taken over. The fact that the name Delphi disappears in 1957, the very year that Beutron Australia bought out General Plastics would seem to indicate that in 1957 Delphi (along with Leda) were brands of General Plastics. So far I have not seen a reference to back up my hunch.

Carol’s new find:



20th January 2020

New uniform buttons:

Royal Sydney Golf Club by Amor Sydney:

Club logo.

According to the club’s website ( the first club house consisted of a couple of rented rooms in a cottage. The second clubhouse was built in 1897. It was at the official opening of this facility that it was announced that the club had been allowed the prefix “Royal” by Queen Victoria. The third club house was built on the site of the current facility in 1903 but burnt down in 1920.

By 1919 the membership numbered almost 1,500. After the fire a larger building was built and opened in July 1922. Further renovations have been necessary due to a further fire, but also to increased membership.

First tee, 1960s.New South Wales Artillery Button marked “T. L. Nicholson, Sydney”
Thanks to Cam Smith.  Dates 1871-1880 according to Cossum (however Nicholson may not have been making uniforms until 1879).






A card describing the uniform that the button would have graced.

Cumberland Mercury, 3rd May 1879. He did not advertise as a tailor before 1879.

As can be seen from the above advert, Mr Thomas Lovedale Nicholson( 1831-1891) was a  Naval, military and civil tailor in Kings Street. He was born in Paramatta who had been “a bit of a bohemian” before joining the Independant Order of Good Templars (a temperance organisation) around 1877 and straightening himself out. This lodge seems to have been politically active. Tom became an alderman then mayor of Ashfield. Perhaps it was the influence of the Order that secured him large government contracts. He had a large family of 13 children (11 who were alive in 1881) and had been a keen cricketer.

He had a mixed career as a business man. In he a failed foray into mining. In 1867, as a cordial manufacturer in Dubbo, he was insolvent. Back in Sydney by 1875 as a tailor he was again insolvent in 1876, then again in 1884. He died 21st July, 1891.

The Bulletin, 11th June 1881.


19th January 2020

Gorgeous vintage American MOP cards:

Unusually, 3 buttons are sewn on, but 4 are stapled on.

The back of the card shows sizes available with suggested uses. Note the term ‘waists’. A waist was blouse with a drawstring at the waist that could be drawn in to create a loose puffiness to the garment. (And a blouse is a loose fitting shirt without shirt tails worn by younger boys, girls and women.) Washington proudly declares that it is the Cleanest City in Iowa.




18th January 2020

New finds:

American Styled:


Cygnet cards don’t turn up too often. Below is an enlargement of a blue version of this design.

The design is significant, as it is also found on a Roger Berry card. Note that Roger Berry were distributors of buttons rather than manufacturers. Either ‘Cygnet’ was  branding used by the actual manufacturer of the buttons (?O.C.Rheuben), or it was yet another distribution firm. I have noted that Cygnet had an identical buckle one sold by Walker, and that Walker also was associated with Delphi. Further, Delphi got swallowed by Beauclaire. Very confusing. Perhaps Cygnet/Delphi/Walkers were all distributors rather than manufacturers.  Perhaps they all distributed for General Plastics (and its predecessors) with some takeovers happening. General Plastics started to distribute buttons under their own name from the 1940s, so perhaps they had shares in some of the distributors?







17th January 2020

Animals on buttons:

Animals have long adorned buttons, perhaps from as early as the late 17th century with early picture buttons, but certainly from the 18th century.. They appear on picture, fable, habitat, uniform and hunt buttons, and from the late 1930s, as figural buttons. These latter weren’t just for children, either. Such was the mania for figural ( a.k.a. realistist/goofiy) buttons that they were fashion items for adults, too. Here are some wonderful buttons from carol’s collections. They date from the late 1930s through to the 1950s. Many appear to be cut from sheets of casein or catalin plastic.

16th January 2020

Last year I wrote about Birmingham button makers, including Benjamin Sanders. I now have a book based on his memoirs written in 1833. On the cover was a picture of a portrait of the man:

Tailor’s button:

A.F. Cleary & Son, Sydney:

Truth, 10th December, 1911.

Aloysius Frederick Cleary (1878-1948)  advertised as a tailor under his own name from 1908.  He had previously worked as head cutter for Palmer & Son. He listed A. F. Cleary & Sons Ltd in 1930. There were outlets at 757 George Street and 31 Park Street, Sydney. The company was in liquidation in 1935, but was re-listed as A. F. Cleary & Son Pty Ltd by 1937, The company traded until before May 1951, when it was again in liquidation. A son, Ernest Aloysius Cleary, was a solicitor, and a business partner in the firm whilst his brother, Arthur Michael Cleary was also a tailor. Michael was slapped with a large fine for selling material without coupons in 1943.

Truth, 24th October 1943.

15th January 2020



Science demands that if new data does not support your theory, then it’s time to change the theory! So it is with history. Despite the fact that the Australian Archaeological Association quoted the Australian Glass Manufacturers trademark as dating from 1934-1948, it is not correct.

The Australian Glass Manufacturers Company Limited date from 1915 until 1939 when the company became Australian Consolidated Industries Ltd. I think the trademark above was modified slightly, but indeed did change.

A.G.M trademark on a glass bottle.

A.C.I. trademark on a plastic button. The G has been changed to a C, and the M into an I.









In Trove there are entries in the Commonwealth gazette of A.C.I. producing plastic buttons for the Department of Defense, but not A.G.M. I have two sizes of black plastic RAAF buttons and one brown AMF button with the ACI trademark on the back.


I have not found out when the A.G.M trademark was first used, but perhaps a glass bottle collector may know?


14th January 2020

Tailor’s button:

Foy and Gibson Pty Ltd, Perth W.A.

See the page of Branded Buttons: department store buttons for more.

G. R. Barker, Wangaratta:

G. R. Barker. The Age 15th April 1950.

Sporting Globe, 24th January, 1934.

Mr George Raymond Barker (1898-1970) had a store in Murphy Street, Wangaratta from around 1918. He was heavily involved in the Victorian Country Football league. He also raised prize winning poultry.

In 1932 he had the unpleasant experience of fatally hitting a man with his car. The man had stepped out from behind his parked truck as George was driving past.

You know you have too many objects in your collection, when you don’t realise what you already have. On the 17th December last I shared a photo of a ‘Commonwealth’ brand button sent to me, without realising I owned a couple; so here they are!


Carol has been button shopping. Here are some new finds of hers.

I suppose the white creature is a begging dog, but I agree with Carol that it looks like a meerkat!

13th January 2020

Tailors’ buttons, both old and new:

Parker & Geertz, Ipswich:

Theodore Johannes  Geertz (1859-1938) came to Australia from the Danish province of Schleswig-Holstein around 1878, as his family wished to avoid him being forced to serve in the Prussian Army. This partnership with T. H. parker lasted from 1905 until 1911, when Geertz continued on his own.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 18th August 1906.

See also T. J. Geertz

Ateleir, Melbourne

Ateleir School of Fashion Design and Technology is a registered trainer located in Melbourne.

Billiecart Clothing, Melbourne:

This company started in 189 as a direct-sales children’s wear company. it now has a store in Kensington, Melbourne.

Coogi Australia:

Starting in  Toorak in 1969 as Cuggi, and renamed in 1987 as Coogi, this is a brand of colourful fashion knitwear.

Mossimo Clothing:

An American  fashion brand, previously available in Target and  now Myers.


11th January 2020

News flash …

The Herald, 25th July 1953.

Tailor’s button seen online:

Bon Marché, Perth:

As seen in the advertising below, this store opened in 1884. Unlike most drapers, they sold whips and rifles! They soon moved from Williams Street to Hay Street. By 1886 Mr Collins had sold the concern to  Mr and Mrs Edward Thomas Hope. Mr Hope died  of blood poisoning in August 1894 whilst on holiday back to his birth place of England, aged only 36 years. His eight month old daughter died four months later. The business was sold by his widow in 1895 to Messers George Henry Careeg, Elias Dimant and George Francis Pitchford, although Careeg soon left the partnership

The Daily News, 18th April 1884.

Overtime it became a department store as well as a drapery. It was incorporated as Bon Marche Limited in 1897.

Clare’s Weekly 10th September 1898. The Bon Marche store in Hay Street.

In 1919  a property was bought near the Hay Street store and extended through to Barrack Street. This became known as the Bon Marche Arcade. In 1954 David Jones took over Bon Marche Ltd, and rebranded it as David Jones.

The Bon March Arcade Building, Barrack Street.