Monthly Archives: January 2016

January 2016

Please note the new address of this blog:


 A digest of Buttons and Stories shared in January 2016:


The story of Semco was so nice I wanted to include it.  See also

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Semco garden,  recreation hall and staff 1926.  Courtesy Shirley Joy,  City of Kingston,  Kingston Collection.

The company had its start in 1907 in the Melbourne CBD.  About mid 1922 a new factory was opened in Black Rock that was highly regarded as a pleasant place to work.  The company director wished to provide his work force with a safe,  healthy and happy place to work,  as well as paying decent wages.

Published 16th Feb 1946 in The Australasian (Melbourne)

Published 16th Feb 1946 in The Australasian (Melbourne)


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Example of the embroidery paper transfers produced by Semco.

Semco stranded cotton box: 1932 onwards

Semco stranded cotton box:  The  XW1011 phone number dates this from 1932 onwards.

Published in Table Talk (Melbourne) 1st Jun 1933

Buying buttons, G&R Wills, WA 1953 Notice the displays of Beutron buttons on the counter.  (Held by the State Library of Western Australia).

August 1938. “Insect buttons march in Indian file”.

In a vane attempt to cover the weirdly buttoned skirt, the model tries to pull the jacket close, but it’s cut to flare like a cape. Her face freezes in embarrassment.

The model is not impressed. She feels like Annie Oakley gone wrong.

Nothing wrong with this “perfect kitchen dress and matching dusting turban” except that it was suggested the material and buttons be selected ‘to match your kitchen decor’.





This cardigan is designed on slenderising lines.

“Smarter women will wear it”. April 1936.

Business girls: The “perfect secretary”, a receptionist, and a “lass” from a “frock shop”. March 1943. Nothing partronising here.

No, I think there’s more than enough buttons already…. don’t add the”wristlet”.
June 1949.

May 1949.