Monthly Archives: October 2017

October 2017

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From October 2017, a selection of buttons and stories

Do you have “a soul above buttons”? 

This phrase,  now out of usage,  seems to have indicated that you were (at least in your own estimation) superior to your current occupation or situation i.e.  that you deserved better!  It dates back at least to 1795,  but has not appeared in Australian newspapers since 1946.

Do you “have all your buttons (on)”?

  I hope so! Until the 1920’s this suggested you “didn’t have all your marbles”.

Three more button sayings for you:

  1. Don’t “push my buttons”!
  2. Or I’ll get cross, you can “bet your buttons”.
  3. Well, “bust my buttons!” You went ahead and pushed!!


Two Fire Brigade buttons, from Stokes and Amor:



















These glass buttons, which would have been imported from West Germany after WW2, are also seen in Beutron adverts; see below

The button in question is on the bottom row, 3rd from the left.







Several different sizes and colours of one design.



This card dates from 1953-54 when a cross promotion occurred between  Beauclaire buttons and Twinprufe knitting wool, which was distributed by Paterson,  Laing and Bruce.

Firstly the wool:  Twinprufe refers to it being ‘moth-proof’ and ‘shrink-proof’.  The wool was produced by F.W. Hughes P/L at their Alexandria Spinning Mills.  Frederick Hughes established this firm of pastoralists,  meat producers,  canners, skin merchants,  wool spinners and textile manufacturers in 1915.  In 1966 it became a subsidiary of Ralli Australia P/L.

Secondly the buttons:  According to advertising  “The Twinprufe button has been especially designed in weight and size to compliment every hand-knitted garment”  and were available in 2 sizes and 70 shades to perfectly match the wool.

Thirdly the distributers:  The origins of this  importing and manufacturing company stretches back to Geelong in 1850.  After various partnerships it became Paterson, Laing and Bruce in 1879.  By 1883 their warehouse in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, was the largest in Victoria.  By 1909 they were leading retailers in Australia.  They had a branch in London and through expansion and mergers spread to Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.

John Munro Bruce, 1899.

Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1923.








Flinders Lane warehouse, circa 1899.

The Mr. Bruce of the company’s name was John Munro Bruce.  His son, who was the acting chairman of the company in 1909, was Stanley Melbourne Bruce.  He became the eighth Prime Minister of Australia, serving this role from 1923-1929.

From 1947, a patriotic advert from the company:

Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th January 1947.




The Kadina and Wallaroo Times (SA) 20th May 1931.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27th May 1939.

The Argus 29th August 1952.



The Sydney Morning Herald, 14th January 1947.   ‘Buttons and dress “trims” and cosmetic containers are made of such plastics as styron and ethocel. The transparent chair is made of lucite, and in new York to-day costs the equivalent of 80 pounds.’ (Ethocel  are a class of  thermoplastic cellulose ethers).

Fashion Pfeiffer:

From 1950-52 clothes by ‘Fashion Pfeiffer’ were featured in the Australian Women’s Weekly. the company was listed as in liquidation in 1964. Here are some examples of their dresses:

Perhaps these cards, with the logo “Fashion Pfeiffer for all that’s new” is associated with this company. The green buttons are sweet little acorns.










These buttons are covered in a fine weave black cloth.