A couple of collectors have such lovely collections of realistic/goofy dog buttons that I have started buying a few of my own.
Buttons shaped like the actual objects they depict are known as ‘Goofies’ (especially in the USA), realistic or figural buttons. They rarely existed before the 1930s apart from occasional flower or shell shaped button. In Australia, they were first written about in 1936. They were very fashionable for ladies for the next few years. Sometime between 1940 and the mid 1950s they morphed into something for children’s clothes only (except perhaps for flower shaped).
I’ve gone back to Trove to pick out details of animal figural buttons.
1936. Notice her fish buttons
1937. They are hard to see, but they are fish buttons or her waistcoat.
Greyhound buckle, 1937
Advert from 1937
Description of race-going fashions. 1937
Artilce from 1937
China elephant, 1938
Porcelain dogs head, 1937
Bone dog, 1938
Scotty buckle, 1938
White porcelain fish flecked with gold and black,1949
An early reference to button manufacture in Melbourne:
The Argus (Melbourne) 28th August 1854. I would guess he used Thomas Stokes to produce the buttons.
Robert Barbour was born in Beith, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1827. He immigrated to Melbourne in 1851 and ran a business as a retail and wholesale warehouseman, which evolved into a drapery business. He was also a squatter, running dairy and beef cattle as well as saw-milling. He was first listed at 117 Swanston Street, then 119 and 121 Great Bourke Street and later 83 Bourke St. He established drapery outlets in Emerald Hill, Castlemaine, Maldon and Bendigo, the stores being named ‘Britannia House’. He sold these business in 1858 and concentrated on his sawmilling business. He would become a member of Parliament, and was known as a difficult but clever man.
“To be GUARANTEED Beutron Whites must be on the Blue Card”
And remember, Matron Shaw recommends them …
Published in the Australian Women’s Weekly 12 Nov 1952 (detail below).
Who was Matron Shaw?
Edna Mary Anna Jane Shaw was born in Gudagai in 1891. She trained as a midwife and enlisted in 1918, being called up just before Armistace.
Melbourne, 1944 Matron Shaw, Principal Matron of the Australian Army Nursing Service chats to Colonel N.L. Speirs, Director Medical Services (I think that’s her on the right.)
She worked at the Crown Street Women’s Hospital (1893-1983) which became the largest maternity hospital in Sydney, from 1919 until she retired in 1952. She was awarded an O.B.E. in 1950, and was known as “the mother of 100,000 babies” although she never married. After retirement she spoke on radio, wrote for magazines and remained very involved in women’s and babies’ health. A much loved woman.
New finds: 2 moth-eaten partial cards of Coronet buttons
Along with these cards was another that whilst not Australian, had an Australian store sticker on the back:
Harry Thorpe Seymour ran what must have amounted to a department store in Marrickville from around 1904. A wealthy bachelor, he died at the age of only 54, leaving bequests to family, staff and the community.
From the Marrickville Library. H.T. Seymours is on the right corner.
An article in the Freeman’s Journal on 16th September 1915 tickled my fancy.
“The feminine world of Marrackville and the adjacent suburbs will shortly experience something like a vivid variation of interest in the mundane things of life. A typical enthusiasm in business enterprise has resulted in Mr. H. T. Seymour, the well known Marrickville universal provider, making some large extensions to his already commodious business premises. He has launched out in this fresh endeavour with the idea of providing for the wants of the public in the direction of clothing and footwear. Dress materials, silks, millinery and mantles, as well as boots and shoes, will be stocked in the new additions which are to be thrown open to the public on the first of next month. The sterner sex will also be catered for in the matter of clothing, and foot coverings. One especial innovation in connection with the new Seymour premises will be the ingenious and cunningly devised show cases. These are so designed that the goods they contain are always kept fresh, and absolutely secure from the invasion of the dust fiend. These cases, in themselves, are worthy of minute inspection.”
I hope that this has inspired your vivid variation in interest!
This is the first card of ‘Irridel’ buttons I have seen. Beutron used the by-line ‘the beautiful buttons that boil’ in 1947-8 and the name Irridel in 1948-9. After that they retired the name until reusing it in advertising in 1957. This card therefore dates from 1947-8.
The card below is also new to me.
It has the G.Herring logo in one corner and the name ‘Jewel Pearl’ in the other. Searching in trove I found this reference:
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 3rd June 1943.
G.Herring also supplied pearl shell for compasses in1941 and camouflage covers in 1942. This last item surprised me, until I checked my notes and rediscovered that they had a history as “a manufacturer of twine, jute, flax”