Monthly Archives: September 2019

29th September 2019

New finds:

Tidying up my collection this afternoon, I realised I had a couple of Rex C. Norris fish buttons just loose in my container of realistics. I’ve mounted them on the partial card I had:

And now, not quite a new find, but rather a new creation:

Inspired by the 1916 article on tatted buttons on the ‘Make Your Own, and other Fun Activities’ page, fellow Victorian Button Club member, Deborah got busy! I think this button would look good on a hand-knitted jumper or cardigan.

I’m going to revisit plastics in the next few posts, although I have discussed this on many pages and posts already.  Although plastic buttons are featured on many pages, if you are interested see:

Also the posts:



28th September 2019

More Vegetable Ivory button history:

According to

The Warsaw Button Company commenced business in 1900 in Wyoming County, New York. The plant was located in the center of Warsaw and had a frontage of over 200 feet on South Main Street. It was torn down in 1957 prior to the erection of a supermarket. It employed 250 hands and produced ivory buttons in various designs which were sold in the leading button markets of the country.

More images of this factory are available on the Library of Congress website dating from c.1905:

See also posts from 22nd September 2019, 9th and 23rd January 2018

27th September 2019



Robyn G. has kindly sent me a picture of a battered old card of Mickey Mouse buttons she recognised from a 1938 advert on the Vintage Advertising page. So cool!

Below is the advert.

The Sun (Sydney), 12th May 1938.

25th September 2019

Please note the new address of this blog:


I’m counting down the days til I can drink coffee …  I joined “Safe Water September” to raise money for clean water to be providied in Tanzania and Vanuatu by drinking nothing but water for a whole month! Please donate if you can. It’s been tough!

New find:

It doesn’t say “Australian Made” but I thinks it is. The buttons look the same as some I have on a “Modern Miss” partial card, and the art work is very similar to that on the “American Styled” cards.

The teal buttons are the same design. The woman in the art work has a similar hairstyle and a V neckline with 2 red buttons, just face-on instead of in profile. I’m guessing they date post WW2. ” The term “Hollywood Style” has been used in advertising in Australia ever since 1925.

23rd September 2019

Please note the new address of this blog:


Hamer Knitwear:

The Cumberland Argus, 26th sept 1962. “Fine knirt Orlon makes this blouse top for summer by Hamer Knitwear”.

Hamer’s knitwear advertised from 1945 until at least 1962. They were at 345 Lygon Street, east Brunswick, Victoria. The firm is de-registered.

Beutron Baby buttons:

A nice condition card with baby blue buttons and thread.

22nd September 2019




I have bought a booklet produced by ‘Art in Buttons’ (the branding of vegetable ivory buttons by the Rochester Button Company) from1927 that offers a glimpse into another era.

Cover of “Volume XXX March 1927 number 2”

According to an article by Jeff Ludwig (see

The company was founded in1887 as the M. B. Schantz Company, changing its name in 1904. It absorbed several other button manufactures to become a large company with a reputation for high quality products. In its heyday it supplied buttons for major fashion producers and department stores, producing up to “3,000 different kind of buttons”. In the 1940s it changed from vegetable ivory to plastics made to mimic horn. They ceased production of vegetable ivory buttons in January 1946. The company was bought out in 1968, then again in 1983. Increasing competition lead to downsizing then in 1990, the closure of this iconic Rochester firm.

The booklet proudly boasts of the superior quality ‘ivory’ button produced in its modern factory. It was proud of the fact that whilst ” Other merchandise of all kinds is selling today from 125% to 200% above pre-war prices, while Art in Buttons sells its quality buttons for less than pre-war prices ..”

It was marketing also “Fashion Horn”, a vegetable ivory button made to mimic horn, but without the “rough holes and edges which cut the thread and fray the button holes ” as well not warping out of shape. They also had the advantage of uniform appearance, unlike real horn. Also, they were cheaper!

The company claimed to be the oldest corporation in the USA exclusively making ‘ivory’ buttons. Its factory was twice the size of the next largest vegetable ivory factory.

Located in an 8 -acre park it had approximately 250,000 square feet of floor space.

They predicted that the economic status of the “average citizen” was such that men were likely to be spending more on their clothing than they had for some years. “He will not get along with one suit, but will have, in addition, sports clothes and a dressy suit. He will have two overcoats, – one for dress and another for knockabout wear.”

The booklet explained that due to the size of ivory nuts, larger size buttons were harder to produce. Many nuts were simply too small to make overcoat buttons from. They quoted that it took ” 6 nuts to get one 45 line button, 7 nuts to get one 50 line button, 28 nuts to get one 55 line button”  (Lines, or lignes is a measurement used in button manufacturing, with 10L to the 1/4 inch. The 55 L size mentioned measures approx 24mm or 1 3/8 inches).

The photos below show a sample/souvenir box from Art in Buttons from an auction site. Wouldn’t you love to have it!

Many of the tailors’ button featured in this blog were made in places like Birmingham from vegetable ivory.


21st September 2019



“Guns Before Buttons”

On the ‘WW2 and Onwards page’ I noted with amusement that in 1950 the ‘Australian Button Industry Association’ wrote to newspapers warning that Czechoslavian buttons were being sold in Australia, and could not only undermine our home-grown trade, but be used to the Communist War Effort!! Gasp!!

A more detailed and measured article appeared in The Bulletin, 27th September 1950:

This “association” was only ever quoted in regards to this one press release over a few month period in 1950. Did the association really exist, or did it fade quickly? Did one of the major manufacturers send out the press release in annoyance at the competition?

In 1950 Czech glass making was under Soviet control, with large state controlled factories set up and most of the output sold to Eastern Bloc countries. I would not have thought many glass buttons were being imported into Australia in 1950. Perhaps there was a period of dumping of product to gain export dollars, perhaps the issue was mostly paranoia?

19th September 2019


New information in Trove ( ) has explained what happened to Stokes & Sons Sydney office, running from around 1900.

Dun’s Gazette 7th April 1913.

This shows that Thomas’s full name had been Thomas William Stokes (He had died in 1910). A partner had been taken on.

15th December 1913.

2nd February 1914.

Either the sale had not gone through, or Muller bought the firm himself, before changing the name.