January 2018

Buttons and Stories selected from January 2018
















The buttons are made of trochus shell, the 2-holed button backs showing the tell-tale red-brown streaks.

Importation of pearl-shell into Japan for button manufacturing was only “allowed” in 1947 under MacArthur’s control of the country’s rebuilding  post WW2.









Metropolitan Abattoirs, South Australia:

12th July 1913, The Mail Adelaide

“After long years of strenuous fighting and planning those whose brains conceived the idea of municipal abattoirs to control the meat supply of this city reaped their reward today, when what might be termed the city’s great meat shop was officially declared opened. The days of the old cattle market on North Terrace …  have gone forever.”

The abattoirs had 17 ‘motor lorries’ to deliver meat to Adelaide and suburbs and the drivers were provided with uniforms. Presumably the button below is from one such uniform. The button was produced by Stokes & Sons, Victoria. Stokes also made buttons for South Australian Rifles and Fire Brigades.

Red Cross Rest Home:







Backmarked: Bridgland & King, Melbourne

‘No.1 Red Cross Rest Home, at Prince’s bridge. Published in The Australasian, 1st April 1916.

But who made the buttons?

The original Bridgland and King were Charles Everest Bridgland and Percy John King, the same P. J. King of the famous firm. The partnership started in 1893 as engravers of brass plates and general work, in Little Collins Street. The partnership dissolved in 1899 with King continuing alone.

Published in The Age, 6th August 1903.

The usurpers may have been the firm advertising as located at 378 Post Office Place (Lt Bourke Street) and offering the same services. They advertised heavily over the coming years, and were responsible for at least some uniform buttons supplied for government tenders.

In 1928 Percy started the firm of P.J.King Pty. Ltd. with his son John Howard King. Percy died in 1933. The business of Bridgland & King was still in existence in 1945, but possibly this was the rival firm.   P.J. King’s moved to Collins Street, then Russell Street, Melbourne and later to Victoria Street, Abbotsford, continuing until amalgamated in the late 1980s into Cash’s Australia.


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