17th June 2024

Modern Miss

Although these are not labelled as such, I believe these cards were produced by General Plastics, as some of the button designs are the same as those found on Beauclaire cards. They probably date from the 1940s. From 1950-1957 General Plastics Ltd only used the brand name ‘Beauclaire’, then switched to ‘Leda’ (excepting for the cards of buttons they produced for G. J. Coles and for Woolworths).

Above: the same design in 2 sizes and 2 colours.

The black design above occurs below on  Beauclaire cards:

One of the red designs was found on older Coronet branded cards with hand painted detailing:

For any comments or questions, please use the Contact page.

16th June 2024

New Finds

Colour Matched


From the earliest formal advertising of Beutron in 1947, it was emphasised that the buttons “matched all the season’s colours”. However, it was not until late in 1963 that the term “colour matched” was used. It remained in use up until 1971. The card below is a February 1966-October 1967 (dual pricing) example.

Beutron Delights

This line of Beutron buttons date from around 2008-2017, and seem to have been marketed at crafters. There were printed, natural (like this example), Christmas and laser delights.

2013 Printed Delights.

2013 Natural Delights.

2013 Laser Delights.

2013 Christmas Delights.

For any comments or questions, please use the Contact page.

11th June 2024


The design shown on the right hand Cygnet card also appears on a Rex card.

The confusing thing is, some Cygnet designs appeared on Walkers cards. Walkers were distributors rather than manufacturers, and are known to have distributed buttons for D.C. Quinn. Distributors do not sell competing lines of products i.e. they would not sell both Rex buttons and D.C. Quinn buttons, so what was going on?

Did a third party who made the buttons on Cygnet cards have a contract at one time with Walker and another time with Rex?

If you have any answers, please use the Contact page to let me know!

10th June 2024

General Plastics

With the origins of this firm dating to 1920, this firm sold carded buttons under multiple brandings, including from 1950, Beauclaire then from 1957, Leda.

In 1957, in partnership with Woolworths, they produced cards of buttons with added thread, a feature they copied from their main rival, G. Herring Pty Ltd, who had regidtered a design card with this feature in 1948. Whilst cheeky, it was declared legal in court, as whilst you can register a design, you can’t register an idea, and the cards were clearly labelled even though both had added thread.

These cards are both made by Woolworths. The one with thread is proably the one resulting in the court case, which named Woolworths as a co-defendant. There are 3 variations of this design. Some have no pricing  at the bottom, and the words “Approved by the Federal Council of Dry Cleaners of Australia. 6ft cotton”.  Some have a circle printed at the bottom (for a price to be hand written in?) and the same text. The 3rd type is shown above. It has a printed price but states ” Gauranteed Boilproof. Will dry clean. 6ft cotton.” Some are blank on the back but most have the same the of information found on Beauclaire cards, as shown below.

Why so many variations?. Perhaps it was simply  that they used  several different printers to make the cards?

For any contributions or questions, please use the Contact page.

9th June 2024

Rex Buttons

These all have imperial pricing, so date pre February 1966.

“Cameos of Fashion” was another line of carded buttons sold by Rex Norris in the 1950s. This is only my second example. On this card the name ‘Rex Norris’ is printed diagonally over the card. The use of sticky-tape over the circular cut-out saved sewing on the buttons, but picked up dirt/lint as can be seen!

For any contributions or questions, please use the Contact page.


8th June 2024

Trouser Buttons

As can be seen by the similar design on these three cards, this was a classic button for trousers. The flat border meant the material flap over the fly would sit smoothly, whilst the sunken centre saved the thread from rubbing and wearing.

These were only advertised from 1947-8. The maker is unknown.

This is the first example of “Superior Plastic Buttons”, but the font used (note that P in Plastic) is the same as used on cards of “Plastic Buttons” as seen on the Mystery page. http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/mysteries-please-help/#Australian_Made_by_whom

Early 1950s Beauclaire example.

For all comments and questions, please use the Contact page.

7th June 2024

Melbourne Steamship Company Ltd

In 1884 the Melbourne Coal, Shipping and Engineering Co Ltd became the Melbourne Shipping Co. Ltd. then in 1895 the Melbourne Steamship Co Ltd.

The Argus (Melbourne), 8th October 1885 p.10

The Age (Melbourne), 1st January 1896 p.1   The  West Australian gold rush was an opportunity to provide a regular inter colonial passenger and cargo service.

They opened branches in Fremantle, Sydney, Adelaide and Newcastle. In 1935 the firm was described as in “the front rank of the inter-state shipping trade, and joins a coastwise passenger and freight service with towing, docking and engineering enterprises.” In 1961 the firm was taken over by Howard Smith Ltd.

The University of Melbourne Library, 1962.0008.00177. 1912.

The  manager was David York Syme (not the David Syme of The Age), whose 4th son, also David York Syme, would take over after his father’s death in 1932.

The Age (Melbourne), 21st December 1935 p.18. Along with Cpt. James Reid and Cpt. James McIntyre, they founded the shipping company.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th December 1932 p.10

Maritime Museum, Tasmania, Image Number oai:ehive.com:objects/148937, P_CR_55961. MV Duntroon, 1946.

David junior was chairman of the Australian Steamship Owners’ federation, a member of the Commonwealth Shipping Board, and a delegate to the International Conference of Ship Owners.  As such he was involved in both national and international shipping tregulations, and challenges such as the change to diesel, pillaging and workforce shortages.He was also a commissioner of the Melbourne harbour trust, and a board member of various companies. He was also a long time board member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and  a benefactor of the Mission to Seamen.

NB: There was a earlier similarly named but unrelated Melbourne Steam Ship Company from 1864-1883, owned by Howard Smith.

For any contributions or questions, please use the Contact page.

4 June 2024

Greetings to my Fellow Buttoneers,

I will update you on some new button finds in a few days.

In the mean time, you may wish to visit my new (and still in the progress) webpage about Australia’s Plastic History.


Unlike this blog, it will just be a website detailing this country’s history of plastic manufacturing. Some plastics firms the firms involved were required to make uniform buttons and shell casings during WW2. Two of these, Nally and Molded Products, also appear in this blog on the Federation to WW2 page (although I have not published their specific entries yet).

If you wish to share any vintage Australian plastic items, you may use the Contact page of this blog.



25th May 2024

New Finds

Tub Buttons.

These were illustrated in 1948 advertising.


The card on the left is painted clear glass from Western Germany, from the 1960s. The rightward card is Beutron-supplied late 1960s.

For any contributions or questions, please use the Contact page.

23rd May 2024

New Zealand General Plastics

G. Herring opened a New Zealand factory around 1956. Beauty Buttons was one of a couple of brands they only used in New Zealand (the other being Titan).


Under the name ‘British Buttons and Buckles” the directors of O.C. Rheuben (later General Plastics Ltd) opened a New Zealand factory in 1939. As in Australia, they changed branding of their buttons from beauclaire to Leda in the late 1950s. The design below was used in Australia from around 1950. This is a metalised example. the use of a strand of wire to secure the buttons to the card is new to my collection, and has resulted in a card that won’t lie flat!

For any contributions or questions, please use the Contact page.