2nd December 2021

Crocheted Buttons

These English made buttons made me wonder.  When were crocheted buttons fashionable enough to justify the cost of carding these labour intensive hand-made items? I would image they were made and/or carded at home rather than in factories, in the way that leather buttons were made in Australia post WW2; constructed by the gross by women in their homes to supplement the family income, then collected for finishing in factories.

According to Sally Luscomb in her 1967 “The Collector’s Encyclopedia Of Buttons”, crocheted buttons were “first” in fashion in the 1880s and then again in the early 1900s. They were initially “made by hand, later by machine.” However, they were advertised in Australian newspapers as early as 1861.

From a larger article in The Australian Woman’s Mirror, 24th November 1948 page 4.

The Bulletin, 16th October 1913 page 1. The ‘Therese’, for sale at Horden’s, trimmed with small crocheted buttons.

The frequency of their mention in newspapers was greatest from 1910-1930, however, instructions for making crocheted buttons appeared in all eras, particularily as part of knitting/crocheting patterns.

The Brisbane Courier, 25th May 1910, page 15.


Daily Herald (Adelaide), 20th June 1914 page 5.Perhaps, my buttons date from either the WW1 or WW2 era, when “fancy buttons” were hard to come by:

The Daily News (Perth), 25th January 1919 page 6.

Queensland Times (Ipswich), 20th January 1942.

1st December 2021

New Finds

1940s Beutron

“Made from BEUTRON. The plastic of the future.”

I presume that cards like these date from around 1947, as the casein plastic was itself referred to as Beutron, not just the buttons, as seen in the advert below.

The Canberra Times, 29th July 1947, page 4.

Strangely enough, the first Beutron was a race horse in 1941. Did the horse belong to someone associated with the company?


1940-50s Maxart

The company used the term “Maxart Production” in advertising from 1947-1955.

30th November 2021

‘The Great White Fleet’ visit to Australia, 1908.

 In 1907 the American Fleet started a 15 month, 45,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe, calling in to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. On August the 20th, 1908, over 500 people welcomed 16 white painted battleships and 5 auxiliaries bearing 14,000 sailors arrive at Sydney. Alfred Deakin had approached President Roosevelt to arrange this visit, as despite Australia’s loyalty to ‘The Empire’, there was little real commitment to protect Australia by the Royal Navy, and the Nation felt vulnerable. There was a desire for a closer relationship with this powerful naval presence in the Pacific region.

The Argus (Melbourne), 21st March 1908, page 5.

Souvenirs, such as the button (from Joyce’s collection) and postcard (from Carol’s) were sold.


The image of the button is not clear; but bears two hands clasped in friendship above the year 1908 between the crossed flags of out nations. In that era, australia used the ‘Red Ensign’.

From the Sydney Mail, August 1908.

See: https://www.navy.gov.au/history/feature-histories/great-white-fleet%E2%80%99s-1908-visit-australia


29th November 2021

Artillery Button

This button was shared by a reader:


Woolwich is a market town and parish on the River Thames, 8 miles SE of London. In 1833 the dissolution of the partnership of Joesph & Edward Grisbrook was noted in the London Gazette. Edward died in 1851, with the firm becoming Joseph Grisbrook & Co.

J. Grisbrook & Co operated from 46-48 Powis Street, Woolwich, as linen and woollen drapers, upholsterers and furnishing warehousemen from around 1840 until 1862, when the business was bought out by partner F. A. Wallis , Joseph having come to a sad and grisly end in 1861. The business was then known as Wallis & Howes.

Supplement to Monmouthshire Merin, 19th October 1861.

The design for  Royal Artillery uniform buttons (both for regular and volunteer troops) showing 3 cannons pointing left under the Royal crown date from 1831-1840, then from 1855-1873.

Therefore button shared above dates from 1855-1861, and would have been produced for use in Britain. If it was worn by NSW or Victorian artillery (and it is possible that old buttons were reused), it would date from 1870-1873, as volunteer troops were not formed until after the withdrawal of British forces in 1870; then in 1873, the button design changed to that of an artillery field gun pointing left, under the Royal Crown.


28th November 2021

My mother was a milliner, so it is a pleasure to combine hats with buttons:

The Argus (Melbourne), 1st April 1924 page 6.

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 31st October 1927 page 10.

The World’s News (Sydney), 5th November 1927 page 22.

Maryborough Chronicle (Qld), 2nd April 1946 page 4.

The Argus (Melbourne), 23rd October 1950, page 8.


27th November 2021

New Finds

These are all from the early 1950s. G. herring used a variation of their ‘All Purpose’ card; printed with ‘Buckle’ instead of ‘Button’, no cotton and with a large capital B in the centre. As the buckle obscures it, perhaps it only served the purpose of alerting the women doing the carding. the partial card is for the cardigan buttons; the backing disk preventing the button pulling through your hand knits.


Cygnet brand is a bit of a mystery, and doesn’t turn up often. Due to the same style buckles appearing on both Cygnet and Walkers cards, I am presuming they were produced by D. C. Quinn.


The Beauclaire card dates from the early 1950s; the Woolworths from 1966-7.

26th November 2021

Here is a picture of a postcard showing members of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire brigade:

The M.F.B. dates from 1893 when the various suburban and town brigades were merged into a metropolitan and country brigades. See the three posts starting at http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/29th-september-2021/ for more history. These gentlemen have the same wonderful moustaches as in the 1901 illustration already shared.

For something completely unrelated, a nice Mickey button:

25th November 2021

1st Infantry Volunteer Regiment

Thanks to Jamey Blewitt for allowing me to use these images of a West Australian Volunteer Officer’s mess dress jacket and vest. It is for sale on Ebay. There are four buttons on both the vest and jacket, with another two on each sleeve cuff.

In J. K. Cossum’s book “Buttons of the Defence Forces in Australia” the button with the Swan upon it is named as belonging to the Perth Rifle Volunteers, 1893-1901. It is better named as from the 1st Infantry Volunteer Regiment, formed from the Perth, Guilford and Fremantle Rifle Volunteer corps in 1893.

The West Australian (Perth), 17th November 1893, page 6.

Backmark: Herbert & Co. London. I missed out on this one!

There are also examples by Samuel Bros. Ltd. London.

24th November 2021

Post & Telegraph Tasmania









I shared an image of a similar button (not mine) on the 24th April.


Now that I have my own, I could look up the history of the backmark; it hasn’t been easy!

‘V & R Blakemore’ were export merchants, and distributed guns, locks, hardware as well as buttons from around 1866 until after 1945 (that year they built a new warehouse in Birmingham). Villiers (1823-1883) and brother Ramsey (1836-1891) had offices in London and Birmingham. There was another firm, Blakemore & Son, that also distributed guns; however I cannot prove the link.

In Australia they supplied also buttons for the Tasmania Local Forces (1878-1884), H.M. Gaol Hobart, and the Native Mounted Police in Queensland (1870-1895); also rifles and pistols.