27th June 2021

Metalised Plastic: part 2

G. Herring started to market metalised plastic buttons in 1947. They were trumpeted as made in Australia with real gold and silver, and as being either “light as a feather” or “light as a bubble”, but at only a fraction of the cost of imported buttons. An example is shown below. It is very light for its size. The back shows mould marks. The cabachon looks very like glass, but has a hollow sound (rather than the “clink” of glass) when tapped on your teeth.


Imported competition

It is strange that they choose to sell imported buttons in competition with their own manufactured items. Perhaps some buyers preferred real metal and glass? Perhaps the imported buttons were a novelty after the lean war years? Perhaps the imported buttons were just too pretty not to sell?!

In the 1940-50s both General Plastic and G. Herring were selling imported glass buttons. Some are labelled as coming from ‘West Germany’; possibly they all originated there. A new find on a Beauclaire card shows a style with a glass cabochon in a metal base.  (From Wikipedia: A cabochon (/ˈkæbəˌʃɒn/, from Middle French caboche “head”) is a gemstone which has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. The resulting form is usually a convex (rounded) obverse with a flat reverse. Cabochon was the default method of preparing gemstones before gemstone cutting was developed.)

A similar style (but with plastic cabochons) was sold on Beutron cards, but with the loops not bent over the glass.