G. J. Coles
George James (G. J.) Coles opened his first variety store in September 1914 in Collingwood, Melbourne. During the 1920’s more stores were opened.
In 1929 the ‘Embassy’ brand was launched, initially for gramophone records, but over the years extending to hundreds of products. The brand was discontinued in 1994. See https://www.coles.com.au/about-coles/centenary At some stage in the 1980s until around 1994 Coles sold cards of buttons under the name ‘Haby Habits”. These, like the Embassy buttons, were labelled as being made in Australia. Over the years various logos were used. You’ll notice the changes in the examples to follow. The buttons were supplied by General Plastics initially, then G.Herring after the merger.
Note that although this logo was used from 1947, the cards of buttons probably date from a couple of years later.
Most of the cards had the brand name printed upon it, but some imported glass examples were simply labelled ‘Fashion Buttons’.
The similarity between the below card’s printing makes it likely that American firm B. Swanda Inc. provided these cards for Coles.
1959 – early 1960s
The first cards featuring the map of Australia had rounded corners and no prices printed upon them.
Prices are printed onto the cards. Corners are square. G. Herring “added cotton”.
Some of the styles below also appear on Leda and Kencrest cards, indicating that they too were supplied by G. Herring/Beutron.
Dual pricing (imperial/decimal) printed on the cards. The buttons are stapled instead of sewn onto the cards. Thankfully, this was a short lived trend as the staples get rusty, and can scratch!
1967- June 1970
From October 1967 dual pricing was no longer required.
A new logo was introduced.
Character printed on ‘water-white’ plastic
JHB made similar ‘Beatrix Potter’ buttons printed onto urea plastic, so perhaps these are urea. They might otherwise be cellulose actetate.
Haby Habits: 1980s-1994
Both Embassy and Haby Habit branding were discontinued in 1994.