Norris & Spiers/Rex C. Norris/Rex Agencies

Norris and Spiers

From around 1936 until it was declared insolvent in May 1939, Reginald Charles Norris and John Henry Spiers traded as Norris and Spiers, “manufacturers of buttons, buckles and casein products” from a factory in City Road, and then from Mary Street, Surry Hills, Sydney.

Dun’s Gazette, 20th January 1936.

Construction (Sydney), 5th October 1938 page 5.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8th June 1939 page 7.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 7th June 1939 page . This describes the stock of dies, buttons etc that were up for auction when the business closed. It is possible they made the Disney buttons advertised in 1938 below:

John Spiers (1915-1975) may have continued in button manufacturing and/or wholesaling, as a company called “Haik & Spiers” (later H & S Jewellery) existed from 1940 to at least 1961 as button, buckle and fancy goods wholesalers in George Street, Sydney. He was described as a manufacturer and  importer.

Rex Buttons

According to the Rex Agencies web page, “Rex Buttons” began in Victoria in 1950, however it actually started in 1940 in High Street, Armadale.

The Age, 30th October 1940 page 4.

They made buttons, accessories, ornaments and toys and advertised their spraying and lacquering services.

Reginald Charles Norris applied for registration of designs for buttons, dress accessories and for brooches from 1941 to 1949. Presumably he sold some of these through his firms ‘Norris Accessories’ (registered in November 1942) and ‘Rex C. Norris’. These two firms were combined in July 1946 as ‘Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd.’ which was was described as a ‘fancy jewellery warehouse’. In 1950 (under the name Rex Charles Norris) he applied for registration of designs for buttons and fancy buttons (the name Rex is a diminutive version of Reginald).

Dun’s Gazette for NSW, Oct 1946.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1st September 1947 page 16.

1947 ‘Pink Pages’ phone directory.

The web site claimed that “over the decades (they) grew to be the second largest button and buckle maker in Australia” (presumably behind Beutron). Rex C. Norris Pty. Ltd. became Rex-Norris Trading Pty. Ltd. some time after 1964 until 1977. The business then became Rex Agencies (Australia), then in 2003 Selit-Rex Australia, run by Jeffrey Charles Bird. Mr Bird died in 2012.

 

Who was Rex C. Norris?

Reginald (Rex) Nathan Charles Wylie Norris was born in 1903 in Castlemaine, Victoria. In 1925 he is listed in the electoral rolls as living in Prahran employed as a labourer. In 1928 he and his  wife Jeanie, are living in Toorak, and he is now a railway employee. By 1930 he has moved to Randwick East, Sydney, and is listed as working as a  ‘specialty artist’. In 1936 he is listed as a  manufacturer, and by 1943  a company director. On the passenger list of the ship  ‘Strathnaver’ in 1951 leaving London bound for Sydney are listed Reginald Charles, DOB 19 July 1903,  Importer, and his wife Jeanie and daughter Diana. He is last listed in the electoral rolls as a merchant in 1963.  Quite a journey from labourer and railway employee  to become a designer, company director and importer.

 

Cards

Some cards were marked “Distributed by Rex C. Norris, others are not; perhaps those were actually made by Rex Buttons.

See also http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/australian-button-history/ww2-and-onwards-including-leather-buttons-and-obscure-companies/babies-and-childrens-buttons/#Jack_and_Jill

 

Marked as “Distributed by”

Metal buttons

 

Not marked as “distributed by”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample cards

The date 18/8/50 is scribbled top right corner.