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!

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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.

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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.

22nd May 2024

Christchurch Golf Club

The backmark is  Armfield’s Birmingham. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help date the button, as the company existed from the 18th-20th centuries.

This club was established in 1873 with the original course located at Hagley Park. In 1900 the club moved to Shirley Links.

Press (NZ), 25th September 1872 page 2.

Press (NZ), 28th May 1930, page 13.

Press (NZ), 27th December 1932 page 11.

The motto ‘Press (me) not, beseech you’ is a little obscure, being part of some lines spoken by  Polixenes to Leontes in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”.  It is meant to convey that you don’t need to be pushy to convince me. In the context of the Club, perhaps it means that you won’t need convincing to be a member, as the club is so nice?

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

20th May 2024

New Finds



A New Variation Beauclaire Rose

This version is solid metal, not metalised plastic.


A New Variation Victorian Police Force Uniform Button

This is in brass/whitemetal has the backmark of K. C. Luke Pty Ltd Melbourne. It is also found in whitemetal only, and was also made by Stokes.

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

16th May 2024

Buttons in the 1930s

Daily Mercury (Rockhampton, Qld), 27th June 1933 page 3.

The company referred to would was probably the Australian Pearlbutton Manufacturing Co. Ltd. It was owned by Philp Burns, but was running at a loss, and merged into G. Herring in 1938.


Novelty Buttons

A mania for novelty (Realist/goofy) buttons swept the world from 1936.

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), 14th June 1938 page 6.

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