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.

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/australian-button-history/ww2-and-onwards-including-leather-buttons-and-obscure-companies/cygnet-delphi-e-walker-son-pty-ltd/

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.

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/24th-april-2021/

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.

 

 

 

22nd November 2021

Craft your own Hat Pins and Buttons

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 18th September 1912, page 41.

To end the instructions were these musings:

‘As this is an era of buttons, and “five hundred” not too many for a gown, it seems to almost exhaust the ingenuity of manufacturers to provide a variety to correspond with the demand. The individual worker, that can add to what is in the market, by using her own fingers and skill in copying or originating, is to be congratulated.

‘We quote from a recent periodical the following: “Buttons have been so much in request this season for decorative as well as merely useful purposes that button factories have been working overtime and have found it difficult to meet the demand. Paris has commanded the use of buttons, and the fashionable world has hastened to comply.”

When we take up the study of buttons it may lead us afar. Our dusky sister on the west coast of Africa has a fancy for buttons that is not to be surpassed by the Parisian sister. The ordinary shirt button of civilisation are so attractive in her eyes that she decorates, not her gown, but her hair with dozens and dozens of them, whole cards being fastened above each ear.

Many a useful idea in production of new varieties of buttons could be obtained if it were possible to “restore” some of the old-time button charms or strings. Who does not remember them? When a button was begged from from every friend the little girl possessed, and added to the already yard-long string. What envy the girl with the longest string provoked! How often they must be restrung upon a fresh string! – and how treasured was each quaint addition to her store!’

 

20th November 2021

Merchant Navy buttons by Stokes

Mark Stephen is sharing some of his grandfather’s (Charles) uniform buttons dating from his service in 1945-6.

 

Charles Edwin Millar Stephen was born in 1884 in Como, New South Wales, and died in 1966 in Brisbane.

Charles, c.1911.

The need for an official merchant navy uniform became apparent during World War 1. The standard was issued in September 1918. The uniform was inspired, not surprisingly, by that of the Royal Navy, including for the cap badges and buttons. The term ‘merchant navy’ was formalised as the ‘Merchant Navy’ by King George V in 1922, in recognition for the vital work they played during the war, including greater than 14,000 killed.

Chronicle (Adelaide), 31st March 1938, page 77.

The crown upon the buttons is a modified ‘naval crown’. The naval crown dates from Roman times. The current naval crown consists of alternating sterns and topsails on a circlet, and dates from the early 18th century. The anchor, unlike for the  various Royal Navies, is not befouled (the anchor rope twisted around it), and has the stock  tilted downwards to the left.

19th November 2021

Vintage Dog Buttons

Flat animal (and other) shaped buttons were advertised in Australia from 1936-1946. They were stamped out of sheets of coloured casein; sometimes with hand chasing and/or painting.

The Sun (Sydney), 5th October 1936 page 12. ” … green bone dog buttons on the grey crepe de Chine blouse …” They were probably casein rather than bone.

The Sun (Sydney), 2nd May 1937 “… four kelpie dog buttons, all of different colours, fastening (the) frock.”

1930s-40s Coronet dog buttons.

Continue reading

18th November 2021

H. M. Customs

Here’s a nice example of an Her Majesty’s Customs button from the Victorian era. Lesley from the Hammond-Turner website (https://hammond-turner.com/ ) tells me it dates from 1835-possibly the 1870s.

Backmark: Hammond Turner & Sons, with a crown.

They exist with the VR, for Victoria Regina, in various scripts, including a block serif style as seen above, a ‘Gothic’ (also known as blackletter) font and the intertwined monogram type (see below).

Carol’s collection: Customs uniform button. Backmarked T.G. Brown & Son, Adelaide.

These were a stock design from the U. K.; however there were some at least customised for the colony of Victoria (as seen in Cossum’s book, page 69), and some the included a naval anchor. Below are a group of  South Australian customs officers at Port Adelaide in 1885.

State Library SA, PRG 280/1/17/722

State Library SA PRG 280/1/44/622: Arthur Searcy Customs Officer 1891. The letters VR within the belt are smaller than above.

In 1859 Custom Officers were required to buy new uniforms, only to be told they looked to alike to Naval uniforms, and to refrain from wearing them!

The Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd September 1859, page 6.

I am not sure if officers in all colonies had uniforms, although there is mention for Tasmania, West Australia, New South Wales as well as South Australia. At some stage, possibly Federation, the uniform seems to have been discontinued apart from a cap and badge. This caused problems but was not remedied for decades.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14th June 1906, page 9.

The Herald (Melbourne), 24th February 1932, page 15.

The West Australian, 22nd December 1954, page 8. The button is shown below.

The Canberra Times, 28th June 1968, page 1.

16th November 2021

Beutron Branded Glass Button

This glass button of Carol’s shows the name ‘Beutron’ moulded upon the back. It is the first such button we have seen. G. Herring must have paid for this marking, or else made a large order to warrant it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the back of Beutron originals cards, some of which are printed with “Made in Western Germany”,  are the words “Although these Beutron glass buttons are of the finest quality, the bases are imported and therefore the shanks cannot be guaranteed in the same way as Beutron plastic buttons, which are made entirely in Australia under our own supervision and from our own raw material.” These cards must have been printed between 1950, when the name Western Germany was first used, until about 1954 when their first overseas plant was opened in Hong Kong.

Peering at the back of my own glass Beutron, I managed to find a couple marked on the back with “Le Chic”, which was a brand name used by B. Blumenthal & Co, importers and manufacturers, from 1932 until around 2008. The company was based in New York, and is now known as Blumenthal Lansing Co. It has been acquired by  IG Design Group.

G. Herring may also have imported glass buttons from Schwanda, as mentioned last year; see  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/2nd-september-2020/.