1st June 2023


Tub Buttons

A cut down card. The full card shows a woman from the back looking at her washing drying on the line. The buttons are sewn over the “washing”.

From the 1930s advertising referred to materials as being able to withstand “constant tubbing”. The first references to “Tub Buttons”, as the “only buttons that can be boiled” started in 1945.

Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld), 28th August 1945 page 4. The brand is not labelled.

“English Beutron Wash Buttons” were advertised from the following year. This advertisement dating from 1950 actually shows this design of card!

The Sun (Sydney), 2nd February 1950 page 12.

Opal Glo

Although dating later (1960s verses 1950s), the Opal-Glo buttons on the right are still made from casein, as were the the original versions of this brand. From their introduction in 1949 through to the early 1960s when the brand was retired, the majority of “Opal-Glo” buttons were made of casein.

Polyester buttons, like the card on the left, were being produced in Australia in 1956-7, although needing tariffs to maintain competitiveness with imported items. The proportion of polyester buttons being made locally at that time was only 0.05 percent compared with the volume of casein buttons made here. This would soon change, with greater proportions of polyester buttons appearing on Australian made cards of buttons as the 1960s progressed.

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