G. Herring (Beutron)

See also the page of vintage Beutron advertising.


G. Herring & Co. Ltd. 1931-1939

The company did not start out in manufacturing buttons. ‘G. Herring and Co.’ advertised for a travelling salesman for sheep-branding oil in 1931-2. In March 1933 it became G. Herring and Co. Ltd., cotton spinners and manufacturers of twine, jute and flax.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4th Jul 1931 page 22.

Gen Innes Examiner (NSW), 6th October 1934 page 10.

Dun’s Gazette for NSW 13th March 1933.

The company was named after George Gerard Herring (1900-1980), one of the original directors. The other original directors were Marshall Carl Adolf Ney, his brother Cornelius Frederick Bernhard Ney, and John E. Morrow (probably John Elbra Morrow, 1895-1956).  Marshall Ney (1906-1967) was the managing director from 1933 until at least 1953, and was still a director in 1968.  The Ney brothers were great-grand nephews of the famous Marshall Michel Ney, a general in Napoleon’s Army from 1799. The brothers had been born in America, coming to Australia by the 1920s.  As well as his work with G. Herring, Cornelius (1902-1967) was a clothing manufacturer and representative for fashion houses in Australia.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 20th November 1948 page 24.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 20th November 1949 page 13.

The Sun (Sydney), 7th September 1951 page 15.












The Bulletin, 21st September 1968 page 46.

They had  been involved in pearl-shell buttons since around 1931.

The Bulletin, 21st September 1968 page 46. The “Viennese experts” mentions came to Australia around the beginning of 1931.

The company became involved in importing plastic buttons and buckles around 1937. Also around this time they were extending into jewellery. They may have started making, or at least finishing, casein buttons at this time; certainly they were doing so by 1939.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29th June 1937 page 16.

The G. Herring logo, 3 herrings in a circle, is seen at the top right hand corner.

The Australian Women’s Weekly , 9th October 1937 page 35. Novelty buttons sold on cards with the G. Herring logo. They may have been imported, or locally made. (A Sydney designer, Anne Stuart Lindsay, was designing novelty buttons in 1936.)










Truth (Brisbane) 5th September 1937 page 31.

Examples of the “Winter Winners” shown above.

Truth (Brisbane), 5th September 1937 page 27.


G. Herring (Australia) Pty. Ltd. 1939-1949

In 1939 a new company, G. Herring (Aust) P/L,  was incorporated in New South Wales from the merging of this G.Herring & Co. and the Pearl Button Manufacturing Co. Ltd, owned by Burns Philp.

Dun’s Gazette for NSW, 30th January 1939. John F. Linton was possibly John Fred Linton, solicitor. David H. Baxter was a manager from Philp Burns, a major shareholder.

Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 21st February 1939 page 10.

The new, merged company would continue to produce pearl buttons during the 1940’s. Burns Philip maintained a 50 percent interest in the firm.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 9th October 1941 page 13.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 3rd June 1943.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4th August 1943 page 8. Grading shell and buttons. This could have been in a G. Herring factory.

The Advertiser (Adelaide), 8th November 1944 page 3.

The Argus (Melbourne), 19th September 1946 page 9.

                                      Fisheries news-letter, June 1946, page 6. During WW2  G.Herring made compass dials for Commonwealth forces and buttons for the US forces.

Marshall Ney travelled to America around 1940 to secure the right to use a method to coat plastic with metal. G. Herring would go on to produce many metalised plastic buttons.

                                                      Smith’s Weekly (Sydney), 30th August 1941 page 19. They would use this process to make buttons under the branding of ‘Originals’ from 1950-1955.

The Argus, 16th June 1945 page 15. It looks like the Victorian branch of the company did not last for long.

By 1943 the company was described as a manufacturer of casein and mother-of-pearl buttons and dress accessories. The name ‘Beutron’ was first registered by G. Herring for its buttons in  September 1945. (Interesting side note: there was a race horse named Beutron from 1941 and another around 1953. I’d guess that one or both were owned by someone to do with the company.) As the company was producing buttons from around 1939,  there was approximately a 7 year period when the buttons were otherwise labelled. A brand they may have produced in this period was “Bonnie Buttons”.  If not they may have been imported by the company. it is also possible they were made by General Plastics,who had multiple brandings pre-1950, however, at least one Beutron design appears on  a Bonnie Buttons card.

The buttons are also found on ‘Beutron Wash Buttons’ cards. See below:

On the back of some 1960s cards it is stated “Beautiful Beutron Buttons were originally manufactured only in Australia.” This ignores the fact that the first ‘Beutron’ buttons to be advertised (below) were clearly not made in Australia!

Daily Mercury 13th November 1946 page 5.

These cards were not perforated. They had to be cut into the smaller portions.

Examples of the British Beutron Wash Buttons below:

The photos below shows that the name Beutron was originally used by the company as a name for a type of plastic (note that the Tub Buttons were ‘Made from Beutron. The plastic of the Future’). That plastic was probably casein. Soon the trade name would apply to the buttons, instead of the plastic. The term “Tub buttons” was used in advertising from 1945-1949. There were several graphics/cards used.

The Canberra Times, 29th July 1947 page 4. Note it is the plastic, not the buttons that are called Beutron.

More button found on the ‘washing line’ cards:

The Sun (Sydney) 2nd February 1950 page 2. Beutron’s ‘Tub Buttons’ can be seen here.











Smaller cards of Tub buttons:

More buttons found on these cards:


Medium sized cards:


Large cards: Expressly for Richall

The boiling buttons  below were made expressly for ‘Richall’ Melbourne. This company made clothes such as blouses and school wear from 1949-1961. Did the company use them for finishing the clothing, or sell them in stores that stocked the clothing?

Examples of boiling buttons sold on these cards follow:


Reports  of a court case in 1945 shed light on the operations of the company:

Truth (Sydney), 20th May 1945 page 14.


Warwick Daily News (Queensland), 4th May 1948 page 1. G. Herring also made jewellery at this time.

1948-49 Sydnet directory. The name for cables, ‘Wilscour’ relates historically to the start of the firm as producers of sheep branding oil in 1931-2. G. Herring may have produced costume jewellery only around 1947-9.

Large cards: Tub, Wash and Boiling Buttons:

It is now the button, not the plastic, that are named Beutron.

These cards, approx 12.5 x 19mm, date from the (?late)1940s, but overlapped with the use of smaller cards into the early 1950s at least. They were variously labelled; ‘tub buttons’, ‘wash buttons’, ‘will stand boiling’, etc. Why there were so many  variations to the marketing, with different names and cards is a mystery? In newspapers, the term ‘tub buttons’ was used in advertising from 1945-1949, and ‘boiling buttons’ from 1937 -1954. The term ‘Beutron boiling buttons’ was mentioned from 1946-1949; afterwards the term ‘boil proof’ tended to be used instead. I only have remnants of some cards.

The Mercury (Hobart) 4th November 1948 page 4. ‘Beutron’ has been mispelled!

Brisbane Telegraph, 13th June 1950, page 6. Large Beutron cards.


The green button has been added to show the colour variation.












































Buttons mounted on these cards:

Sunday Herald (Sydney), 13th March 1949 page 8. It states “Buttons by G. Herring Pty. Ltd.”

                                                                  The Sun, 3rd March, 1949 page 22.



In 1948,  G. Herring advertised ‘Irridel’. It was marketed along with ‘Opal-glo’ during 1949, then Irridel was dropped as a brand name. I am not convinced that there was any difference in the buttons, that this was not just a change of marketing. Strangely, the brand was resurrected in 1957 after a 6 year gap.


G. Herring (Australia) Pty. Ltd. 1949-1959


‘Opal-Glo’ was a line of iridescent buttons (probably identical to Irridel) trademarked by G.Herring on 20th December 1948 using a combination of two American plastic formulas. 

The trademark was first applied for on 20th December 1948. It appears the last time the trademark was renewed was in 1984, and it is now obsolete.

There were at that time (1948) 130 men designing and making more than one million buttons per week. The company mixed and coloured their own plastic. The powdered plastic would be poured into extruding machines to be forced under pressure into long rods of varying diameter.

National Archives #7462677. 1949 Making Beutron Buttons. Sydney.

National Archives # 11788274. Button making (Beutron Buttons) Sydney.

These rods were cut by machine into buttons then the holes drilled. After glazing and waxing the buttons would be inspected, carded, packed and distributed.

National Archive #11788275. 1949 Sorting Buttons, Beutron, Sydney.

The company were then opening their 3rd factory in and around Sydney. A small card of Opal-Glo buttons cost one shilling. By 1953 the price was one shilling and four and half pence, dropping back to one shilling three pence by 1956.

These are design #660, available in 6 sizes and 26 colours.

Opal-glo buttons had design numbers (see below) as well as colour numbers (see above). Opal-Glo buttons appear on both large and smaller cards.  Both size cards were available in 2 types: one labelled ‘Opal -Glo’, and the other ‘All Pupose Buttons’ with 2 yards of cotton supplied on the card. These were advertised heavily.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 17th June 1953 page 30.

The large cards below were not shown in advertising, but  presumably date from the late 1940s- late 1950s.

Numbered Styles

The cards with the black tops are probably the earlier versions. Those with the grey tops may date from the late 1950s.

Unknown designs:

Please Contact me if you know which designs these are, or if you have other Opal-glo designs in your collections.











The card on the right above is labelled 660, but the buttons are design 613.



















Unfortunately, this partial card has been used to store some glass buttons, and not the original design 888.


There were several variations of cards during the late 1950s-1960. The cards with the cotton at the top may date from 1957-8, and those with the cotton at the bottom from 1959-60. Although this unproven, I believe that because General Plastics had copied their type of button card with cotton in 1958,  G. Herring then experimented with a couple of styles of card in quick succession: one without cotton at all, and one with the cotton at the bottom of the card. They wanted their cards to be distinctive.

Cotton at the top with new graphics

Cotton at the bottom

Without cotton

The button on the right is incorrectly labelled as style 660.


The brand Opal-glo was last used in the mid 1960s. (There is one attached to a 1964 catalogue, see further down the page.) It was not advertised after 1957, although it was, along with boil-tested whites, Tecpearl and Originals, mentioned in a 1960 phone directory listing.

1960 Pink pages, page 122.

c.1964 Opal-Glo design #660


All Purpose Buttons

These “All Purpose Buttons” cards were advertised from January 1949 at 1 shilling per card. Their advertising explained that these cards featured “Opal-Glo” buttons with matching cotton. As can be seen, the cards did not originally have the price printed upon them, although later on they would be printed as 1′3 or 1′6; rarely a few other pricings.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 22nd October 1949 page 21.

Printed on the back of the cards.

Advertising from 1949 until 1957 showed Opal-Glo buttons sold on yellow cards and described as ‘All Purpose’ buttons, with matching cotton wound around the card. A couple of early designs had faux-stitching on the button front, imitating fabric-covered buttons.

The middle example used a card for “boil tested whites” by mistake.

Showing a variety of sizes and colours for a given design below:

Showing printed prices: from none to 4 shillings for the metal buttons.

A selection of button designs:

For a side view of the buttons second from the left, see below.

Unusually thick design.

Although these cards were described in advertising as carrying Opal-Glo (casein) buttons, occasionally they were used for other types of buttons:

Probably polyester, unknown plastic and metal examples.

Imported glass examples.

Late 1950s- early 1960s

The artwork for the button cards changed around this time for all the lines: Whites, Opal-glo/All Purpose, Original and Tecpearl.

In 1958 General Plastics copied G. Herrings idea (but not the card design, according to the judge in this case) of adding cotton to the card of buttons. This probably prompted the company to change the card design for the first time in a decade. Although the cotton is still there, it was  moved from the top to the bottom and the card is now rectangular rather than curved.  This made the card less like the copied design (which was Woolworths branded).



Another promotional line advertised from 1950 until 1955 were the ‘Originals’,  which included ‘light as a feather’ plastics, metal coated-plastic dress buttons (using the process Marshall Ney bought the rights to c.1940: see news article above)  and glass buttons. Some of these (i.e. the glass examples) were imported from West Germany. Some were ‘reproductions’ of French and American designs, according to their advertising.

Western Mail (Perth), 9th February 1950 page 26 of the Women’s Supplement.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 16th November 1952 page 50.

Un-detached cards.

Metal Coated Plastic:

‘Light as a feather’ as the metal coated plastic bases were lighter than solid metal. The metal came in gold, old gold and silver finishes.

For a collection of these ‘Originals’, see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/2nd-august-2020/


Imported Glass

G. Herring felt the need to state they could not guarantee the imported buttons as the could their own products.

From the back of the cards.

Some of the glass ‘Originals’ are labelled “made expressly for Beutron in Western Germany”. The name ‘West Germany’ was the English term for the ‘Federal Republic of Germany’ from 1950 until reunification in 1990. Before that, from 1945-49, exported buttons were labelled ‘Germany – US – zone’. Ethnic Germans involved in the Bavarian glass button industry were forced to leave the lands being ceded to Czechoslovakia. Resettling in the new West Germany they re-established from scratch (most of their equipment and moulds being left behind) a glass button and bead industry, making the country the dominant glass manufacturing area during the 1950-60s. The remnant button industry in Czechoslovakia under Soviet control did not export buttons until the break up of the USSR circa 1990.

I have placed colour variations onto the card on the right.

The white and pink teddy bears are ‘design under glass’ examples. They were reproduced in plastic to be sold on Beutron childrens novelty cards. See the Children’s Buttons page.


Plastic Originals

The next 3 rows are ‘pearlised’: coated with fish-scale essence to give a pretty shimmer. this type of coating could be easily damaged, unfortunately.

The tilted button on the left shows the pale plastic underneath.

This example has a metal shank applied to the back: perhaps an imported example as no other Beutron had this.

There are 2 later versions of ‘Original’ cards, one from the late 1950s, and one from the early 1960s.

Originals were meant to be high fashion buttons, not standard buttons like these.

Examples of Originals made by mounting a button into a larger frame. One button that as come apart can be seen at the side.

‘Originals’ were also sold on larger cards, as these metalised plastic buttons show. These three designs were also made in non-metalised versions.

Examples from remnants of large Originals cards:



Cardigan Buttons

These were advertised in 1949-50. They included backing disks to stop the button pulling through the knitting, as shown in this detail from a 1950 advert.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th March 1950 page 23.

This article describes the cardigan buttons  and metalised plastic buttons.

The Newcastle Sun (NSW), 26 January 1950 page 13.


Boil Tested Whites

Although automatic washing machines were introduced into Australia in the 1950s, they were not affordable for most households until the 1960s. Therefore, boiling your clothes clean in a ‘copper’ was still the norm. Boil proof buttons were a necessity.

From the back of the cards.

These were advertised from 1951-54. They were renamed in 1955 as “snow whites”, then in 1957 as “tropical whites”. There were several versions of cards. Those immediately below were shown in advertising from 1951. The blue background would have been deliberate, to make the white seem ‘whiter’.

In 1954 this trio of glamorous housewives appeared in advertising for boil-tested whites. Doesn’t everyone wear high-heels, pinafores and chefs’ hats to boil their clothing in a copper?

They appear on these cards of buttons, which presumably date to 1954 also.

In the late 1950s there was a change in graphic, then cards without added cotton, on shiny cardboard for all the lines of buttons, but for whatever reason, they were never shown in advertising, and may not have been used for very long.

No cotton.

Note the card on the left is marked ‘made in England’.


Press Studs

The Sunday Mail (Brisbane) on the 5th July 1953, trumpeted the ‘most sensational advances in the Australian button trade’.  What was the cause of this excitement, you ask?  The new Beutron press stud pearl buttons with the  clip on top that could ‘be removed in seconds’ for washing or dry-cleaning!

Available in 3 sizes and 10 shades.

A disastrous fire, sparked by an electrical storm on Sunday morning, the 16th November 1952,  destroyed the Herring button factory, and damaged a couple of neighbouring factories. Employees living near-by rushed to help fight the fire.  More arrived to protect the machinery from the heat and water, and to help clean up. The company was able to start manufacturing buttons the following week. Below is a thank-you letter from the managing director, Marshall Carl Ney, published in several newspapers.

Daily Telegraph, 17th November 1952.

Little more than a year later there was another fire that destroyed most of the second story of a Herring’s button factory.  This time twelve had to flee, with two sustaining minor burns. The Sydney Morning Herald, on 19th January 1954,  announced planned for a new factory to be built for G.Herring with an amusing title:

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th January 1954 page 13.

‘Building, Lighting and Engineering’ 24th February 1954 page 36.

The Herald (Melbourne), 4th April 1953 page 2. At the time that women were paid 9 pennies to sew six cards with 24 buttons, the factory manager was to start at £1500.

Detail of Women’s Weekly Ad: 21 April 1954 page 33.

Buying buttons at G & R Wills, Perth, 1953. Note the Beutron displays on the counter, and draws of buttons lining the wall behind it.

Daily News (Perth) on 26th August of 1954, page 6.

For many years Beutron buttons were made only in Australia, but as the company thrived and demand increased, factories would be opened overseas. G. Herring established G. Beutron (Hong Kong) Limited on 21st May 1954 with Cornelius Ney, brother of Marshall Ney, as the manger. According to  https://industrialhistoryhk.org/64226-2/ they then built a four story, 12000 square foot factory called Beutron House  in Aberdeen, HK, to make polyester buttons. The firm became ‘Herculoid Far East’ on  20th August 1957. In 1964, seventy-five workers were producing 25-30 tons of buttons and blanks per month. The firm was dissolved on 24th February 1984.

In the late 1950s Australian made Beutron buttons were reportedly shipped in cardboard tubes to Japan to be sewn onto cards  then re-imported for retail sale.


Details from 1958 Tariff Report

Herculoid (Aust) Pty. Ltd.  was registered in 1953, and in liquidation in 1973.

Dun’s Gazette for NSW, 17th April 1953 page 137.



In 1958 Beutron’s new ‘Tecpearl’ buttons were marketed. (“Techperl” buttons had been mentioned in advertising for business shirts from 1954, however, they hadn’t been marketed separately before this.) These were pearl-like plastic buttons with (supposedly) the look of pearl but without the inconvenience. They were still being sold in 1965. They probably marked a move away from casein to polyester plastic buttons.

The Canberra Times, 1st November 1958 page 5.

A detail from a 1958 advert shows that Beutron supplied button to quite a few well known brands.


The card below is the same blue/white card as used for ‘boil-tested whites’: it is proably pre 1958, before the advertising push.

There were a couple of  variations c.1958-60:

The majority of Tecpearl cards are of the following style.



‘TecOpal’ is an amalgamation of Tecpearl and Opal-glo. it was not advertised. c 1958.

A curiosity: “Tub buttons”

Tub Buttons (1940s terminology) on late 1950s style cards. On the back of the card they claim the buttons were produced “due to popular demand”.


G. Herring (Australia) Pty. Ltd. 1960-1963

In 1962 Burns Philips sold the interest that they had in the firm since 1938.

The company was setting up more overseas factories.

Overseas Trading, 16th November 1962, page 528, discussing the building of a South African factory.

South African Beutron card.


Beutron Australia Ltd. 1963- 1970s

In 1963  F.W. Williams Holdings Ltd acquired a half interest in the company that was now named Beutron Australia Ltd.

The Bulletin, 30th May 1964 page 73. In 1963  F.W. Williams Holding acquired a half interest in the company that was now named Beutron Australia Ltd.


Early 1960s Cards

In 1960 G. Herring took General Plastics to court for imitating their design of selling buttons with added cotton on the same card. They were unsuccessful in stopping General Plastics (through Woolworths stores) selling their own version of cards with cotton, which may have prompted the change in card design seen below.

The Age (Melbourne), 29th April 1959 page 14.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 13th September 1960 page 20.


The Sydney Morning Herald, 14th September 1960 page 18.

The card on the left had been registered in 1948, and marketed from 1949. The card on the right is the “imitation” design produced by General Plastics for Woolworths. Around 1960 the Beutron card design changed to that in the middle. It is possible it changed to make the Beutron cards different to the copied design, as they lost the case to stop General Plastics coping them.

This style card is seen in 1960 adverts. There were prbably multiple printers producing the cards: although the fronts are of a consistant design (in multipple colours), there are several variations of the printing on the backs. many of the cards are overstamped/printed with numerical codes: probably referring to the item number of the button in the company’s stock book. Some just have a number, some also have a quantity, say “5 on 186” or “6-184”. This seems very controlling. Not all of the cards have the “correct” number of buttons sewn on, although most do! They obviously had survived without this type of instructions to the “button women” before.

Detail from 1960 ad.

For matching shirt/dress fronts and cuffs.


Glass Buttons


MOP/Shell Buttons

? Tamagai shell


Metal and metalised plastic


Massive Buttons: 34 and 45 mm diametre.


Dual Pricing: Feb 1966 – Oct 1967.


Decimal Only Pricing: Late 1960s

Note that some, post dual pricing, have the buttons stapled.


New Beutron

“New Beutron” strip cards appeared around 1963-5. They measured approx 4.5 x 14cm. It is likely the term ‘new’ was used to indicated the change from G. Herring P/L to Beutron Australia Ltd in 1963. None have dual pricing or decimal pricing, so date before 1966.  Some of these are ‘Opal-glo styles from the 1950s. They are marked ‘siliconized for permanent colour’ (a treatment that made items water-proof).


Colour Matched

The marketing term “Colour matched” was used during 1962-1969, however it appeared on strip cards and standard cards from ?late 1965 (as there is only one card with imperial only pricing).  Most have dual or decimal pricing. There are 3 card types; strips, rectangular and curved-tops. Some strips are marked as “2-way” buttons, with one side matt and the other shiny. Some, post dual pricing, have the buttons stapled.

Note that on the cardsabove the name Beutron appears in cursive script, whilst those below use block letters. The former date from 1968-1970, the latter from July 1970 (determined front advertising in newspapers).

The card on the left has imperial only pricing, dating this marketing drive to 1965.


1964/65 Catalogue

A Spring/Summer catalogue of 1964/65 stated there was an assortment of 465 Tecpearl and Opal-Glo buttons, in standard and semi-fashion ranges. The fashion selection were designed by  the “world’s leading stylists … New York, London, Paris, Rome”. A minimum order of 6 cards of each style was required, with free point of sale merchandising and wire fitment. There were different display units available for different size stores, a ‘reel unit’ for counter tops, a ‘money-spinner’ with 75 hooks (ideal for small stores) and a ‘King size’ with 120 hooks.






















Note that the two different styles of cards below were being used simultaneously in 1964: as seen in the ‘Colour- Matched’ cards above.

A page from the King size display.


Summary of business during the 1960s

1962  Burns Philips sold the interest they had in the firm since 1938.

1963  F.W. Williams Holdings Ltd bought a 50 percent interest in Beutron Australia Ltd. This new firm took over General Plastics Ltd.

1965  F.W.Williams returned no dividend from Beutron.

1966  F.W. Williams made losses from Beutron and other holdings.

1967  Pioneer Concrete took over  F. W.Williams. They then owned 50 percent of Beutron (Aust) Ltd.  Marshall Ney was still a director, and his son David Marshall Ney (1927-2018)  General Manager.

David Ney in 1956, then 19 years old. He died in 2018, aged 81.

1969 Pioneer Concrete sold its interest in Beutron “for a substantial cash profit’.


Late 1960s – 1970s

These design cards overlap with the ‘Colour-matched’ strip cards. The backs advertise their zips, buckles and self-covered button kits.

Note that on some of these cards the name Beutron appears in cursive script, whilst others use  block letters. The  former date from 1968 (decimal only) -1970, the latter from July 1970 as shown in newspapers. Prices vary from 12 to 70 cents. The cards now have a circular holes above the longer hole used previously for hanging upon display units.

Some backs are blank, possibly the earliest. The prices are 12-45 cents per card. Then advertising for other products appear on the backs. Beutron advertised its polyester “spiral zippers” in print from 1966-1969 and its button covering kits from 1968 until 1970 (see the adverts above). The prices on these cards are 25-70 cents. Also, earlier cards do not have the code 10071D or the words “RECOMMENDED PRICE”.


24ct gold plated

July 1970 onwards.


Mid 1970s onwards

Beutron cards went through multiple incarnations: As they do not appear in print advertising, I have used the shape of the cards, pricing then the appearance of bar codes to give an approximate dating. Forgive me if I am wrong, or better, let me know!  Some cards were marked “Packed in Australian by Beutron”. Some are marked made in Thailand.

 In 2001 Beutron Ltd. became Beutron Pty Ltd, then was accquired by J. Leutenegger (a large craft firm that was started in 1891 in Brisbane, Queensland by a Swiss immigrant, Jacques Leutenegger). Some cards are marked “Packed in Australia by J. Leutenegger Pty Ltd”.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Business, 19th June 2001 page 1328.

 Bar Codes

In 1978 the practice of electronic scanning of items started, and by 1986 it is stated that 90% of grocery items had a bar-code. Coles started the practice in 1982, Woolworths in 1985 with  Kmart and Grace Brothers in 1988. By 1992 90% of supermarkets were using the technology.


Large plain 8.9 x 5.8 cm card

Same size/shaped holes as for the early 1970s cards above. Probably mid 1970s. Price 50 cents – $1.35, price printed on the front. The longer hole near the top of the card gets dropped, leaving only the circular hole to hang up the cards on the dispensing frames. No printing on the back.

The same buttons on (probably, due to the similar price) consecutive card types.


Small plain 8.2 x 4.8 cm card

Probably from the late 1970s. Price 50 cents-$1.00. Circular hole only. No printing on the back. The Beatrix Potter buttons date from 1977 and appear on this card type.

American firm JHB released the Peter Rabbit series of buttons under license in 1977 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publishing of the first of Beatrix Potter”s books in 1902. The others in this series were Peter Rabbit, Hunca Munca, Squirrel Nutkin and Old Mr Brown Owl. JHB went to the effort source a company (in Japan) capable of faithfully reproducing the effect of the original water colours. Over the next 11 years, more designs were released. Beutron must have sold these buttons under licence from JHB.

“Militaire Equipment” trouser buttons. These turn up in button tins all the time. I wonder if they were ever really made for military use, or French, or were always just a fashion item? I did some googling, and found a card stamped “Made in Kong Kong” featuring these buttons.


Plain card with indented edges

Probably late 1970s-early 1980s. Strangely these occur in two sizes: 8.2 x 4.8 cm and 8.8 x 5.7 cm. Possibly they were using up old cards of the previous two sizings. Why they went to the expense/bother of cutting small indents on each corner is a mystery. Prices $1.00- $1.25. No printing on the back.


Small 8 x 4.5 cm card with gold top and rounded corners

Proably late 1970s – mid 1980s, as only one example in my collection has a price code. Some have no printing on the back, but most are printed with “Butterick Patterns” and “Vogue Patterns” and a price. Prices $1.45-2.45. (the Tom Kitten button dates 1978 or soon after)

These two have blank backs.

JHB released the Tom Kitten button in 1978, so this card dates in that year or the next.


Large plain cards 8.8 x 5.8cm with rounded corners

These are an oddity. The card size and shape (rounded corners) was used just before and just after these cards, the first to have bar codes printed on the backs. Also, the front of the cards is complete unadorned except for the name Beutron, unlike the cards before and after.I wonder if Beutron was concerned about the new technology of scanning bar codes, and experimented with large, plain cards (the backs have much less text on them than the next design would) to see if there would be any problems. Once they were confident, they went back to smaller (i.e. cheaper) cards with more decoration and text.

The prices were  $1.25-3.35.

The card on the right, whilst the same size as the plain cards, has the decoration and text associated with the next series of cards.


Small 8.2 x 4.7 cm card with gold borders.

These are printed with a bar code on back but  a price becomes replaced with a’price code’ on some cards. Some are marked for Butterick and Vogue patterns. The cards  may date from sometime after the mid 1980s until circa 2001 as some are printed “Packed in Australia by Beutron Ltd”, and others “by J. Leutenegger Pty Ltd”. (In 2001 Leutenegger had purchased Beutron).


Small cards with gold borders and rounded corners.

 Approx 8.1 x 4.7 cm, with several variations of printing on the back, indicating the buttons are made in Thailand but packed in Australia, and that Beutron is a division of J. Leutenegger. The hole is a larger diametre than previously. They may overlap with the use of the previous cards, as although they all have ‘price codes’, some are “packed for Beutron” and some are “a division of J. Leutenegger”.

Dating c. 2001- 2015.

https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20130501202442/http://www.leutenegger.com.au/Collections/Haberdashery/Buttons/CARDEDBUTTONS/NEWBeutronBasicCardedButtons/tabid/632/Default.aspx  This webpage shows these cards of sale in 2013.

Note the typo: “Packed for Beuton”.


Thin strips

These are of unknown dating. All I can say is these date post 1970 , due to the block script used for the name Beutron.  The cards with mm/inch measurements indicates c.1974 when metric measurements were adopted. Please let me know if you can date them; use the Contact page.


Quilters Buttons

Printed on the back is “Packed for Beutron. A division of Leutenegger Pty Ltd”.  They date from around 2007.


Pre 2016 Cards

9 x 7 cm rectangular cards with a blue background and light blue squares, printed at the back with a ‘choking hazard warning’. The address has been changed, but the brand is still listed as a division of J. Leutenegger. These cards probably date pre-2016, as the firm became part of Birch Creative, as the listed address changed.

As of 2022 there are (once again) thin cardboard strips of Beutron buttons sold. These have a small strip of the blue-on-blue checked pattern as above along the top of the cards. Beutron buttons are also available in bags.


Beutron Delights

“Beutron Button Delights” were marketed in 2008-9. They seem to have been designed for craft, rather than clothing. See https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20080724130217/http://papersquared.openstores.com.au/c/372/Beutron_buttons.html


Undated modern Beutron Buttons


Department/Variety stores

Beutron packaged and/or made buttons for other companies/stores such as these: Kmart,  Target and Butterick, probably all post 1967, as there are no dual prices.


There are 4 card variations: red target with 2 holes, red and gold target with 3 holes, and “By Beutron”.




Although these cards are not marked as by Beutron, the buckles were original Beuaclaire styles, who was bought by Beutron.


Marked as packed in Australia, the ducks and elephants were originally Beauclaire then Beutron.






The back of the Needleworks cards show that these cards were sold through Myers/Grace Bros.

Big W

Obscured by the top button, this card is labelled ‘Notions of Australia’. The design was originally a Beauclaire example.


Beutron buckles were not advertised until 1953, although they could have been sold earlier.

This card is the only one I have seen of its type. Dating unknown, although “boil tested white” buttons were advertised from 1952.

Most 1950s cards have a block letter B, and “all Purpose Buckle” printed on the front. Some are sewn onto “All Purpose Buttons” cards, either mistakenly or out of convenience.

No prices: possibly earliest cards.

Sewn onto a button card.

From adverts in 1956-7.

Below are two unusual “TecOpal” buckles from the late 1950s.



Sample Cards, Display and Packaging

Tailor’s box of Tecpearl shirt buttons


Marion’s refill pack.

A handy box for tailors:

Counter top display drawer.

The drawers below belong to Marian.

Display Cards late 1950s-1960s

Note the marketing term “colour matched” at the bottom. Winter 1965.

Display Cards 1970s


Card/Catalogue 1980s

For the individual pages of this folder, see  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/16th-august-2020/


Catalogue 1990s

This folder used a date and phone number that dates it to 1990-94.

Below: The design designation starting with “FT” dates from the 1990s.

For close ups of the pages of the above folder, see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/7th-august-2020/

For more display cards, go to http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/branded-buttons/branded-buttons-manufacturers/#Butterick


From South Africa



Beutron Branded Plastic Button

The ‘Beutron’ button is modern in the feel of its plastic (not casein; maybe nylon?) and the moulding marks. Interestingly, the shank it not typical of Beutron buttons. It has the shape typical of Beauclaire buttons. Perhaps this dates the button to the period of the merger, 1957-1963?

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!








Hotpants sets

Love the hot pants, love “get uptight just right”: totally groovy!

An advertising board.