Obscure Branding: 1930s -1960s examples

Smaller cards (approx 6×9 mm)  seem to have come onto the market in the late 1940s. Before that the cards were larger (approx 10×20 mm). The price per button was often written on the card, and the number the customer wanted would be cut off. As a consequence, there are many partial cards out there which makes identification difficult. Also, many of the complete cards are not labelled by country and/or maker. Instead they are labelled something along the lines of ‘Latest Fashion’ or ‘Fashion Buttons’. Therefore, even when labelled, it can be impossible to know whether they were manufactured here, or imported.

Many cards labelled ‘Made in Australia’ were made by General Plastics, or the early incarnations of this firm (Herrman Co. then O.C. Rheubens & Co.) under a variety of branding, i.e. American Styled, Fashion Buttons, Latest Fashion, Modern Miss, Plastic Buttons, Boilproof Buttons, Exclusive and unlabelled with an illustration of a beautiful lady.  They also supplied the distributors Coronet and Roger Berry, as well as department stores such as G.J. Coles and Woolworths. Although they are not usually labelled with the firm’s name, the designs can be matched to this firm. See also the General Plastics page.


Boilproof Buttons



The pricing dates them to 1965/6 and the card is similar to that used for Beauclaire, Leda and Demetre. Why the American spelling?



This is probably a distributor’s branding of buttons supplied from General Plastics and also imported.



These were advertised in 1947-8. The maker is unknown. They appear on cards of 12, 16 or 24 depending on the size. They are either 2 or 4 hole sew throughs in plain colours: I’ve seen pink, white, green, red maroon, brown, dark and light blue and black. The cards are printed either ‘Joy-Tu-Boil’ or ‘Joy-Tu-Boyl’.

Northern Star (Lismore.NSW), 28th July 1947 page 6.

The Daily Mercury, 15th July 1947 page 3.



There was Rosalea brand wool advertised in the 1930s. Perhaps these buttons came from the same company? Perhaps they were distributors? A newspaper article pasted to the back of the large card dates from October 1943.