D. C. Quinn/Cygnet/Delphi/E. Walker & Son Pty. Ltd.

D. C. Quinn Pty. Ltd.

“D. C. Quinn” was probably David Crothers Quinn, 1909-1957. He was listed as a manufacturer in the New South Wales Deceased Estate Files.

The manilla coloured cards above are marked ‘Manufactured by D.C. Quinn’. It is likely that their products were sold under the D.C. Quinn name only between 1952-54, then changed (briefly) to Delphi.

D. C. Quinn Pty. Ltd., the manufacturer of Delphi buttons, was registered on 1st October 1952 and deregistered on 9th October 2012. They were listed at 3-5 Athol Street, Leichhardt, NSW. As these are two 1930s style red brick homes, the factory must have been small, perhaps set up across the backyards. Alternatively, this was just the office address.

Number 3 has been rendered, but older photos show it to be of the same red brick as number 5.

The Narrogin Observer (WA), 2nd December 1954 page 8.

The Mercury (Hobart), 14th August 1954 page 6.

Sydney Phone Directory, November 1954.

Although described until 1969 (at least) as a button factory, they also undertook metal work. A 1970-71 report regarding casein button blanks (amongst other items) with regard to import duties as impacted by Free Trade Agreements with New Zealand included the following companies as interested:

If you wish to read more of the report see https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2085080650/view?partId=nla.obj-2088230610

Quinn was described as a small outfit producing blanks (unfinished button disks) for their own use. So despite the fact that Delphi branded buttons were only advertised  from August until December, 1954, they kept making blanks and finished buttons, although it is not clear for how long this occurred. I have a Delphi card with dual pricing, which dates the brand to at least 1966-67.

Quinn possibly also  produced  ‘Cygnet’ branded buttons and buckles, as the same design buckle is found on both Cygnet and Walkers cards (E. Walker & Son Pty. Ltd distributed Delphi button, from late 1954 or soon after: see below.)



When Walkers started to distribute Delphi buttons, the card design remained the same, with just “Walkers” instead of ‘Delphi’ within the loop on the top.

Strangely, after dropping the name Delphi in the 1950s, it re-appeared in 1966-7 (note the dual pricing).



The cards appear in two designs: one with cursive script and a swan illustration, and the other in block capital lettering. The yellow buckle below was also sold on Walker cards.

This design was also sold on Roger Berry (another distributor) branded card. As distributors sign non-competitive contracts with manufacturers, this may have occurred after the contract between Quinn and Wakers expired.


E. Walker & Son Pty. Ltd: Distributors of Delphi buttons.

From 1947-8 Wise’s PO Directory.

Dun’s Gazette for NSW, 1948.

Ernest Richard Walker was described as a fancy goods manufacturer under the name ‘Ernie Walker’ in Sydney, from 1919 until 1923. Then a new company, ‘Walker and Darling’, was established. In 1936 they were described as haberdashery warehousemen. In 1948 the company was reinvented as E. Walker & Son, warehousemen. The origins of this firm appear to have been in manufacturing, but changed to distribution.

This version of the company was listed in directories from 1947 and listed on the stock exchange on 23rd December,1954. Registered names  associated with this company include ‘E. Walker & Son’ (1954-1982), ‘Walkers Fashion Accessories’ (c.1983-5), ‘Walkers BHS’ (1986 onwards), and ‘Bertram Fabrics’ (1979-1991). From 1991 they have traded as Bertram Pacific Pty. Ltd.  They did not manufacture buttons themselves, but imported and distributed buttons. In 1981 it was noted that they were selling costume jewellery, handkerchiefs,  belts, buckles, buttons and sewing accessories.

Note that the registration of ‘E. Walker & Son Pty. Ltd.’ coincides with the time that advertising of ‘Delphi’ buttons ended, possibly due to a new distribution contract requiring the buttons to be marketed as ‘Walkers’.

Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th January 1956 page 55. Advert for Costume Jewellery by Walkers distributed by E. Walker & Son P/L.


Imported glass buttons probably 1950-60s.

Detail of the glass button below.


Plastic Buttons and buckles: 1954 onwards

The first branded cards still referred to the buttons as ‘A Delphi Product’.

Printed under the buttons on the card in the middle (above) is ‘A Hi-lite of Fashion’.


Plastic Buttons: Late 1960s-early 1970s


Fashion Accessory Buckles: 1983-85

Carol Carol

Walkers BHS: 1986 onwards


Sample Cards: all post 1966.





Perhaps General Plastics took D. C. Quinn, or distributed their buttons.