16th May 2024

Buttons in the 1930s

Daily Mercury (Rockhampton, Qld), 27th June 1933 page 3.

The company referred to would was probably the Australian Pearlbutton Manufacturing Co. Ltd. It was owned by Philp Burns, but was running at a loss, and merged into G. Herring in 1938.


Novelty Buttons

A mania for novelty (Realist/goofy) buttons swept the world from 1936.

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld), 14th June 1938 page 6.

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15th May 2024

Button Stories from the Past

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 20th October 1892 page 5.

Sunday Times (Perth), 23rd April 1939 page 24.

I had concerns that this might be an urban myth, but did find a record of an auction of a couple of buttons, one a conch shell example, past down through his family. The buttons was one of a set worn on a black velvet dress coat!

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14th May 2024

From the Powerhouse Museum Collection

Tailors box of buttons by GP
Object No. 2007/127/21 https://collection.powerhouse.com.au/object/366970

The bottom of the box is labelled Made in England, with a Classic brand logo. This does not match the lid which is printed with ‘Beauclaire, a GP product.’

It comes from a collection of tailoring supplies used by the Wilson family in Wagga Wagga.

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13th May 2024

New Finds


1967-72 and 1972 onwards


Post 1971


An unusual two-tone finish.

Late 1960s-mid 1970s


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11th May 2024

New Finds

Something different …

I have cards of several designs, all with the ‘vine-leaf’ border. Some are marked as ‘Made in Australia’, and some carry buttons that are clearly of General Plastics design. This is the first labelled as ‘British Made’. Like for G. Herring (their main competitor), General Plastics must have imported buttons in the 1940s as well as manufactured them.

Opal-Glo Style 877

G. Herring thought it worthwhile to print the style number on some of their cards. I can’t imagine why this was so.

Please let me know if you have any style numbers not already shared here: http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/australian-button-history/federation-to-ww2/g-herring-beutron/#Opal-Glo

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9th May 2024

Novelty Buttons in 1952.

Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 14th September 1952 page 8.





















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8th May 2024

New Finds

1970s Maxart


1940s ‘Fashionable Buttons’

The first example is the same as a design sold on Coronet branded cards. This suggests that the same manufacturer supplied buttons for Coronet and ‘Fashion Buttons’. I suspect that someone was General Plastics Limited, sold prior to the development of the Beauclaire brand.

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4th May 2024

New Finds

Cute Porcelain Buttons

This producer now sells under a new name: https://cherabellabuttons.com.au/shop/

Generic NSW button

Backmark: Amor Sydney

For more Generic uniform buttons (i.e. those without a specified department/service/etc)




Grant Featherston Design


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30th April 2024

Coin Buttons

In the Big Book of Buttons there is a whole section devoted to ‘Coin and Coin-like’ buttons. In this section, they explain that silver coins have often been adapted for use as fasteners since the 18th century, if not earlier. Sometimes the coins were completely defaced, and merely used as  the basis for a button either with holes drilled or else a shank attached; at other times buttons have been made in imitation of coins merely as a fashion item.

Designed to look like an ancient Roman or Greek coin, but with a ‘Made in Australia’ symbol on the back.

The Woodend Star (Vic), 13th January 1900 page 2.

According to Wikipedia, during the first years of the colonisation of NSW, commodities such as buttons, wheat and rum, as well as the custom of bartering, were used in the absence of coins. As well as some George III one-penny coins, various ‘foreign’ coins were permitted as legal tender.

Coin like buttons have been described on fashionable clothing many times …

Clarence and Richmond Examiner (NSW), 12th July 1904 page 3.

The Tribune (Philippines) 8th November 1935 page 20.

“Gilt Roman-coin buttons are a youthful fashion note.”

William Smith, the proprietor of the Manly Merry-go-round in the early part of the 20th century was known as Sovereign Smith, due to his wearing clothes adorned with gold soveriegns in lieu of buttons.

Freeman’s Journal (Sydney), 10th February 1906, page 19.

And then are the times that buttons and other tokens were passed off as real coins …

Goulburn Evening Post (NSW), 19th February 1916 page 2.

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