31st January 2023

B. Schwanda & Sons Inc.

Benedict Schwanda started making buttons in Czechoslavakia in 1882. He emmigrated with his family and two button mechanics to the States in 1892, with a couple of lathes. By 1894 they were producing beautifully carved ocean pearl buttons in New York City. The two sons, then later his grandsons, followed into the business. Manufacturing plants were built in New York, Connecticut (in 1916) and Maryland (from 1933-6) also a warehouse in Long Island.

In the first decade of the 20th century they increased the range of buttons imported from Europe, sold under the trade name of ‘Buttons by Schwanda’, including casein, rhinestones, corozo, horn, leather, glass and crystal.

Cards of buttons were sold to department, variety and what Australians call haberdashery stores. They imported buttons from the “USA zone – West Germany” after WW2. Sadly, in 1968 the firm was liquidated.

Apart from the notable exception of Grant Featherston (and possibly some ‘studio button’ concerns), no glass button industry existed in Australia. Buttons sold by G. Herring and General Plastics were imported. So far I have only deduced that glass buttons were imported  through Schwanda and Blumenthal. Notice the similarilties between the printing on Schwanda and Embassy branded cards.

See also http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/2nd-september-2020/


Reference: The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Buttons, by Sally C. Luscomb

For any comments or questions, please use the Contact page.