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  #1  
Old 03-10-17, 06:10 PM
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Default Smith & Wright Buttons

A new purchase, it looks like it says "S&W" backwards in the insect/bee at the top, a google search turned up a similar backmark on an American Civil War button which may date it to the 1860s and they claim it to be Smith Kemp & Wright.

Any thoughts please.

Rob
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File Type: jpg s&w.jpg (6.9 KB, 28 views)
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  #2  
Old 03-10-17, 08:25 PM
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Hello Rob

I have had a couple of buttons with the same backmark and I have always believed it to be an early mark for Smith & Wright, used shortly if not immediately after Kemp left the business in the mid 1860s I believe.

Not sure why the initials should be back to front unless it was simply an engraver's error! It wouldn't be the first time that this sort of thing happened.

When the firm was trading as Smith, Kemp and Wright they did use their full name as a backmark 'Smith Kemp & Wright Birmingham' (or similar).

If your 'butterfly' button was by Smith, Kemp & Wright I'm not sure why there would have been no mention of Kemp on the back (assuming the 'S' and 'W' does stand for Smith and Wright!). Kemp was, after all, a founder member of the company and Wright a relative latecomer, only becoming a partner in 1850.

I would agree that the button is most likely 1860s.

Roger
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  #3  
Old 03-10-17, 08:40 PM
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Quoting John Dunnigan's trademark file:
figs. 237 & 238 (238 is 237 minus the letters)

7794 (fig 237) and 7795 (fig. 238) classes 14 & 50 application received on 1-7-1876 registered by Alfred Wright of & on behalf of Smith & Wright Brearly Street Birmingham, Button & Ornament manufacturers. Declared use of mark: 25 years before 29th june 1877.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-17, 06:30 AM
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Thanks for the replies, there is some information on this website but its rather vague about the early dates.

http://www.ukdfd.co.uk/pages/buttonsntoz.html

Meanwhile I have found another in my collection, this time a 16mm Exeter & South Devon Volunteer Rifles, this time it does say "S?W" rather than "W&S" but the "S" is still backwards.

Rob
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  #5  
Old 04-10-17, 07:50 AM
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A couple of later 25mm and 18mm buttons marked Smith and Wright, no mention of Limited so pre 1888-1889?

Rob
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  #6  
Old 04-10-17, 09:03 AM
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Hello Rob

You are probably right about the date but bear in mind that they might have carried on using old dies long after they became a limited company.

The absence of 'Ltd' on a backmark is not really a conclusive way of dating a button whereas the presence of 'Ltd' is!

Roger
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  #7  
Old 04-10-17, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Miller View Post
Meanwhile I have found another in my collection, this time a 16mm Exeter & South Devon Volunteer Rifles, this time it does say "S?W" rather than "W&S" but the "S" is still backwards.

Rob
Given that the words Superior Quality have their lower edges towards the circumference of the button, would not W&S be the same way?
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  #8  
Old 04-10-17, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cribyn View Post
Hello Rob

You are probably right about the date but bear in mind that they might have carried on using old dies long after they became a limited company.

The absence of 'Ltd' on a backmark is not really a conclusive way of dating a button whereas the presence of 'Ltd' is!

Roger
Good point.

Rob
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  #9  
Old 06-10-17, 11:36 AM
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Hello btns

I've been away a for a couple of days, just catching up now, so belated thanks for the trademark information from John Dunnigan's files.

I think you have mentioned this information before but I've not been able to track down anything else about it. All links to his website are now defunct.

Do you have much of this old information? I take it that he never got round to publishing any of it, even in a magazine or similar.

Regards
Roger
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  #10  
Old 06-10-17, 04:22 PM
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Dear Roger,

His last project was to record all button related patent listings.
He sent me the link on the website, asking me not to anything with it.
There were many hundreds text and images. I read a few (they were weird items) and did not save any before the website disappeared.

He was hoping to get a small fee for selling the trademark file. It is password protected. I received a copy for testing purposes.
He had similar projects such as the "bank logo" file.

regards,
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  #11  
Old 20-10-17, 05:50 AM
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Here is the trademark moth on an Egyptian uniform button (18 mm)
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  #12  
Old 20-10-17, 09:41 AM
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Hello btns

Many thanks for posting the photos.

It is nice to be able to link one of those anonymous 'Rich Treble Gilt' backmarks to a specific maker!

Roger
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  #13  
Old 09-04-18, 11:24 AM
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Here is a nice large WM KC General Service pattern button with a Liverpool back mark and the butterfly/moth which I assume was made by Smith & Wright for Langdons?

The Kings Crown also brings the use past 1901.

Rob
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  #14  
Old 09-04-18, 12:58 PM
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Hello Rob

Very nice. J Langdon & Sons were military outfitters/tailors, so no doubt they bought in the buttons they required from Smith & Wright and in sufficient quantities to make it worth while adding their own details as a backmark.

Roger
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  #15  
Old 09-04-18, 01:08 PM
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By the style and construction I would have classed this an other ranks button, its interesting that a tailors got involved with the lower classes, unless perhaps they had a contract for Volunteer uniforms?

Rob
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