In these days when plastics and their impact on the environment are so much in the press, it is re-assuring to know that there is an alternative. We introduced Codelite® buttons to our range about a year ago – made from 96% milk casein they are very ecological. But we have just received word back that they have passed the EU’s stringent biodegradability test!
This is conducted in conditions which seeks to emulate the composition of an ‘average’ landfill site. The material under test is then simply embedded within it and left for a while – 6 months, in fact. To pass the test, at least 60% of the mass has to have decomposed and Codelite® passed! Of course, it is not only a matter of decomposition which is key, the question is what is actually decomposed. Being a milk by-product, Codelite® breaks down into the same innocuous proteins and fats that it was comprised of.
We are really pleased with the results, but don’t worry, Codelite® buttons will last for years in non-test conditions!
2019 – The Year of Horn
As many of our customers know, we have been wanting, planning and working on making horn buttons for some time. But it hasn’t been easy. When we acquired the last remaining specialist horn button making machines in the country after James Grove’s demise in 2012, we discovered we had everything except for one critical (as it turned out) machine – a horn grinder.
It doesn’t sound much, but what it does is prepare the diameters of each and every blank to be turned so that they are all identical in size. You wouldn’t think that a 1 or 1.5mm difference in diameter is important, until you try it. And then you realise that the collets which pick up the blanks and introduce them to the cutters don’t do so properly. It means that some blanks aren’t loaded at all, others are loaded at angles, others are still get stuck and won’t release. And this has caused us an unbelievable amount of frustration, down-time and despair. So much so, that we have regularly postponed our efforts to keep up with other orders.
But, things are about to change. Having just returned from meetings with the good folks at Bonetti in Italy, we are now making plans to have the very latest horn grinding machine sent over soonest. It will need some training and some commissioning before it will be ready to use, but this is a major new development for us. Not only is it the first new machine order we’ve placed, but it is designed to help us make the highest quality horn buttons in the UK once again so that we can finally supply those who have been patient in the wait. More news to follow-soon………
The James Grove Heritage Centre Pt.1
Our story began almost 6 years ago when we acquired the last remaining specialist button turning and finishing machines left in the UK after the sad demise of James Grove & Sons Ltd. in December 2012. But we also secured as much of the company’s heritage as we could with the dream of bringing it back to life one day. Well, we are getting much closer to making this a reality.
Over the past few months Peter Grove has been working with us to launch the James Grove Heritage Centre. Much more than that, he has also passed on an impressive collection of memorabilia, historic records, pattern books and cards and much more that he and his family had accumulated over the years.
Last week, we received over 30 interpretation boards from our printers ready to be mounted on a section of the walls of our showroom and offices in Bourton-on-the-Water. The idea is to create a place of reference which tells some of the story in words, pictures and props of this venerable company, but one which goes much further to show how buttons are made and which materials are used, set within a library of button dies and button samples which go back several decades.
We hope this is of interest. In the hope that it is, we will keep you appraised with progress over the coming weeks.