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Last updated
01/05/2017
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Synthetic Plastics Corp

My family's business, Synthetic Plastics Corp (SPC), was a plastics compnay and one of the product lines was buttons. This page gives more info and photos on what I know about the company, which closed its Newark, NJ factory in 1977.

Note that SPC also sold poker chips, Tiddlywinks, game parts, dice, records and ash trays (that were also coasters). If you are old enough, you would probably recognize the ash trays - they were 4" wide, very deep, with various colors that were spotted with white spots; the underside was embossed with the company name. I have seen these ash trays in many venues.

At some point, Synthetic Plastics was reorganized and the new name was Ambassador Records Corporation.Then that was reorganized to Peter Pan Industries and now it is currently Inspired Studios, run by my cousin, Donald Kasen. Records became their main product.

When I was growing up, the factory was in Newark, NJ, but my father's office, where he wholesaled buttons and other producgts, was in NYC in the garment district. I used to go to his office and run the switch board, which was a lot of fun. I also helped one of the workers, Matty, who did button dying (to match fabric for garments) and packaging. As a 7th grade science project, I dyed buttons and even showed how the inside was still white as the dye penetrated the outside, but not the entire button. Then,when I was off from college during the summers, I would work in the office so that the office staff could take summer vacations. Little did I know that one day I would create my own buttons - Studio Buttons, that is.

Some buttons were named after family members and here are two - the Karen Button for me and the Susan Button for my sister. I also show extra large buttons I have created with them...

Karen Button Karen Button

Beware - I've seen a Karen Button imposter! The counter sink around the sew-through holes are textured in the imposter, and the back is different.

 

Susan button Susan Button

 
Karen Button in a button Susan button in a button

At the NJ State Button Society Show I met Helene Plank who does mosaics with buttons and beads and she has a lot of Karen Buttons in different sizes and uses them. The self-protrait also includes a Susan Button. Amazing!

I wrote an article titled The Karen Button, which was published in the February 2013 issue of "The National Button Bulletin", Vol 72, No 1, page 42-43. I received letters from collectors telling me they enjoyed the article and, by the way, they have some products and photos. I would like to thank all these collectors for giving me this information that is part of my family history. At least one collector started a tray of Karen and Susan Buttons.

It has come to my attention that sometimes people attribute SPC buttons to being Colt buttons. I guess the only way to know is by looking at salesman sample cards (I show some below) or having a factory listing. A few collectors have contacted me to keep in touch so that they will know if I get more information on SPC buttons. If you would like to be on the list, please email me with your contact information.

Some SPC buttons were sometimes sold under the name of Lansing Buttons.

In addition to selling buttons to clothing manufacturers, SPC sold buttons in matched sets as household items. One collector told me she has a 500 button tin she had bought from Sears, which included numerous Karen and Susan buttons. Here are some photos of tins and boxes of buttons from SPC. When I went to the Gulf Breeze Button Club meeting in March 2013 in Naples, FL, 2 of the collectors had Karen and Susan buttons for me from their tins. This was very exciting.

Here is a list of the SPC button names that I know, but these are mainly from those on the Salesman Cards that I show in iinks below.

Other collectors have sent me photos of salesman sample cards that they either own or have seen on eBay. I have also found some and others were sent by my cousin, Donald Kasen. Check these out:

This page will be updated as I get more information.