Parisian Novelty Co.

Parisian Novelty Company was the oldest button manufacturer in Chicago. Founded in 1898 by Louis L. Joseph, the company was a leading manufacturer of button parts, button-making machinery and equipment in North America.

Parisian Novelty Facade

The company manufactured novelties such as pinback buttons and compacts that made use of celluloid images to advertise various products. Cheap to make and flexible, celluloid was one of the first plastics used for commercial purposes. In the early 1900s, company superintendent Joseph L. Komorous, acquired several patents related to such items as brushes, watch fobs, thermometers as well as pins and buttons. .

In 1915, he received a patent for a "toilet box," or compact, as it's now known. Using advertising on compacts marked a bit of a risk, since use of cosmetics was not universal at that time; women tended to use it discreetly. As more manufacturers entered the market and use of makeup gained more widespread acceptance, the Parisian Novelty Co.'s share of the market decreased.

This 1928 advertising mirror is one example of the company's products: 

Parisian Novelty Co. also made ID pin badges for factories during World War II and continued to produce pinback buttons and other items after the war. In November 2008, the Matchless Group, another Chicago institution since 1885, acquired the Parisian Novelty Co. and renamed the combined company Matchless Parisian Novelty, Inc. The Busy Beaver Button Museum acquired buttons and other ephemera from the closed factory in Bridgeport. The company continues to make metal button parts used in advertising, campaign, and promotional buttons.

Source: Collecting Vintage Compacts. (2015). The Parisian Novelty Company and its Celluloid Advertising Cases. Retrieved from

Source: Matchless Parisian Novelty, Inc. (2015). About Matchless Parisian Novelty. Retrieved from

Buttons in the museum manufactured by Parisian Novelty Company

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