Creativity & tradition "Made in Austria"

The first generation

  • In 1912 Josef Müller, the grandfather of the present head of the company, founded his button turner’s workshop in Vienna. At this time button production was still pure handicraft and in the Ottakring district of Vienna alone, there were numerous workshops with hundreds of employees all making their living from button production, usually made of mother of pearl.
  • Josef Müller primarily worked with mother of pearl from domestic rivers or from overseas. Subsequently buttons were increasingly produced from galalith (also known as artificial horn or casein). During the Second World War material became scarce and buttons were even made from soles of shoes. There was sufficient scope for sales for creative turners among major clothing producers in Vienna.

Industry and technology replaces handicraft

  • After his technical studies, Josef Müller Junior completed his war service and in 1947 returned from a Russian prisoner of war camp to Vienna. In 1952, 40 years after founding, he, Ing. Josef Müller, became head of button production. He was initially assisted by his mother, later by his wife, Lia Müller. The largest customers of Müller at this time were button wholesalers from the typical Vienna textile centre.
  • At the end of the fifties and in the sixties, plastic was finding its way into the button area and speeding up the industrialization of production with automatic machines. Melamine material was processed by a pressing process for army uniform buttons and polyester materials were increasingly used as imitation for mother of pearl and buffalo horn. The machines and materials came mainly from Upper Italy, which had long been the button centre of the entire Western world.
  • In addition to polyester button production, at the Müller premises buttons made of nylon were produced by injection moulding for the first time in Austria and a tool shop was set up.

Growth and international customers

  • At the beginning of the eighties, Ing. Erich Müller, industrial engineer, joined the company and in 1986 became managing director of Ing. Josef Müller & Co KG.
  • As a result of the demise of the turner, the professional group of button turners disappeared and Müller became affiliated to the profession of plastic processors. The clothing producers were now supplied directly. The focus was in Vienna with women’s wear and men’s and boy’s outer wear, but new representatives were now also travelling all over Austria.
  • At the beginning of the eighties a reference product was developed, which is still in use today, for the traditional costume area. This was the imitation stag horn button (and many variants) made of polyamide with subsequent varnishing.
  • At the end of the eighties a distribution centre was set up in Germany, many developments and collections for the traditional costume area were obtained whilst the clothing area was becoming increasingly globalized.
  • In 1996 the company relocated: the old company site, a converted block of flats in Ottakring, was bursting at the seams and was replaced by a modern factory building in the Vienna industrial zone.
  • The creative heads of the company are developing their own collection of decorative buttons for chef’s clothing and are working closely for the well-known glasses manufacturer Optyl. A number of Müller jewellery pieces made of galvanised plastic are now adorning Optyl frames. Exhibitions at trade fairs abroad are extending the international client base. Laser technology became established at the end of the nineties in button production, and Müller buttons were again the first to use a laser machine in Austria.

Globalisation and new areas

  • At the turn of the century, a dramatic slump in traditional costume fashion necessitated a restructuring of the company. The number of employees was reduced and the operating area on the site was decreased although production in all techniques was continued.
  • In 2003 things started to look up again, the new police uniforms and uniform caps were decorated with buttons, buckles and emblems developed by Müller. In 2005 the jewellery pieces sector was intensively stimulated by intensive cooperation with a major international fashion jewellery producer from Austria
  • The daughter, Manuela Müller, has been working in the company since 2012, creativity and tradition are going over into the next generation


Direct contact

Parttatgasse 36
1230 Wien

01 8042662