If one were to draw a triangle between three neighbouring Historic Shops, all of them specialising in ginjinha, one of the three sides of that triangle will go through the Casa Butuller. Those with no personal or family connection to the armed forces or military life will probably not be aware of this shop. It serves a very specific target group, selling decorations and emblems for members of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Special Forces) and the fire brigade. It also stocks emblems for student’s black capes, if that is a more familiar battleground. Probably one of the most popular items is the “Buttuller beret”, which is much sought after by members of the military and police forces for its quality and durability. In general terms, the shop remains a reference in the city for all those interested in these specific articles, some of which can be sold only under licence, which only a limited number of shops have.
Founded in 1847 by Miguel Buttuller, the company first opened a millinery shop in Rua da Palma. The current owners purchased the firm from two former workers, who had inherited it from the last descendant of the founder, José Manuel Buttuller, in 1997. Many a uniform has been embellished and enhanced there with pins, medals and emblems. The beret stretcher, a somewhat strange object, speaks to the uniqueness of each uniform, of each member of the forces, in the midst of the homogenous mass that characterises these collective forces. It is here that one gets a clear understanding – above all from the quantity of objects dedicated to minor hat-making or sewing finishes – the value of the detail and the particular differences between us all, even if together we would make up a platoon of seemingly identical soldiers. The personalised service focuses around the strangely curved counter that separates attendance to customers and the finishing work. All around, the built in drawers and glass-fronted cabinets house a wide range of objects – some for sale, others on display only. The latter is the case for a number of emblems from foreign armed forces. Not for sale! They were donated by visitors to the shop, some of them in return for the equivalent Portuguese emblems. Most of the products sold here are produced in Portugal. Because of the frequent exchanging, the shop has become a space for sharing and trading experiences, the consolidation of relationships and good camaraderie. The many years of the shop’s existence contribute to that experience, with its fame being built up order by order and by every satisfied customer.
Military articles (Army, Navy Air Force, Special Forces); fire brigade articles; military decorations; emblems; embroidered items; flags