Founded in wartime in the early 19th century, The Waterbury Button Company has been making stamped metal buttons for over 200 years. We have amassed approximately 40,000 different button dies, each a work of art. At times, innovative owners, responding to breakthroughs in materials technology, steered the company into other lucrative endeavors, from as vinyl records to bomb fuses.
1812 - The infant United States of America goes to war with England. Soldiers and sailors needed uniform buttons, but England, obviously, would no longer supply them. Near Waterbury, Conn., Aaron Benedict bought up every brass kettle, pan and pot he could find, established a rolling mill and began making buttons for the armed forces. When Benedict ran out of brass, he turned to pewter.
From 1824 - The company, known at times as Benedict & Coe, Benedict & Burnham and Benedict & Burnham Manufacturing Co., increases both its production volume and variety. It produces copper and copper alloys, door handles, furniture knobs, safety pins, rivets, bolt hinges, lamp burners, insulated electric wire and copper wire for telegraph lines.
1861-1865 - The United States are ripped asunder by Civil War, but Union troops and Confederate troops wear Waterbury buttons. The South uses intermediaries in Europe to obtain Waterbury buttons for its troops.
Meanwhile, the plastics industry is born, and The Waterbury Button Company pioneers making products of shellac, the first plastic material molded in this country. The company uses a hand press to produce plastic buttons, checkers and dominoes. It continues to expand its line of metal goods as well.
1870 - The Waterbury Button Company undertakes production of a new, wondrous material – celluloid. Lustrous buttons made of celluloid fill a fashion trend.
1890’s - The company rides a toy craze of the "Gay '90s", when an intricate metal toy, the "Climbing Monkey", becomes so popular that the company must turn out 3 million a year.
1917 - The United States enters World War I, and The Waterbury Button Company steps into a well rehearsed role as primary supplier of uniform buttons for the armed forces.
1920's - The company is heavily involved in the toy business, manufacturing aluminum toys such as airplanes, candy banks, zeppelins and tractors. It also makes and sells the "Oracle V" radio under its own name.
1925 - The Waterbury Button Company is among the first manufacturers to mold a new plastic called Bakelite into buttons. Bakelite proves to be ideal for electrical parts, and the company molds articles for the electrical industry.
1929 – Operating under the name of “Multiplane Aircraft Corp.” The Waterbury Button Company built an experimental aircrafat called the “Multiplane”. It was powered by a Curtis Challenger engine manufactured by Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company.
1938 - War looms. After extensive research and engineering, The Waterbury Button Company develops the first optically correct injection-molded plastic lens. The discovery proves fortuitous, for more than 500,000 of these lenses are produced and used in U.S. Navy gas masks during World War II.
1939 - "Gone With The Wind", one of the most eagerly awaited and storied Hollywood films in history, opens in Atlanta, Georgia. Actors playing Confederate and Union solders wear costumes bearing authentic buttons specially produced for the epic movie by The Waterbury Button Company.
1941- 1945 - Wartime demands lead to rapid expansion. The Waterbury Button Company makes a range of products for the Allied forces, from buttons to bomb fuses. The company changes its name to Waterbury Companies, Inc., to reflect its diversified product lines.
1945 - New techniques in powdered metallurgy lead the company into sintered products. Among the first products are the World War II Victory Medal and the Merchant Marine Medal.
1946 - As the United State exhales after World War II, the company begins pressing vinyl phonograph records for children.
1948 - Laundry tubs, breadboxes, lamp shades and ice containers are among the many products the company begins to make with fiberglass-reinforced plastics.
1950 - With the introduction of its "Dialer-Magnifier" letter opener, the company breaks into the advertising specialty field, a strong line to this day.
1960-1991 - Expansion and acquisitions lead the Waterbury Companies into the fields of air filtration and freshening, pest control and cleaning products.
1994 - The Waterbury Companies acquire the non-realty of the Ball & Socket Manufacturing Company, formerly the Cheshire Button Company. Ball & Socket's major presence in the mid- and low-fashion markets ushers Waterbury buttons into those markets.
1997 - Hollywood calls again: The crew of the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic, part of the White Star Line, wore Waterbury buttons. The company is tapped to make replicas for the costumes worn by actors playing crew members in the blockbuster movie, "Titanic".
1999 - When professional golfer Payne Stewart is killed in an airplane crash, Waterbury Companies' button division issues a commemorative pin in his honor. The pin is based on the blazer button Waterbury Companies' made for Stewart's sportswear line.
2000 - The button business of the Waterbury Companies are purchased by OGS Technologies, Inc., which promptly readopts the name, The Waterbury Button Company.
2003 – As the United States and its allies wages its “War Against Terrorism” – OGS Technologies purchases the assets of Northeast Badge & Emblem Company and begins manufacturing badges and insignia for departments involved in Public Safety and Homeland Security.
2010 – OGS Technologies purchases the assets of Cop Shop LLC and enters the retail market of supplying Public Service personnel with accessories and equipment.
2011 – Northeast Badge & Emblem Company changes it name to National Badge & Emblem Company as it becomes a “buy direct from the manufacturer” supplier of badges on a national level.
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