Makers of Premium Stamped Metal Brass Buttons since 1812
Since 1812, we’ve crafted the world’s most popular metal buttons. When Gen. Ulysses S. Grant met Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, both men wore Waterbury buttons on their chests. Today we make buttons for the fashion industry, professional golf and its’ associations and every branch of the U.S. armed forces.
Nearly 200 Years of History
Founded in wartime in the early 19th century,
The Waterbury Button Company has been making stamped metal buttons for nearly
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.
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
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.
19201s - 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
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.
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
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
Help us write the next chapter. Contact us or call us at 1-800-928-1812.