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Universal Button Fastening and Button Company

The Universal Button Company began as McKenney Button Fastening Company, on November 27, 1895. For sixty years, its operation took place in the city of Detroit. In 1955, the company would move to Kentucky. The company still exists today and employs more than 400 people.

Universal Fasteners was founded by John M. Longyear. It's success is said to be a result of entrepreneurships, enterprise, ingenuity and tenacity. Longyear, after making acquaintance of inventor Franklin S. McKenney, in the 1880s, agreed to finance McKenney's creation. Longyear sent McKenney to Waterbury, Connecticut, to work with skilled machine engineers. While doing so he spent years trying to make his ideas come to life. Finally, in 1894, Mckenney's optimism and patience rewarded him with new manufacturing equipment and products which would revolutionize the shoe button business and would unbeknowingly lay the ground work for Universal's products for the next 100 years.

McKenney's patent, entitled, Fastening for Buttons or Other Purposes, received its US Patent 565388 in August of 1896. The patent features a two-prong tack for attaching buttons. Though one can not see the full function of the prongs, the backs of many rivet buttons show the scroll "C" of the head of the two-prong tack. Mckenny's patent eliminated the need to sew on or prepunch the leather to attach shoe buttons.

Resources, "Universal Fasteners INC, The First 100 Years 1895-1995", by Jack Hawes, Halbleib/Beggs, Inc, and Butler Book Publishing, copyright 1995.


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