During the mid and late 70s, Adezy produced belt buckles in Denver, Colorado in both retail and custom designs. Many of the buckles were sold as souvenir items in tourist/visitor destinations in Colorado, so many of the buckles you find today will feature the names of ski resorts and small towns in the Colorado Rockies. The buckles were usually plated with brass but some had a silver-tone finish (likely chrome or nickel).
Suspected Affiliate Companies: C.D.C Metalworks, Talcon Int'l Ind, Donahue Enterprises, Ultra Entertainment Inc, Spec-Cast, PPI, Chad Mfg
For more information on Adezy and it's relationship to other companies like C.D.C Metalworks, read my blog post
Produced solid brass belt buckles starting in the late 70s or early 80s. Artist Donovan Kindle is responsible for much of the artwork featuring wildlife. The company had some association with the Tech Ether Guild, producing a few buckle designs that included the name of both companies, including one that featured the TEG company logo.
Some buckles are marked AD Johnson, and was apparently the same company as evidenced by the info card included with the original packaging.
Buckles were originally sold with a velvet bag and metal foil tag. Inside the bag was a jewelry cloth and information card (pictured below).
ANACORTES BRASS WORKS
Status: Active (as Northwest Brass Works)
Anacortes Brass Works was founded in 1970 by Glen Veal and Kit Marcinko while they were living on Guemes Island, WA. The foundry was located in Anacortes, WA. The buckles were cast in solid brass and were among the highest quality buckles produced in the 70s and 80s. Many of the earliest designs were nature-inspired and featured artwork with whales, coastal birds, and other wildlife. The company also produced many custom corporate designs for companies in construction, oil & gas, and other industries. Collectors will commonly encounter buckles that commemorate the completion of construction projects, safety awards, and other corporate achievements. The foundry was also strategically located to produce buckles during Alaska's oil boom in the early 80s associated with the Trans-Alaska pipeline. The "Buckles of Alaska" series was popular with business owners who offered souvenirs to visitors, and the designs featured Native Alaskan totem-style artwork, dog sledding, and gold prospecting.
For more information and history, read by blog post about the foundry.
Info card packaging that was included with Anacortes Brass Works belt Buckles
AWARD DESIGN MEDALS
Award Design Medals was founded by owner Wendell Hamilton and artist Bob Henderson in 1972. The company used the lost wax casting method to produce intricate and high quality solid brass belt buckles. They also offered limited production of buckles in solid sterling silver or brass plated in silver or gold. Many of the company's designs were inspired by the
American frontier and featured figures and events from the wild west including cowboys, outlaws, historical firearms, and cattle and horse breeds. The company found success in creating limited edition series of belt buckles that were marketed to collectors in the 1980s through the Buckle Buddies magazine. Award Design Medals produced the Tony Lama commemorative series of belt buckles for each US State which gained notoriety after the State of North Dakota prevented them from using their state seal on the belt buckle. They were also actively involved in the production and release of buckles in the Hesston NFR annual belt buckle release for several years.
For more information and history, read by blog post about the foundry.
Original packaging with an Award Design Medals belt buckle.
BBB BARON BRASS BUCKLES
Baron Brass Buckles distributed buckles from California but the manufacturer was in Taiwan. The bottom photograph shows a certificate from the company with an address in Los Angeles. Buckles were packaged and sold in small bags printed with the diamond "BBB" logo.
Baron buckle produced mostly retail designs including a large series of first and last names. They were active during the 1970s and 1980s, but there are some modern reproductions of some of their designs popping up today from sellers on Ebay. I'm not sure if the company is still around or the buckle molds are being used by someone new in Taiwan.
Suspected affiliate companies NAP, Aminco, Heritage Buckles, Waisted Belts
Factory packaging plastic bag
1980s belt buckle registration certificate
BERGAMOT BRASS WORKS
Bergamot Brass Works is an active manufacturer in Delavan, Wisconsin. More information available on the company's website (linked below).
It was the first commercial maker of modern belt buckles to enter the market in the early 70s. Most of their early buckles featured a brass or pewter plating over a base metal. They produced numerous retail designs in addition to corporate orders. Bergamot brass works also produced buckles for wholesale distributors including Siskiyou Buckle Co. and Arroyo Grande Buckle Co.
BTS (BASIC TOOL SUPPLY)
BTS was a manufacturer of solid brass and german silver buckles founded in 1974. The company started out producing leather crafting tools which is the origin of the company's name. They quickly transitioned to making buckles and operated under the acronym BTS.
BTS also produced belt buckle "blanks" that were marketed to artists and used to create one of a kind buckles. They were often filled in with exotic hardwoods, stone inlay, resins, and carvings. They also collaborated with Steven L. Knight to produce a series of wildlife themed buckles.
The company was located in California and in later years (80s to early 90s) made buckles under the names Sunset Brass and Diablo Valley Associates. They also produced buckles for government agencies and police departments under the name The Buckle Works. The photos below show examples of the markings on several buckles.
View more BTS buckles in my collection in the Photo Gallery.
These photos show the info cards that were included in the sealed bags with new buckles. Left side shows the TBW card and the right is the standard card with BTS marked buckles.
Some BTS buckles were packaged in boxes like this one, which shows off the company logo. The back has information about early historical uses of brass.
Location: Provo, Utah
Dynabuckle is a maker of solid brass belt buckles. The status of the company is unknown and is suspected to be in operation today. They produce mostly corporate designs, especially for the construction, heavy equipment, and agriculture industries.
GREAT AMERICAN PRODUCTS (FORMERLY MM LIMITED)
Great American Products was founded in the early 70s by Ben Heck, Ron McZinski, and Roger Tuttle in Chigaco, Illinois. Roger Tuttle is the current CEO and the company is now located in Texas. More information is available on the company's website (linked below).
Operating under the original name, MM Limited, the company produced motorcycle themed buckles in the early 70s and later developed numerous retail and corporate designs plated with either nickel or brass. It acquired the Lewis Buckle Company in the early 80s and was an active producer of belt buckles throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Today the company continues to manufacture lead-free pewter buckles in addition to numerous other products.
See more photographs of MM Limited buckles in the Photo Gallery.
LEWIS BUCKLE CO., INC.
Location: Chicago, IL
The Lewis Buckle Co. was an early commercial manufacturer of modern bar-and-pin belt buckles in the United States. They began by producing reproductions of the Tiffany style buckles from the late 60s and early 70s, but quickly developed their own designs and business strategy. The buckles were plated with either brass or pewter over a dense alloy (likely pewter) with high relief designs in a variety of styles including hippie culture, Americana, the old west, consumer product brands, and custom corporate designs. Like many other buckle makers, they designed and produced a buckle series with original artwork that commemorated statehood for each of the U.S. states. Production under the Lewis name ceased when the company was acquired by rival belt buckle manufacturer, Great American Products, in the early 1980s.
Learn more by reading my blog post on Lewis Buckle Co.
The Delaware belt buckle from Lewis' Series 400 U.S. states buckle collection
Front cover page of a Lewis Buckle Co., Inc. sales catalog, ca. 1975