• Universal’s tool and die talents were pressed to answer New York State’s small arms manufacturers’ demands for gauges and fixtures (such as Ithaca Gun, Buffalo Arms, and General Motors) Other defense contractors such as IBM, Bendix-Scintilla, Eclipse Machine, Remington Rand, and Link Aviation required customer tooling and machining.
  • Universal adds Brewer-Titchener and Wilkinson Manufacturing of Binghamton; Morse Chain and Allen Wales. Adding Machines of Ithaca, Scintilla Magneto of Sidney, and Smith Corona Typewriter of Syracuse and Groton to customer list.
  • Personnel and machine growth requires expansion; basement quarters are leased.
  • The Great Depression continues; Universal survives by cutting costs and investing in new equipment.

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J. Donald Ahearn son of General Manager Joseph F. Ahearn, joins company as Treasurer and leads an illustrious career at the company. J.D. assumed operational responsibility for Universal Instruments and Metal Company in 1942. And began to move the company away from its wartime prominence as a tool, die, and gage manufacturer and producer of short-run sheet metal stampings. During the 1950s and 1960s, he guided the talented and skilled workforce to attain engineering breakthroughs in the fields of electronic component preparation, sequencing, and the design and manufacture of automated assembly systems for printed circuit board production. One of the last functions J.D. performed before retiring was to engineer a merger of Universal Instruments and Dover Corporation. This “corporate marriage” benefited both companies and allowed a once small metal works company to autonomously develop into one of Broome County’s most remarkable success stories.

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Above is a “Purchase Order” for an 18 x 24 Swiss Jig Borer at a cost of $3000. This significant purchase catapults Universal into a position of advanced machining competency.

Employees and new equipment filled the second floor of the refurbished Frederick St, building.


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A couple additional points in history:

    • After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, most of the decade was consumed by the Great Depression.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1933, and introduced the New Deal.
    • The 1930s saw a proliferation of new technologies, especially in the fields of intercontinental aviation, radio, and film.
    • War clouds gather in Europe and the Orient.  America agrees to lend-lease war materials for England’s defense of Europe.
    • IBM awarded Social Security punch-card contract to catalog nation’s workers, recipients, and the input and outgo of funds; triples Company’s business.
    • S. Army Air Force orders six of Link’s trainers; Link expands facility in Hillcrest.