The Huntley Farmside
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Local entertainment— see inside Senior Scene — see inside 25 cents Thursday, April 23,1998 The MimtiieY Farmside ^„^ A Press Publications newspaper ar serving the Huntley community Volume 37 Issue 54 Union Special has market sewn up Huntley's largest employer to celebrate its 50th year with an open house Steve Brosinski Press Publications If you wear blue jeans, a knit shirt, or just about any kind of garment, there is a good chance it was sewn on a machine made right here in Huntley. For half-a-century. Union Special has produced industrial sewing machines locally that are exported around the world. Founded in 1881, Union Special owes much of its suc¬ cess to a commitment to quality and the development of a stitch that was first used to sew up buriap bags, marketing manager Larry D.Crisler said. Invented in the 19th century, the "chainstitch", a multiple- thread stitch, gained popularity in the apparel industry over the common "lockstitch" because of its flexibility and strength. Although the Singer Company was once a fierce competitor. Union Special is now the only U.S. company that makes industrial sewing machines. Juki Corp., which is headquartered in Japan, pur¬ chased the family-owned busi¬ ness and a second plant in North Carolina in 1986. "All the big name companies - Levi, Wrangler, Lee, Guess - use our machines all over the world," Crisler said. "We are very strong in machines used for knitted apparel, such as men's briefs, dance costumes, athletic wear and bathing suits." Union Special', located at One Union Special Plaza, employees 500 people and is" Huntley's largest employer. Housed inside the 418,000-square-foot plant are a foundry with 16 fumaces. Photo by Steve Brosinski Sewing machine adjuster Mary Peters makes final adjustments to a machine, prior to it being shipped. a warehouse and six production lines, where 60 to 70 machines are assembled daily. To celebrate Union Special's 50th year in town, residents are invited to attend an open house from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3. Visitors will be able to tour the factory and get a fu-sthand look at a production line. Assembly workers carefully install mechanisms and a cam shaft inside an iron casting, before testing and adjusting each machine. A team of work^ ers can assemble a 90-pound sewing machine in four to seven hours, depending on the design, assembly foreman Tim Diedrick said. These are not your typical sewing machine used to mend a patch or hem a dress. Though most cost between $4,000 to $5,000, automated ones can cost as much as $90,000. Working at high speeds, industrial machines are powered by half-horsepower motors and cooled with internal fans. "Running at 9,000 RPM you have to keep these rascals cool," Crisler says. And built to breeze through 16-layered denim, eight hours a day, five days a week, these triple-needled workhorses must satisfy the demands of garment workers, leadperson Mary Loomis said. "It's got to be perfect, or I'm not happy," Loomis said. Crisler adds, "Union Special machines last a long time. A properly maintained machine has a service life of 20-30 years, with some lasting 70 years." Residents want pledge drive for street repair Photo by Steve Brosinsid Woodstock Street, north of Second Street, is in need of repair. Officials are concerned about the high cost of rebricking the street, but residents want to keep the old fashioned appearance. Steve Brosinski Press Publications Residents living on Woodstock Street are hoping their efforts to restore the old- fashioned street to its former glory are successful. Everyone agrees that the 85-year-old clay-brick paved street needs work, but village officials and residents can't agree on how to fix the street. Village officials have said it might cost $400,000 to re- brick the entire street, while laying down asphalt would cost the village about one- quarter that amount. But Betty Conley, a his¬ toric preservationist, is hop¬ ing the neighborhood can find a way to keep the street from being paved with asphalt. One solution, according to several residents, is to do the job inexpensively and get businesses involved. "We are really trying to keep costs down. We really want the street put back the way it used to be," Conley said. Residents have offered to set up a pledge drive at the Harris State Bank of Huntley where businesses could donate funds. The group must first present the plan to the Village Board for their approval. Conley said they are sched¬ uled to appear at the May 7 board meeting. Conley also believes there is a possibility the street can be rebuilt for less cost than the $400,000 estimate. So far, the village has not decided how to tackle the battered roadway. The village uses the state Motor Fuel Tax to repair asphalt streets in town, but may have to require a special assessment to rebuild Woodstock with brick. Although the residents who were surveyed nearly unanimously supported re- bricking Woodstock, they don't want to pay a special assessment, Conley said. But despite her uphill bat¬ tle, Conley said she is hoping her efforts to save the street will payoff. "Woodstock Street was the main drag to Woodstock, many years ago. If you take the bricks away, you take away a part of Huntley's past," she said.
|Title||The Huntley Farmside|
|Creator||The Huntley Farmside|
|Coverage||Huntley, Illinois, United States|
|Description||Weekly Newspaper from the Huntley Area Public Library Collection|
|Rights||This material may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).|
|Publisher||This Collection was digitized and loaded into CONTENTdm by OCLC Preservation Service Center (Bethlehem, PA) for the Huntley Area Public Library.|
|Source||Reproduction of library's print newspaper archives|