Our History

Discover IDEAL through the years

January

1916

From the Beginning

J. Walter Becker started the IDEAL Commutator Dresser Company of Chicago from his mother's kitchen with the belief that every product should be worth more than its price. Service, he said, is part of the product.

April

1924

IDEAL relocates to Sycamore

IDEAL INDUSTRIES moved its headquarters from Chicago to Sycamore, IL where it remains to this day. J. Walter Becker made the move because he believed in the importance of building relationships and community and thought a small town provided a better environment for the company to realize its vision.

March

1929

Introducing Wire Connectors

IDEAL INDUSTRIES introduced its first wire connectors, which would go on to become a cornerstone of the IDEAL INDUSTRIES product line. These connectors were some of the first products IDEAL ever produced for the electrical industry and they represented significant advances in safety, reliability and ease of installation.

January

1930

Ideal Issues Idealines

IDEAL INDUSTRIES distributed its first issues of Idealines. The newsletter was introduced by J. Walter Becker to keep every IDEAL employee informed about corporation-wide happenings and accomplishments.

January

1933

Commander Byrd Requests Ideal

Knowing IDEAL’s reputation for quality and durability in the world’s harshest environments, Commander Richard Byrd, an American aviator and arctic explorer, requested IDEAL INDUSTRIES fuse pullers for his expedition to the South Pole.

January

1946

IDEAL BECOMES A CORPORATION

IDEAL INDUSTRIES became a corporation. This event ensured that IDEAL would continue to carry on after J. Walter Becker concluded his ownership and management of IDEAL. It was a legacy intended to be left for the Family and community of Sycamore.

January

1949

IDEAL Leads U.S. Wire Connector Production

IDEAL INDUSTRIES became the leading producer of wire connectors, making the Wire-Nut® a widely recognized trademark.

January

1950

EXPANDING BEYOND INDUSTRIAL

IDEAL expanded its core focus beyond Industrial Motor Maintenance and included the manufacturing and distribution of Electrical components.

March

1961

IDEAL BUILDS A NEW HOME

IDEAL began construction a new office complex in Sycamore, IL, which was dedicated to J. Walter Becker. The new headquarters has continued to be the heart and home of IDEAL INDUSTRIES to this day.

November

1962

MOVING OUTSIDE THE U.S.

The IDEAL INDUSTRIES Canada Corporation was established to bring IDEAL even closer to the Canadian communities it served.

July

1969

IDEAL Goes to the Moon

IDEAL INDUSTRIES contributed components used in the lunar landing module and made the journey to the moon. IDEAL wire strippers were specifically requested for the mission because of their reputation for quality and precision, even in the most extreme environments.

January

1970

IDEAL FOCUSES ON ELECTRICAL

IDEAL began to focus on being the expert manufacturer that electrical tradesmen could count on. Every new industry expansion since has given IDEAL the opportunity to take what was learned during this time and apply it to new fields.

February

1984

TRANSITIONING TO THE NEXT GENERATION

Tug Juday made way for his son, Dave Juday, who went on to lead the company as IDEAL’s Chairman for the next 30 years.

July

1990

IDEAL ACQUIRES BUCHANAN

IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired Buchanan Construction Products, a manufacturer of connectors, terminals, relays, industrial controls and more.

June

1991

IDEAL ACQUIRES CRIMP-TEC

IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired Crimp-Tec to broaden IDEAL’s value to the tradesmen they serve.

January

1992

Creating the Family Council

IDEAL established the Family Council as a key governing force for handling management and leadership succession decisions within the company. The council has always operated on a consensus basis, with all decisions being made for the well-being of IDEAL’s employees, customers, the surrounding community and the overall good of the company. Since its inception, the council has brought an energized focus on stewardship and responsibility to IDEAL that lives on to this day.

July

1992

EXPANDING THE IDEAL OFFERING TO RETAIL

Striving to be where tradesmen need them most, the first IDEAL retail order was received. This opened new channels to DIY consumers and brought a whole new level of access to individual professionals everywhere.

September

1992

IDEAL REACHES OVERSEAS

IDEAL INDUSTRIES expanded into global operations with IDEAL INDUSTRIES (UK) LTD., marking the first time IDEAL had broadened its reach to tradesmen beyond North America.

June

1993

CONNECTING NETWORKS

IDEAL INDUSTRIES partnered with Dragoon Industries and acquired Shattuck Industries, creating its internal Datacomm division known as IDEAL Networks.

May

1996

PURSUING EXCELLENCE IN QUALITY

IDEAL INDUSTRIES received ISO 9001 certification for quality management, validating its pursuit of excellence in every aspect of the business, from service to the manufacturing details of every durable, reliable tool.

January

1999

RECOGNIZING THE FAMILY COUNCIL

After establishing itself as an expert in cultivating a business culture of family stewardship across multiple generations, the IDEAL Family Council was recognized for its landmark successes when Edwin and Colette Hoover featured them in Getting Along In Family Business.

March

2001

IDEAL ACQUIRES ANDERSON POWER PRODUCTS

Further solidifying its position as a trusted leader in OEM applications across multiple industries, IDEAL acquired Anderson Power Products, a 120-year-old industry leader in high-power interconnect products.

June

2001

IDEAL ACQUIRES WAVETEK

Enhancing its value to tradesmen in the data network industry, IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired WaveTek network certifiers to broaden its line of Datacomm tools and testers.

September

2002

Expanding across the globe

IDEAL INDUSTRIES expanded to Asia and South America with new offices in Shanghai, China in 2002 followed by São Paulo, Brazil in 2003.

March

2004

IDEAL ACQUIRES TREND COMMUNICATIONS

To further strengthen the breadth of IDEAL Networks, IDEAL acquired Trend Communications, a supplier of telephone test and measurement tools for the global communications market.

April

2006

IDEAL ACQUIRES CASELLA

In a move to not only serve, but also monitor worksites and protect workers in the field, IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired Casella Measurement, Inc., a leader in monitoring and measurement technologies.

January

2008

CREATING THE LOYOLA FAMILY BUSINESS INSTITUTE

In an effort to better serve family businesses and the community, IDEAL established the Loyola Family Business Stewardship Institute at Loyola University in Chicago to educate and support businesses looking to embrace long-term systems of family management.

December

2009

IDEAL ACQUIRES WESTERN FORGE

IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired Western Forge, a respected manufacturer of premier consumer hand tools, based in Colorado Springs. Western Forge began what would become a full line of American-made hand tools. The acquisition was the first of three executed by IDEAL to establish a comprehensive tool platform.

March

2010

IDEAL Acquires Pratt-Read

In a move to add to its already comprehensive line of American-made tools, IDEAL INDUSTRIES acquired Pratt-Read, a titan of screwdriver production and one of the oldest companies in America. Pratt-Read was the second of three acquisitions for the IDEAL hand tool platform.

August

2010

IDEAL ACQUIRES SK HAND TOOL

IDEAL INDUSTRIES made its line of American-made hand tools even more comprehensive with its acquisition of SK Hand Tool, a legendary manufacturer of mechanic tools. SK was the third addition of the decade for the IDEAL hand tool platform.

June

2012

EXPANDING INTO NEW MARKETS

IDEAL INDUSTRIES expanded to Mexico and India to continue producing and providing the highest quality products for tradesmen wherever they are.

December

2012

EARNING A TOP-THIRTY TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

The IDEAL Networks SignalTEK® II Qualifier was named one of the Top Thirty Technology Innovations of 2012 by Security Sales & Integration magazine, further validating IDEAL’s efforts to provide innovative solutions for tradesmen in every industry it touches.

February

2014

PRESERVING FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

After a long run as the IDEAL Chairman, Dave Juday retired, handing over leadership responsibilities to IDEAL’s current Chairman and CEO, Jim James.