Ideal Industries

Ideal Industries is an American company that produces connectors, hand tools, testers, and meters for the electrical and telecommunications industries.[1]

Privately owned
Founded1916 in Chicago, Illinois
FounderJ. Walter Becker
HeadquartersSycamore, Illinois
Key people
ProductsConnectors, hand tools, testers, meters

The company manufactures many of its products in the United States.[2] It also owns Western Forge and Pratt-Read, the largest– and second-largest American-made producers of screwdrivers respectively at the time of their acquisitions.[3]

It is a competitor to Klein Tools, and its tools are sold at Lowe's and Ace Hardware stores as well as many independent distributors.[4]


Ideal was founded in 1916 by J. Walter Becker as the Ideal Commutator Dresser Company in Chicago, Illinois, manufacturing commutator dresser stones.[5] In 1924, Becker relocated the company to its current location in Sycamore, Illinois.[6] By 1949, it had become the United States' leading producer of wire nuts.[7]

In 2010, Ideal acquired three American hand tool manufacturers: Western Forge in January,[8][9] Pratt-Read in March,[10][11] and SK Hand Tools in August.[12][13][14]

IDEAL Subsidiaries

IDEAL - NIU Intrapreneurship Program

In partnership with Northern Illinois University, IDEAL created a start-up incubator space adjacent to a manufacturing facility. The incubator houses several aspiring start-up teams initially composed of NIU students who have 24-hour access to the facility. Upon the students' graduation, they can obtain a full-time position within the company. Each team has a multi-disciplined background and has access to corporate IDEAL's resources while remaining independent enough to foster creative thinking. The program began to take shape in 2016 with two teams and has now grown to four units as of summer 2018. Each team is given an initial problem statement that will be researched and developed into a product or service which will then grow into a new business unit for the company.


  1. Ideal Industries. "About Us". Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  2. McCrea, Bridget (2012-10-24). "Tapping into the power of Made in the USA". The Electrical Distributor Magazine. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  3. Varnon, Rob (2010-06-25). "Workers hope for aid in closing". The Advocate. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. Murphy, H. Lee (1996-07-08). "Pliers Poker". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  5. Ideal Industries. "Company History". Retrieved 2010-03-26.
  6. Ideal Industries. "Recruiting brochure" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  7. "Wire Nuts for Radio City". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. December 1949. p. 36.
  8. Heilman, Wayne (2010-01-04). "Western Forge to be sold to Ideal Industries". The Gazette. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  9. Heilman, Wayne (2010-01-05). "New owners to pump millions into Western Forge". The Gazette. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  10. "IDEAL Acquires Tool Manufacturer Pratt-Read" (Press release). Ideal Industries. 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
  11. "Ideal Industries Acquires Pratt-Read to Add Hand-Tool Lines and Made-in-U.S. Capacity". Electrical Marketing. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  12. Yue, Lorene (2010-08-23). "SK Hand Tool assets sold to Ideal Industries". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  13. "IDEAL Acquires Premier Tool Manufacturer SK Hand Tools" (Press release). Ideal Industries. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  14. Deutsch, Stuart (2010-08-23). "It's Official – Ideal Industries Purchases SK Hand Tools!". ToolGuyd. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
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