The History of IDEAL® Industries

By: CableOrganizer®

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How do you start a company that will one day be known as a global leader in networking tools and electrical testers? Launch a commutator dresser company from your mother's kitchen in Chicago, Illinois, and then develop and manufacture a product that remains an Electrical Industry must-have for more than a century. At least, that’s how IDEAL® Industries founder J. Walter Becker did it back in 1916.

Eight years after he began what was then known as the IDEAL® Commutator Dresser Company of Chicago to make the machinery that repairs the commutators in the DC electric motor, Becker moved his business operations to a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in nearby Sycamore, Illinois.

Just five years after that in 1929, IDEAL® Industries forever changed the electrical industry with the introduction screw-on Wire-Nut® Wire Connectors, which to this day have saved electricians countless work hours by eliminating the time-consuming solder and tape splicing method.

Close to a century after the development of the Wire-Nut®, innovation is still a hallmark of IDEAL® Industries. Though the company was originally founded to serve the electrical industry, as technology has rapidly advanced, so has IDEAL® Industries, to the point that they're now a leading developer and manufacturer of network cable and receptacle testers, installation tools and project consumables, including fish tape, wire pulling lubricants, heat guns, wire strippers, and installer tool kits.

Did you know?

  • IDEAL® Industries got its name from the type of products and business relationships that founder J. Walter Becker wanted to build — ideal.

  • • Legendary American aviator, Commander Richard Byrd, knew of the quality IDEAL® products were recognized for, especially in harsh environments. He insisted as he explored the South Pole in 1933 his plane was equipped with IDEAL® fuse pullers.

  • • The company incorporated in 1946 to safeguard the legacy that it was founded on, with IDEAL® grounded in perpetual family-ownership and dedicated to the small community where it’s located.

  • • The Wire-Nut® became well-known by 1949, with IDEAL® identified as one of the leaders in producing wire connectors by this year.

  • • In January 1950, IDEAL® expanded its scope to produce and sell electrical components.

  • • The company remains in Sycamore today in its expanded headquarters built and dedicated to Becker’s memory in 1961 (he passed away in 1958).

  • • IDEAL® established its presence in Canada with the IDEAL® Industries Canada Corporation in 1962.

  • • The lunar landing in July 1969 carried IDEAL® products with it, the company’s wire strippers aboard Apollo 11 per special request.

  • • Then-Chairman Dave Juday, grandson of J. Walter Becker, spearheaded the IDEAL® Industries Foundation in 1985 to make a difference in the community, using Becker’s principle of “Live, let live, and help live.”

  • • The year 1990 was the start of the company’s acquisitions, with Buchanan Construction Products. Crimp-Tec followed in 1991, Shattuck Industries in 1993 (a partnership with Dragoon Industries to get into networks and datacomm operations), Anderson Power Products and WaveTek in 2001, Trend Communications in 2004, Casella Measurement, Inc. in 2006, Western Forge in 2009, PRATT-READ® and SK® Hand Tool in 2010, CMD LTD in 2017, Enatel Limited in 2018, and CREE® Lighting in 2019.

  • • In January 1992, the company started its Family Council, to maintain certain principles and make decisions, with family members in leadership positions. After more than a century in business, IDEAL® Industries is still a privately held company, and among its shareholders are fifth-generation descendants of J. Walter Becker.

  • • In 1992, the company also started selling to retailers, making products available to tradespeople and DIYers. In the same year, the company expanded its business beyond North America to the United Kingdom with IDEAL® Industries LTD.

  • • The company achieved ISO 9001 certification in May 1996.

  • • In 2002, the company continued its path to worldwide growth, with an office in Shanghai, China — then in 2003 to Sāo Paulo, Brazil.

  • • The company founded the Loyola Family Business Stewardship Institute in 2008 at Loyola University.

  • • In June 2012, IDEAL® established its presence in both India and Mexico.

  • • Its SignalTEK® II Quality was recognized in 2012 among innovations by a well-known security publication.

  • • As of 2020, Meghan Juday — the daughter of David Juday and great-granddaughter of J. Walter Becker —assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. She did so after the retirement of former CEO and Chairman Jim James. James — a non-relative — who began as CEO in 2008 and Chairman in 2014, when David Juday stepped down. Meghan Juday is a fourth-generation family leader who has been involved at the helm of the Family Council and in other family leadership roles since 2003. Steve Henn, another non-family member, has been the company’s CEO/Director since 2020.

  • IDEAL® Industries continues to remain a global, family-owned, business.

Shop at CableOrganizer® for products from IDEAL® Industries, including the Ratch-A-Nut™ Screwdriver, cable strippers, cutters, punch down tools, installation and termination kits, lockout/tagout kits, electrical testers, hole cutters, wire connectors, fish tape, wire pulling lubricants, and much more.

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