The history of IDEAL INDUSTRIES founded by J. Walter Becker in 1916 and headquartered in Sycamore, Illinois, US

March 2019 IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. announced the acquisition of Cree Commercial Lighting and Intelligent Lighting Control System. With this acquisition IDEAL has solidified their electrical strategy and commitment to the promise that founder, J. Walter Becker, made in 1916: “An IDEAL product will provide a value greater than the price paid for it. Service is part of the product”.

IDEAL is a family-owned American, 103-year-old professionally managed company with deep ties to the electrical industry. IDEAL has a long history of successful innovation and acquisitions and operates from a long-term, generational perspective under four generations of family ownership.

A bit of history:

In the early 1900’s the electric motor was revolutionising industry by allowing electrical power to be converted into mechanical power and put to work in factories. Mass production was also in its infancy.

From the beginning IDEAL had the mission of making customer’s lives and work easier. Our founder, J. Walter Becker, started IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. in 1916 after he developed an abrasive stone used in the maintenance of early motors, without taking them out of service.

J. Walter quickly outgrew his first development lab, his mother’s kitchen, and moved to a manufacturing facility in Chicago. In 1924, along with his brother Lou, he moved his manufacturing operation to a small town with what he felt would be a better environment for his family and employees: Sycamore, Illinois, 90 miles west of Chicago.

Throughout the next decades IDEAL prospered. IDEAL has a long history of product development coupled with acquisition practices that continue today. Over time, many new internally developed products have been added to serve not only industrial markets but also commercial and residential electrical and data communication contractors. IDEAL has a leading position in the development and supply of high precision wire stripping machines and tools for the Aerospace and Aviation Industry.

International expansion

The first international relationships go back to the 1920’s when an originally European developed product, the “Jasper” wire connection was licensed and supplied by IDEAL in North America. It was the first step of what is now a cornerstone product of IDEAL, our screw-on wire connectors, known as Wire-Nut®’s.

IDEAL has served the international markets through selected representatives and distributors since the 1960’s but the earlier product offering was in very narrow niches of motor repair and aerospace. As a part of the efforts to expand internationally, the first company owned international location outside North America was opened in Warrington, United Kingdom in 1992. 

European presence:

The UK business started out selling the unique precision wire processing tools for the Military and Aerospace industries as well as electrical test and measurement products for electrical contractors. 

The business grew rapidly across EMEA due to products like Custom StripMaster®, the only precision wire processing tool of its time and Yellow 77 wire pulling lubricant.

In 2001 IDEAL acquired Anderson Power Products, a 120-year-old industry leader in high-power interconnect products and as part of the long term plans for Europe the decision was taken in 2008 to move the distribution and customer service for Anderson Power Products from Ireland to new and larger premises in Warrington.

As part of the network acquisitions strategy IDEAL had also acquired the Wavetek LAN Cable Certifier Business in 2001 and The Trend Test Equipment division of Telemetrix in 2004. The acquisition of these divisions led to a merger in 2010 where the network divisions and electrical division became one entity. However in 2018 it had become apparent that it was necessary to divest the networks division to in order to solidify the commitment to the Electrical business that had always been the main strategy for IDEAL. 

IDEAL INDUSTRIES EMEA continues to support our selected distributors and customers through our sales and technical support office in Warrington with products shipped across EMEA. To best serve our customers we focus on ensuring new products are application focused, easy to use and affordable as well as providing quality support and service honouring the principle of J. Walter Becker.