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Company typeSubsidiary
FounderRobert Greenlee
Ralph Greenlee
United States
ParentEmerson Electric

Greenlee is an American industrial and electrical tool company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. It was founded in 1862 by twin brothers Robert L. and Ralph S. Greenlee to manufacture their invention, a drill surrounded by four chisel blades, used in making the pockets for a mortise and tenon joint, for the furniture industry in Rockford.[1] This device is still used in cabinetmaking. The brothers later diversified into a variety of hand woodworking tools as well as machinery for making wooden barrels.

Boxes showing Greenlee package design during ownership by Ex-Cell-O Corporation and later Textron

The company was acquired by Detroit-based Ex-Cell-O Corporation in 1969.[1] Industrial conglomerate Textron acquired Greenlee as part of its acquisition of Ex-Cell-O and its subsidiaries in 1986.[2] Greenlee purchased Fairmont Hydraulics in 1992 and German tool manufacturer Klauke in 1996. Greenlee expanded into data/telecommunications equipment with the acquisition of several companies in 1999 and 2000 which now fall under the Greenlee Communications brand. Greenlee expanded its DIY offering with the addition of Paladin Tools on December 17, 2007. In 2008, Greenlee acquired Utilux.[3][4] In 2013, Sherman + Reilly, and HD Electric joined the Greenlee family of Utility brands. The Greenlee brothers were inspired into industrial work by their father who was a cooper. Their contributions to the railroad industry included an automatic tie and track laying and drilling machine that rolled right along behind on the track it had just laid.

On April 18, 2018, Textron announced that it planned to sell its Greenlee brand to Emerson within 90 days.[5] Greenlee is listed as a subsidiary and/or affiliate of Emerson Electric Co. as of September 30, 2019.[6]




  1. ^ a b Johnson, Eric A. (2003). Rockford: 1900–World War I. Arcadia Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 0-7385-2341-0.
  2. ^ Schmitt, Eric (August 19, 1986). "Textron Acquiring Ex-Cell-O". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2023.
  3. ^ "Textron's Greenlee Completes Acquisition of Utilux". Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  4. ^ "Textron's Greenlee Completes Acquisition of Utilux". 2008-07-08. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  5. ^ "Textron to sell its tool business to Ferguson-based Emerson". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  6. ^ "United States Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K".
  7. ^