Company typeSubsidiary of Ideal Industries
Founded1798 in Ivoryton, Connecticut
HeadquartersSycamore, Illinois
ProductsHand tools
Number of employees

Pratt-Read is an American manufacturing company based in Sycamore, Illinois, that produces screwdrivers. It is a subsidiary of Ideal Industries. Founded in 1798,[2] it is one of the oldest companies in the United States.


Pratt-Read was founded in Ivoryton, Connecticut, in 1798 as Pratt, Read & Company, originally producing beads, buttons, and billiard balls from elephant tusks imported from Africa.[3] The company began to specialize in manufacturing ivory piano keys in 1839[4] and eventually piano action mechanisms.

The company made its first screwdrivers in 1834 but stopped in 1840, instead selling the handles and blades to smaller companies made at the Pratt, Read and Company Factory Complex. During World War II, the company continued producing screwdriver blades and suspended production of piano parts to manufacture Waco CG-4 gliders for the military.[5] The company built 956 of the fabric-covered wood and steel airframes.

Piano part production continued after the war, but the company gradually shifted its focus to manufacturing screwdrivers, and in the late 1980s, ended its piano parts business, closing a facility in Central, South Carolina, and began to focus on screwdrivers exclusively. Pratt-Read manufactures its own handles, blades, and—after a 2005 acquisition of Wisconsin-based American Industrial Manufacturers—bits, all in the U.S., which it sells directly to users under its own name, as well as to manufacturers such as Stanley, Snap-on, Danaher, and Klein.[6]

In 2009, Pratt-Read filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[7]

On March 22, 2010, Ideal Industries announced the acquisition of Pratt-Read from bankruptcy.[8] Ideal acquired the Pratt-Read name and equipment and continued production out of existing Ideal facilities, as the Pratt-Read facility in Shelton, Connecticut had already ended operations.[9]


See also


  1. ^ Palank, Jacqueline (2009-03-30). "Connecticut's Second-Oldest Company Fights To Survive". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  2. ^ "Pratt-Read Corporation: Private Company Information". Business Week. Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  3. ^ Malcarne, Donald L.; Milkofsky, Brenda. "Ivory Cutting: The Rise and Decline of a Connecticut Industry". Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. ^ Lomuscio, James (2004-03-05). "HAVENS; Weekender: Deep River, Conn". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  5. ^ Pratt-Read. "Pratt-Read History". Archived from the original on 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  6. ^ General Capital Partners. "Investment / Acquisition Opportunity" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  7. ^ Dawkins, Pam. "Pratt-Read files Chapter 11: Shelton screwdriver maker continues to operate". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  8. ^ "IDEAL Acquires Tool Manufacturer Pratt-Read" (Press release). Ideal Industries. 2010-03-22. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
  9. ^ Varnon, Rob (2010-06-25). "Workers hope for aid in closing". The Advocate. Retrieved 2014-12-24.