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Type Subsidiary of Ideal Industries
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1798 in Ivoryton, Connecticut
Headquarters Sycamore, Illinois
Products Hand tools
Employees 140[1]

Pratt-Read is an American manufacturing company based in Shelton, Connecticut, that produces screwdrivers. It is a subsidiary of Ideal Industries. It is one of the oldest companies in the United States, having been founded in 1798.[2]


  • History 1
  • Gallery 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5


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 and will continue domestic US production under the name Pratt-Read Tools, LLC.[8]



  1. ^ Palank, Jacqueline (2009-03-30). "Connecticut’s Second-Oldest Company Fights To Survive".  
  2. ^ "Pratt-Read Corporation: Private Company Information".  
  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.".  
  5. ^ Pratt-Read. "Pratt-Read History". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  6. ^ General Capital Partners. "Investment / Acquisition Opportunity". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  7. ^ Dawkins, Pam. "Pratt-Read files Chapter 11: Shelton screwdriver maker continues to operate".  
  8. ^ "IDEAL Acquires Tool Manufacturer Pratt-Read" (Press release). Ideal Industries. 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 

See also

External links

  • Pratt-Read web site
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