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IDEAL: A History

May 14, 2012

 The founder of Ideal is the legendary businessman J. Walter Becker. Walter J Becker was born on August 18, in the year 1885. He came from a family of 6 children, all of which were sons. His parents were German Immigrants who came to America to offer a better life and future for their children and future posterity. J Walter Becker was a hard worker at a very young age, in a time when the average man did not finish school, he went on and not only finished school, but also graduated from college. Whether his parents realized it or not J Becker was destined for a future in an extremely successful business, which would be entirely his own creation. Always on the look out for a product that needed to be developed as well as having an ample amount of talent and brilliance, J. Walker Becker began his company Ideal from the rent-free space of his mother’s kitchen in 1916. Seeing a niche in the market needing to be filled, he began to manufacture commutator dresser stones. Commutator dresser stones are used to dramatically reduce the time required for maintaining electric motors, these commutator dresser stones ended up being used in almost every motor in the world. What J. Walter Becker had developed had become an essential part of motors for society around the world; he had become one of the most famous innovators worldwide. Almost a year later Becker decided to form his business and share part of it with his brother Lou Becher, as his partner. The company was dubbed Ideal Commutator Dresser Company, Lou Becher was given the financial responsibilities, and Walter Becker focused on the continued development of the business.

With the commencement of his business success, Becker put his ideologies to the test as he gave this promise to his clients ”An IDEAL product will provide a value greater than the price paid for it. Service is a part of the product.” Becker built his product guarantee on the foundation of this principal to represent his complete sincere approach to customer commitment as he believed service was apart of his products value. Walter Becker was noted to be a great salesman and truly believed in the delivery of the sale to the customers. Almost eight years later in 1924, Walter found the perfect place to grow and nourish his thriving business in Sycamore, Illinois, here he found an ideal small town to create and develop his personal vision for the company to cultivate the American dream of success. The great depression was on the brink of collapsing many businesses at the time and Ideal was grasping at a way to make their company to become distinct as well as diverse for their customer base. Ever the salesman and entrepreneur J. Walter quickly moved his company into an area that could withstand the future economic swings and tried new marketing techniques including a newly created direct sales force, direct mail print advertising, and improved customer service as well with agent salesmen. 1931 brought with it Ideals very first patent for “screw on wire connectors” finally giving the brothers the solid foundation to build Ideals future upon.

The IDEAL Wire-Nut Wire Connector was relevant for the unique ability of this device to wholly eliminate the old dated and antiquated solder and tape method of wire connection, this innovation forever changed the electric industry and the entire technique of how electricians accomplished their work. As the depression ended and the war years began in 1940 – 1945, Ideal found itself another new product to produce during the war effort, batteries. Ideal produced rechargeable flashlight batteries; all of which were then sold directly to the U.S. military. In addition there was also a real need for batteries in the States, leading to the development of the wet cell battery. J. Walter Becker lived by his own philosophy throughout his life, he believed a “a good deal was a deal that would be good for both parties.” With this ideology by his side, innovative marketing, and groundbreaking inventions, J. Walker Becker made Ideal one of the key players in today’s electrical industry. J. Walter Becker passed away on February 1, 1961; he is remembered as a great American salesman and a man who left behind a true legacy of customer service.






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