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Entries : Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Illinois Tool Works Inc.

Illinois Tool Works Inc.

In 1912, Byron L. Smith, along with his sons and several veterans of the tool-and-die industry from Rockford, Illinois, started a small company at Huron and Franklin Streets in Chicago. After Byron Smith died, in 1914, his son Harold guided the firm, which specialized at first in the production of metal-cutting tools. During the 1920s, the company became a leading producer of metal fasteners. By the mid-1930s, Illinois Tool had about 500 workers in Chicago. After World War II, the company began to make plastic fasteners. Annual sales rose from about $30 million in 1960 to nearly $300 million by the mid-1970s, when the company had about 3,000 workers in the Chicago area. During the 1980s, under the leadership of John Nichols, Illinois Tool doubled in size by buying other companies, including Signode, another old Chicago-based fastener company. At the end of the 1990s, Illinois Tool bought Premark, a Chicago-area company that made kitchen appliances and plastics. By that time, Illinois Tool grossed over $9 billion in annual sales and employed nearly 5,000 people in the Chicago area, which the company still called home.