In 1912, Chicago financier Byron Smith placed an ad in the Economist looking to provide capital to a “high class business (manufacturing preferred) in or near Chicago.” He turned down several initial offers, waiting for the right proposal. When a group of inventors with an idea to improve gear grinding came along, Illinois Tool Works was born. From these humble beginnings, the company endured the uncertainties of war and recessions, expanded into businesses across the globe, and transformed entire industries through simple yet ingenious solutions.
The ability to invent, envision, and create something new is central to ITW’s longevity and profitable growth. Our innovation is “80/20 enabled,” meaning that we draw deep insights from our key customer relationships, and then focus our efforts on designing and patenting new products and components that solve their specific challenges. Encouraging new ideas—whether they come from engineers, chemists, or other members of the ITW team—and providing a supportive, entrepreneurial framework, has produced ITW’s strong culture of sustainable differentiation through innovation.
ITW Proline has become a leader in the hardware industry through the philosophy that customer service comes first. In particular, this means that nothing is more important than the delivery of orders in full and on time.
To this end, we invest heavily in training people, in-store support and marketing services, our customer service operations and distribution network.