The original company, F.Pratt was incorporated as a LLC in 1897. The company had been functioning since before 1850. Then in 1953 the F.Pratt & Company became publicly traded.
In the early days, the company mainly manufactured machine tools and factoring others. The manufacturing of lathe chucks didn’t commence until a few years before the First World War. During this time the 4-jaw Independent chuck was the primary product made. In 1915 the decision was made to start manufacturing the American design 3-jaw Universal type chucks.
Following the First World War the company continued to manufacture both types of manual operated lathe chucks. This period between the wars the company continued to add more types of manually operated chucks and a new designed power chuck that was operated by compressed air.
The Second World War brought a period of difficulties with shortages of material and labor. Female labor was introduced on a large scale in both machining and assembly work.
The termination of the Second World War saw a reorganization of activities. A second factory was set up to cope with the increasing demand for lathe chucks. At this point the name Pratt had become recognized for quality and was respected throughout the world. In 1953 F. Pratt Company became a public company and in 1954 acquired the business of F.Burnerd and Company Limited, also lathe chuck manufacturers. The merging of the two companies resulted in our becoming the largest supplier in the world for these particular products. This also brought the addition of our multi-size collet and collet chuck system. A further period of development then commenced when the Hydraulic operation of chucking was introduced.
In 1961 further reconstruction of the organization took place. A holding company — F.Pratt Engineering Corporation Limited was formed with Subsidiaries F.Pratt and Company Limited, F. Burnerd and Company Limited and Pratt Precision Hydraulics. In 1967 a merger took place with the Arnott and Harrison Engineering Group which manufactured forgings and special machines; one of these being Crawford Collets which strengthened the range of products offered.
In 1974 a major restructuring event took place. F. Burnerd & Company Limited became Pratt Woodworth Limited, concentrating solely on N.A Woodworth Equipment. F. Pratt & Company Limited became Pratt Burnerd International Ltd. to promote the rapidly expanding international chucking business and serve the interests of 48 agents and distributors throughout the world. A number of new products ensued, the Front End Hydraulic Chuck, the High Speed Quick Change Chuck and the Opto-Coupled Gripmeter, all of which were ground-breaking innovations.
The High Speed Quick Change Chuck later developed into the Gripfast, still the market leader in centrifugally counter-balanced rapid jaw change chucking, with many invaluable features. The Opto-Coupled Gripmeter was later replaced by one transmitting the data by radio frequency, the Radio Frequency Gripmeter, or RFG as it was more commonly known.
And the story continues with products currently being trialed; the RFG is soon to be replaced by the Gripsafe with its user-friendly communications direct to your iPad or mobile phone, and new versions of Gripsafe with larger bores and even 5 jaws, to reduce distortion on thin-walled parts.
Whilst here in America our imminent move to new premises will take place this July. More to follow…