AN IDEAL History 

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Timeline of IDEAL Milestones


The Beginning of an American Ideal

May 28th, 1903, The Ideal Electric and Manufacturing Company is created out of the Card Electric Company. The original plant, a converted horse carriage shop, occupies 2,500-square-feet. Glen Vinson, the founder and first president, leads IDEAL ELECTRIC in steady growth for the next coming years.


Elevator Motors

First high torque squirrel cage motor for elevator service developed and produced by IDEAL.


Synchronous Motors

After World War I, Ideal pioneers two major products for the electrical industry. Large, slow-speed synchronous motors and generators that use across-the-line starting, and the polyphase capacitor induction motor.


The Ohio Works Constructed

Continued growth necessitates the hire of expert, leading American engineers. Ideal constructs the revolutionary Ohio Works, situated on 29 acres with over 280,000 square feet of space.


Switchgear Department Established

The switchgear department of Ideal Electric was started to build switchboards for the engine-driven generators sold to the many municipal power plants Ideal was building motors and generators for.

When Ideal built more and more synchronous motors, a full line of synchronous motor starters was added to the product line.


First Transatlantic Telephone Call

An IDEAL Motor-Generator Set powers the first official transatlantic telephone call on January 7, 1927, when W. S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), calls Sir Evelyn P. Murray, secretary of the General Post Office of Great Britain, commencing the new, Across-The-Ocean commercial telephone service.


World War II

Ideal delivers generator sets to US Navy to provide shipboard power for EC-2 Liberty class ships; as well as powering gun turrets on US cruisers and supplying power to allied ground bases throughout the world.


Brushless Excitation

IDEAL leads the world in synchronous innovation, developing brushless excitation systems.


50 years of ideal

IDEAL marks 50th anniversary with over 500 employees.


Hermetic Motors

Hermetic motors break the 2000 HP barrier in refrigeration compressors.

The “8th Wonder of the World”, Houston, Texas’ Astrodome, the world’s first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium, is constructed with air-conditioned powered by IDEAL. 


Gas Turbine Generators

IDEAL begins supply of generators to a pioneering gas turbine manufacturer who would become 


Carrier Corporation

With a long history designing and building motors for Willis Carrier’s inventions, particularly in hermetic and semi-hermetic types, IDEAL is acquired by Carrier Corporation.


United Technologies

Carrier Corporation is acquired by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in July 1979.


Independent Ownership

United Technologies Corporation divests IDEAL to a management team lead by Michael M. Vucelic, a famed NASA Apollo Program Director, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, credited with the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts.


Test Floor

Ideal Electric continues to lead the industry with an expanded assembly area and test floor. The expansion adds an additional 30,000 square feet to the assembly and test floor area and is supported by a new 80-ton crane with a 35-foot hook height.


September 11th Recovery

After the terror attacks in NYC on September 11th, Ideal Electric aids Verizon in rebuilding major telephone exchanges throughout the city. 


The Northeast Blackout

The Great Northeast Blackout occurs, leaving over 45 million Americans without electricty. Ideal helps to supply power to those affected.


Hyundai Ideal

Ideal’s 280,000 ft2 facility is purchased by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea and renamed Hyundai Ideal Electric Co. (HIEC).


New Assembly Building

A new 25,000 ft2 assembly floor is added, including two 40-ton overhead cranes.


VPI System

a new, 14 foot vacuum pressure impregnation tank is added to the manufacturing floor.


Heavy Fabrication Hall Constructed

Ground is broken for another 25,000 ft2 building addition to house machining and welding operations.


The American Ideal

In September 2017, Hyundai divests the entirety of IDEAL to a private owner, returning the company to 100% American ownership and setting the stage for a resurgence of the factory led by an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for electric machinery. 


100 Years of Synchronous

IDEAL celebrates 100 years of designing and building pioneering synchronous motor  technology.


Return to the Defense Industrial Base

The first new-build generator is delivered to the U.S. Navy, marking the return of the company to the domestic defense industrial base.

Product history

The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company has a long and storied history, beginning with its first order from the A. Kieckhefer Elevator Company on May 28, 1903. The company introduced new products such as high-torque squirrel cage motors, induction motors, and slip ring motors in 1905, which were used for elevators and electro-plating. By 1907, AC motors up to 50 hp and DC motors up to 4000 amperes were added to the product line, with other products being developed as the company grew.

During WWI, Ideal Electric supplied numerous motors for various applications, including components for warships. Synchronous motors were introduced in 1918, followed by hermetic motors for refrigeration purposes in the 1920s. In 1928, the company developed Eddy Current Couplings to provide variable speed and torque. Ideal Electric also supplied 400-cycle generators for the military during WWII.

Ideal Electric’s contribution to the war effort was exemplified by the Battle of Tassafaronga in November 1942. The motor-generator sets manufactured by Ideal Electric powered gun turrets for the Minneapolis and many other surface craft. For its delivery record and quality components, the company received a letter of commendation from Rear Admiral El Cochrane, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Ships.

In the 1960s, Ideal Electric developed No-break, Continuous Power Systems that combined motor, generator, and Eddy Current technologies. Over the years, the company has designed and manufactured custom-built equipment for various applications and customers, including small, land-based, high-frequency motor-generator sets for Naval aircraft; medium-sized generators for Naval guided missile attack ships; small to large generators for hydroelectric applications; generators for oil platforms; and backup power supplies for NASA.

Ideal Electric has also provided small refrigeration motors for buildings like the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, and the World Trade Center. Some of the company’s innovations include the Eddy Current Coupling, brushless exciter package, a centrifugal rotor castor, wind-powered generators, epicyclic gear-driven generators, 300% overspeed hydro-generators, and 11,000-volt hermetic motors.

Throughout its history, Ideal Electric has been at the forefront of engineering innovation, developing groundbreaking technologies and contributing significantly to various industries, including military, energy, and infrastructure.


Ownership History

The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company has a rich history that dates back to its founding in May 1903 by Stanleigh Glen Vinson, at the corner of East 5th and Elm Street in Mansfield, Ohio. In 1920, the company relocated to the corner of East 1st and Oak Streets, where it continued to thrive under the leadership of the Vinson family.

Having designed and built thousands of motors enabling refrigeration and cooling, Ideal Electric was acquired by the Carrier Corporation in November 1976. The company subsequently became part of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in June 1979 when UTC purchased Carrier Corporation. On May 28, 1986, Michael Vucelic, his family members, and several investors acquired the company, marking its return to private ownership and signaling a new chapter in its pioneering history.

In 2007, Hyundai Heavy Industries purchased Ideal Electric and made significant investments in expanding the capabilities of the historic Ohio Works, driving sales beyond the 100 million dollar mark. In 2017, Hyundai sold the company to a private American investor in the electric machinery industry, cementing Ideal Electric’s status as the only wholly American-owned independent manufacturer of high-power, specialty electric machinery and power systems in the world.

Throughout its 120-year journey, Ideal Electric has remained a steadfast symbol of innovation, quality, robustness, and dedication to both its employees and the communities it serves. As a uniquely American success story, the company continues to play a vital role in the global electric machinery and power systems industry, standing as a pillar of the American industrial base.


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