These companies celebrate milestones this year

  • Imperial Tools, designer and manufacturer of HVAC and specialty tools, celebrates 100 years in the tools business in 2005. The company began in 1905 as Chicago-based Imperial Brass Mfg. Co.; in 1961 it merged with Eastman Mfg. Co.; and in 1996 it was purchased by Stride Tool Inc. and has become Stride's flagship brand.

    Also celebrating an anniversary is Stride Tool - its 25th. Chairman Lori Northrup founded the company in 1980 with one product and one customer. Today, Stride operates plants in Western New York, Ohio and Illinois.

  • Victaulic Co. celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. The concept of joining pipe with a mechanical bolted coupling that would engage into grooves and feature a gasket seal originated during World War I for rapid deployment of fuel and water to Allied forces. The company that worked closely with the War Department of England to develop piping systems for hydraulics was named the Victory Pipe Joint Co. after the coupling it had engineered - known as the “victory joint” from early military uses. Several years later, in 1925, the Victaulic Co. - named by combining the words “victory” and “hydraulic” - was formed to market the concept of mechanical joining to the commercial piping industry.

  • Consulting firm and software manufacturing company Easy Street Inc. celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. Owner and founder James R. Leichter ran the company out of his own home; now the company occupies 12 rooms of an office building, with plans to build new offices in the future. The company produces several business/management tools, tape kits and software programs, including Flat Rate Plus and Total Office Manager.