The History Of Pipe Threading At RIDGID
Back in the day threading pipe was a slow, tedious process, used for pipe applications ranging from potable water systems, heating and boiler applications in residential, to a large variety of commercial settings. Threading started to become popular in the ‘40s, triggered by major technological advances.
The history of threading at RIDGID starts in 1948 and it nicely evolved over the years. Today, threading is mostly predominant in industrial and commercial applications, as piping technology and materials have progressed over the years.
Let’s have a walk down memory lane to discover all the details of the evolution of threading at RIDGID.
1940’s & 1950’s
In 1948 the Ridge Tool Company brought to the market an innovative threading solution: the RIDGID 400 Power Drive. With its electric motor, a geared scroll chuck combined with a rear centring device to hold the pipe, RIDGID 400 Power Drive turned the material while hand-held tools cut, reamed and threaded the pipe. It was an instant success and had as much impact on the industry as the introduction of the heavy-duty pipe wrench in 1923.
In just a couple of years, continuous development led to the Model 500, a machine that combined the principle of power drive with the ability to cut, ream and thread pipe. Then, reacting to customer needs, product engineering launched RIDGID Speedchuck, a solution that increased the speed and efficiency of threading, providing a more solid grip on materials. This innovation helped Model 500 (renamed 500A and then 535) to remain the industry standard for over forty years. With a few technological improvements, 535 is still in production today and remains a workhorse of the industry.
1960’s & 1970’s
Developing Model 400 and Model 500 was only the beginning. Our mission was to deliver the best threading machines to the world’s expert tradespeople. And so we did.
The ‘60s started with the launch of the RIDGID 300 Power Drive, a compact and reliable machine capable to thread up to 2’’ pipe.
In 1968 we launched Model 800, a machine with Automatic Chuck. The model was discontinued a few years later.
1969 marked another milestone, the launch of Model 700, the first RIDGID Hand Held Power Drive. It has proven to be the industry workhorse in hand-held power drives for decades and the most powerful and durable on the market.
In 1973 we launched another innovation, Model 444, the first RIDGID 4” threader. The machine was discontinued in 1978.
1980’s & 1990’s
The ‘80s and ‘90s marked continuous product development in threading.
In 1985 we launch the Model 600 Power Drive a lightweight and easy-to-handle hand-held machine.
Then, in 1988 we brought to the market Model 1224, the industry standard 4" Threading Machine. This machine is until today one of the most popular RIDGID threading machines.
1993 come with another revolutionary product: Model 1233 Threading Machine, capable to thread pipe up to 3”. This machine is known as one of the fastest threaders in the world.
Another industry first was marked in 1998 with the oil-less threading capability of the RIDGID 1210 Threading Machine – the only machine that used environmentally friendly cutting fluids in the threading process, rather than traditional thread-cutting oil and gels.
2000’s & 2010’s
The new millennium came with improvements in the RIDGID threading product range. Model 535A launched in 2001 maintained the ruggedness of the industry workhorse while adding features that made the threading operation more productive.
2013 was another significant year in the expansion of the RIDGID threading machines: we introduced two new hand-help power drives - Model 600-I and Model 690-I. Designed for portability, both models are ideal for maintenance and repair applications and they feature a quick-release die-head system and quick starting dies.
2023 marks another important milestone as the new 760 FXP Power Drive is a battery-powered machine that offers the users maximum portability. It provides precise threads, unprecedented speed and ergonomic user comfort. The 760 FXP Power Drive features Brushless Motor Technology for less maintenance downtime and extra safety on the job, as the tool automatically shuts off when severe kickback is detected.
Applications and testimonials
Over the past 75 years, the RIDGID Threading Machines proved to be nothing but reliable in demanding applications around the world. (fire protection, plant maintenance, utilities, mechanical contracting, construction)
“We have been using RIDGID Threading Machines for years because they are reliable and durable” - Aki Rahunen, Area Manager Bravida Finland
Projects: Royal Arena, Copenhagen; Helsinki Olympic Stadium (renovation); Helsinki Subway stations (Soukka and Kaitaa)
“I've used Ridgid 300s since the first days of my apprenticeship, beginning in 1976. These machines are truly wonderful, easy to use and extremely robust. Whatever you throw at them, they shrug it off. Dependable and powerful, the 300 is just perfect for all pipework requirements. I've had the misfortune to use "other" makes that look suspiciously alike the 300 and there is no comparison. The 300 is a true masterpiece, copied by some, rivalled by none.”
- Bezz, United Kingdom
Did you know?
- The Key to Thread Quality is a mix of 5 essential elements.
- Threading oil - use plenty of it and change it when it is old and dirty.
- Threading dies - always choose the proper dies for the material being cut.
- Material - quality pipe/rod guarantees quality threads.
- Operator - read the operator’s manual carefully before using the threading machine.
- Machine - check moving parts and replace them if they are worn.
- RIDGID Threading machines are used in renovations of iconic buildings in the United Kingdom.
Buckingham Palace – Sprinkles and re-piping of the whole building
Windsor Castle – Ongoing repairs; new boilers
Wembley Stadium – Piping work
House of Parliament – Piping and sprinklers work
The Great North Rail Project, Eurostar Crossrail Elisabeth Lane, HS2
Replacement of Victoria Sewage Line across the UK – Water treatment plants