Who are Thomas and Betts?

Who are Thomas and Betts?

There can’t be many people who don’t know what a cable tie is, but how many of us know who invented them and who Thomas and Betts were? We reveal all here!

Maurus C Logan

In our article Who invented cable ties? we learned that it was Maurus C Logan who developed the first cable tie or Ty Rap in an attempt to alleviate the suffering of aircraft workers in the 1950s. At the time, Logan was working for Thomas and Betts, an electrical firm. But who were Thomas and Betts and what became of the company?

Who were Thomas and Betts?

Robert M Thomas and Hobart D Betts were friends and fellow students at Princeton University who, in 1898, as recent graduates, identified a business opportunity in the new and up and coming electrical industry. At a time when electrical lighting was first being introduced in New York City, and working together to pool ideas and resources, Thomas and Betts began supplying conduit to electrical distributors in New York.


L-R: Maurus C. Logan, Hobart D. Betts, Robert M. Thomas

The evolution of the Thomas and Betts company

1899 - Shortly after Thomas and Betts started their agency for selling conduit, they were joined by another engineer, Adnah McMurtrie, who added to their inventory of items for sale by means of his designs.

1905 - Just 6 years later, Thomas and Betts formed a New York corporation known as the Thomas and Betts Company and innovative products such as the Erickson coupling which enabled two conduits to be joined together without being rotated, began to change the entire industry.

1912 – with several patents under their belts and with the continued spread of electricity, Thomas and Betts realised they needed to begin manufacturing what they were designing. Consequently, they bought the Standard Electric Fittings Company of Connecticut, and began production under the Thomas and Betts brand name.

1917 – resources were centralised and operations consolidated in 1917 when the original Thomas and Betts agency merged with the Standard Electric Fittings Company and became Thomas and Betts Co. The central headquarters for the newly established company were formed in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

1927 – the general manager of Thoman and Betts Co., Robert Thomas’s nephew GC Thomas, led the company into Northeastern Canada, where it became the leading purveyor of electrical parts in Canada.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the company enjoyed unparallelled success, winning awards for their work with the military and being acknowledged as critical to the war effort. By the 1950s, the company’s innovative conduit connectors were used in the world’s first nuclear submarine and, of course, they introduced the first cable tie to the world, patented as the Ty Rap. Thomas and Betts went public at the end of the decade and was listed on the New York stock exchange in 1963.  

Thomas and Betts today

In January 2012, Thomas and Betts became part of ABB, a Swedish-Swiss corporation and industry leader in electrification and automation. Today, Thomas and Betts is known as ABB Installation Products Ltd. and continues to produce and supply the Ty Rap cable tie to many industries.

Nylon cable ties from cableties-online.co.uk

At cableties-online.co.uk, we carry large stocks of a wide range of cable ties, from nylon cable ties, and metal cable ties, to UV and heat stabilised cable ties and printed cable ties. TyRap cable ties are also available to buy directly from us - simply email your requirements to sales@cableties-online.co.uk or telephone us on 01623 412160.