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History

Established in 1948, Pratley is a diverse and versatile manufacturing, mining and research group, respected for its innovation and quality.

The Pratley range of leading edge electrical products, high performance DIY and Industrial adhesives, decoupage craft products and unique mineral products serve the industrial, construction, petrochemical and consumer markets.

Pratley (Pty) Ltd and its affiliate companies manufacture over 800 products and are ISO 9001:2008 accredited.

The Pratley Manufacturing and Engineering Company was launched with 3 employees in 1948 in a rented garage in Hillbrow, South Africa, with the company's main focus being jobbing work for both large and very small mines.  A business George Montague Pratley commenced with 349 pounds.

Besides jobbing, the company imported reconditioned "Fordson" tractors from the UK and on sold them to local farmers.  Pratley Engineering soon took on the agency for "Tungsten Carbide Tip Lapping and Honing Tools" emery wheel dressers and Pratley hand cleaner.

Other items made included precision pump screws, burglar alarm switches, rubber toys and a special design of a rubber bath plug.

1952 saw the manufacture of a huge "Drop Hammer" to produce "Crosby Clamps" for clamping electrical conductors.

The reconditioning of water pumps within the mining sector was responsible for greater part and early success of the business which forced George Pratley to expand to larger premises in Factoria, Luipaardsvlei in 1955.

Pump reconditioning continued well into the 1960's, however it was the design and production of a first class cable gland in 1959/1960 which made the company a force to be reckoned with.

Rubber formulations were milled on site and three different designs of flameproof cable gland and five sizes of cast iron junction boxes were also manufactured.

Around the same time 1959/1960 an aluminium foundry was designed, built and put into operation for the production of aluminium alloy junction boxes, roof connector boxes and underground lighting boxes.

Pratley Putty, then known as plastic putty was developed in the Pratley laboratories in the early 60's and eventually put Pratley on the world map. The product was developed as an insulator and also as an adhesive agent for fixing brass terminals which were located inside cast iron junction boxes.  Over time, many uses were found for the putty which enabled it to penetrate the consumer, industrial and mining market sectors.

The mouldable putty was converted to a gluey paste with a greater adhesive strength and these products were soon being manufactured under license in America and New Zealand.

Pratley Putty was the first of its type in the world and had the distinction of being used in the first American space module to land on the moon.  Pratley Putty halted the cracking in one of the main supports of the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the San Francisco Bay in the USA and in South Africa the holes of two sunken ships were repaired with the adhesive, which sets under water.

In 1972, the Ezee-fit range of cable junction boxes proved to be an immediate success and thousands of them were installed in SASOL petroleum plants.

In 1974, a Perlite processing factory was built in Chamdor.  By this stage the number of company employees swelled from 3 to 300.  Fully equipped laboratories with the highest degree of technology in the adhesive field ensured high quality produced adhesives enhanced by a few world firsts such as Pratley Putty and Pratley Wondafix®.

In May 1983 the Pratley group was deeply saddened by the untimely death of their popular and much respected founder and Managing Director.  His son Kim who joined the company in 1979 after graduating as a mechanical engineer took over the company and is the current C.E.O.

In 1985 Kim Pratley launched another world first into the market, Pratley's Wondafix®: a unique adhesive, in that it displays both superior adhesive strength and remarkable flexibility.  On this occasion he stood underneath a bulldozer that had been lifted using Wondafix® as the medium to secure two flanged metal plates.

All epoxy products were being formulated, mixed and packed in the Polymers factory before being despatched from the well organised stores.

Research and development of new products, both chemical and mechanical, had become an ongoing activity at Pratley's headquarters.

Tufflon light glands were being injection moulded in the moulding shop whilst drawing and design work was being carried serving the well equipped tool room and production shops.

By the beginning of the 1990's, this second generation family business was more of a success than ever before.  1993 saw the launch of the world's fastest setting adhesive - Pratley Wham.  Most people who witnessed the launch will never forget the demonstration when a crane lifted a Volkswagen Beetle by a hook attached to a plate which had been fixed by the adhesive to the roof of the vehicle approximately five seconds before.  This product was eventually taken off the market as it simply worked too fast for people to work with!

The late 1990's and forward into the new century saw the Pratley Group grow from strength to strength.  Many of the groups achievements due in no small part to the efforts of the company's founder George Pratley, a founder industrialist, man of vision, optimist, mentor of all who served under him, leaving non uninfluenced by his philosophy.