Max Samuel Rackoff (1886-1954) immigrated to Western Pennsylvania from Juludok, Lithuania, in the early 1900s. He settled first in the Connellsville area, where he opened the Rackoff Brothers Fashion Store at 130-132 West Crawford Avenue. In 1914, he married Pauline Silverman (1890-1938). She was also a Lithuanian immigrant, and her brothers owned the Silverman’s Department Store on Fourth Avenue in New Kensington.
They married in 1914 and had three children, Herbert, Frances and Selwyn Raymond.
Selwyn Raymond Rackoff (1922-1996) graduated from New Kensington High School in 1940 and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1943 before serving in the U.S. Navy. During his tour of duty he was stationed on the U.S.S. Boise and the U.S.S. Chicago. In 1945 while still in the service, he married Barbara Weinberg. Her father, Ben Weinberg, had emigrated from Hungary to Duquesne, Pa., in 1905, by way of Brooklyn, New York. He was a co-founder of the American Shearing Knife Company. S. Raymond and Barbara Rackoff had two children, William and John.
Upon returning to Pittsburgh, Rackoff took night classes in metallurgical engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. By the time he graduated in 1948 he was already working at the American Shearing Knife Company, which later became ASKO Inc. The Homestead-based manufacturer makes custom tools for the metal-processing industries. Rackoff became president of the company in 1962 and chairman of its board in 1981.
Rackoff was well known in the Jewish community and a regular contributor to the Republican Party. During his life, he met Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and Pennsylvania Senators Arlen Spector and H. John Heinz III.