A short history of the Black + Decker brand

Black and Decker, tools for everything

Black & Decker is a brand that is well known to the general public for its DIY accessories that it offers. This brand is almost unavoidable in gardening and DIY stores. It has a long history that goes back to the last century.

It all starts in 1910...

Indeed, it was founded in 1910 by two friends. Like other big brands, like the one with the apple, it was created in a shed that was used as a machine shop. The two friends were S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker, hence the name of the brand.

The great invention of the brand, which made its reputation, was the portable electric drill, a product invented in 1917. A patent was filed directly to protect this small revolution in the world of DIY, especially on the handle reminiscent of a pistol and on the start-up via a trigger switch. The first factory was opened to mass produce the drill. These activities continued for almost 60 years, always under the leadership of one of the two founding families.

In 1975, however, the president was no longer from one of the two families for the first time. This may give a second wind to the brand... In the 15 years that follow, Black & Decker takes over the Small Appliances division of General Electric. Then another group: Emhart Corporation. This group does not say anything to the French, but in the United States, it was a company with an important portfolio of brands just as important. We can mention Kwikset, Price Pfister, Molly pegs, POP rivets, True Temper golf club shafts, etc.

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The 2000s once again marked thegroup expansion with two other major takeovers: that of Pintair and Stanley Works, although the latter is more of a merger than an outright takeover. Pintair had a tooling business and sold that entire sector to Black & Decker for a cool $775 million.

Black and Decker, tools for everything
Black and Decker, tools for everything

What has Black & Decker brought to the market?

Black & Decker is not just a production company, it is above all an innovation company. And that's evident from the very beginning. From the very beginning of the company, the brand has sought to create new tools to make manual work and DIY easier. With the innovation of the portable electric tool, the brand took the gamble of making what was stationary transportable and what was manual electric. Two advances that every handyman appreciated and still appreciates. As proof, only 9 years after its creation, Black & Decker had passed the million dollar sales mark.

In 1946, it is the first portable electric drill for the general public. This decision to mass produce for the general public comes from an anecdote: that of the employees of the brand who borrowed the material produced to work at home. If the employees were so enthusiastic, the public would be won over by these devices. It was a winning bet.

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In the wake of this, in 1961, Black & Decker switched to wireless by equipping its drilling machines with a battery Nickel Cadmium. The following year, it was the turn of hedge trimmers to go wireless.

Other Black & Decker inventions include the workmatea workbench, but also the VersaPak and the Snakelighta flexible task light. With the advent of new technologies, there was the appearance of the Mouse sander inspired by PC mice (see our guide on eccentric sanders), the appearance of intelligent tools that define themselves the appropriate settings according to the work and the Gyro Driver. The latter is an intelligent screwdriver that detects the speed and direction of rotation thanks to a sensor to manage the screwing itself.

How did the Black & Decker brand become established?

From the beginning, the brand has relied on the mass communication through advertising. With the enthusiasm of the beginning, the brand quickly invested in full pages in newspapers to make itself known. Over the years, advertising has appeared in the streets, on television and on the Internet.

Black and Decker, pioneers in space
Black and Decker, pioneers in space

In addition, the brand has relied on the American patriotism to give a sense of belonging. To this end, the brand participated in the conquest of space by developing cordless tools for NASA astronauts. These include a tool with minimal torque to be used in zero gravity or a lunar core drill that allowed samples to be taken from the moon. Thanks to this collaboration with NASAThe brand has benefited from the aura of the American public. Moreover, the brand has entered the hall of fame of NASA for having actively participated in the development of tools usable in space ... And which were used on Apollo 15.

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If you are curious and want to discover more about the tools offered by the brand, you can consult our guides: