Black and Decker Corp. is an impressive array of distinguished brands including DeWalt, Porter-Cable, DeVilbiss Air Power, Baldwin, Weiser Lock, Price Pfister, Emhart Technologies, Oldham Blades, Black and Decker Firestorm, Dust Buster, Vector and Kwikset.
Black & Decker rose to success through clever engineering, tool innovation, trend setting selling techniques and through the acquisition of brands that resonate with consumers’ worldwide. The recent merger of Stanley Black & Decker with Dewalt has made them the world-leading manufacturer of tools.
Black & Decker’s Roots
Alonzo G. Decker and S. Duncan Black were much like many innovators in the 1920’s who would find themselves on the cusp of the depression. Modeling their company around the diverse needs of their customers, their company found its niche by manufacturing an assortment of made to order products. These products included such items as a candy-dipping machine, a postage stamp splitter and recoiling machine, a cotton picker, a vest-adding machine, a milk bottle cap machine, as well as machinery for the U.S. Mint. Their eclectic approach to product innovation seemed well suited to the personalities of these two young inventors, as they knew from the get go that they wanted to design, invent, innovate and manufacture unique machinery for the market.
Like many success stories, it seemed that the combination of Duncan Black’s ground breaking selling techniques coupled with the genius of Alonzo Decker’s engineering, would be the key to unlock their companies new found potential.
As most of the best entrepreneurial rags to riches stories begin with one pivotal decision that serves as the keystone of the pursuit of a dream, Black and Decker’s story begins with their one “all in” move. It would take seven years after the sacrifice of Decker’s mortgage, the sale of Black’s prized stallion and the acquisition of $3000 dollars worth of investment capital, before the money raised to form Black & Decker Manufacturing Co., would see the creation of its first signature product the electric drill. The original of which is still on exhibit at The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
Their famous electric drill was a portable half-inch electric drill with a pistol grip and trigger. The trigger action replaced the idea of drills having manual on and off switches. This simple yet clever design of the electric drills engineering escalated Black and Decker Co to annual sales of a million dollars by 1918, as well as cultivating worldwide growth in England, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Japan.
With the passing of its President Duncan Black in 1951 and co-founder Alonzo G. Decker in 1956, the company would fall to his son Alonzo Decker Jr.
Decker Jr. would bring his own special skills to Black and Decker Co through his investment in the manufacturing of tools for the do-it-yourself market. A niche he uncovered while trying to solve the riddle of why companies kept ordering the same tool numerous time. This insight led to a unique platform of tools specifically designed for professionals who were taking their tools home with them at night. This was an amazing discovery as the DIY industry consistently grew as a market; in fact, in the year 2000 the DIY market had revenues of 165 billion in America alone.
In the 1960’s Alonzo Decker Jr., following in his fathers footsteps, creating the very first cordless drill. Met with rapid success, this new product would see exponential growth for the company and would bring a new period of prosperity for the Black and Decker brand. In a 1997 interview Alonzo Decker Jr., commenting on Black’s competitive advantage in marketing, coupled with the Decker family’s successful immersion in engineering innovation:
”I don’t know who planned that,” he said, “but it worked.” –Alonzo Decker Jr.
Today Black and Decker Co. honors its predecessors with a continued focus on customer centric service, in continuance with its legacy to branch out into new markets with new innovations, while all the while upholding the quality of the Black and Decker Co name.