BLACK+DECKER – A History and A Legacy

BLACK+DECKER – A History and A Legacy

For 175 years, Stanley Black & Decker has provided the tools and innovative solutions it’s customers can trust to get the job done.

Edison Nation recently launched an innovation search for the BLACK+DECKER brand, looking for new and exciting solutions to improve life in and around the home.


We’re taking a closer look at the history and innovation legacy of the brand to inspire your ideas for this search.

Early beginnings

In 1843, Frederick Stanley started The Stanley Works, a small shop in New Britain, Conn., to manufacture bolts, hinges and other hardware of high quality from wrought iron.

In 1910, Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker quit their jobs to form their own shop in Baltimore, Md., dedicated to manufacturing the world’s first portable power tool. They had $1,200 in capital.

Initially, they made a bottle-capping machine and a candy-dipping device. They soon began work on their iconic power drill from a plant on South Calvert Street in today’s Baltimore Harbor.

The portable power drill

In 1917, they obtained the world’s first patent for that tool – the first portable power drill with a pistol grip. It was related to a portable air-compressor they had previously patented.

Around the same time, Black & Decker’s first manufacturing plant opened in Towson.

In just two years, sales surpassed $1 million annually.

In 1946, the first line of home utility drills was introduced after Alonzo G. Decker Jr., son of the company’s founder, noticed that workers were stealing industrial power drills from defense contractors. The firm began making electric drills, drill-bit sets, portable circular saws, jigsaws and sanders for the DIY market.

The great outdoors

In 1957, BLACK+DECKER entered the outdoor market with the first electric lawn edgers and hedge trimmers designed for consumers.

This was followed in 1962 by the first cordless outdoor product, a cordless hedge trimmer.

To the moon

BLACK+DECKER brought the first power tools into space in the early 70s. In 1963, they developed a minimum-torque tool for astronauts to use under weightless conditions on Project Gemini.

In 1971, with a BLACK+DECKER-built power head, the Apollo Lunar Surface rill took core samples from the moon during the Apollo 15 mission.

New innovations

1979, Black & Decker introduced the DustBuster®, the world’s first handheld vacuum.

In 1998, inspired by the design of the computer mouse, the easy-to-use and ergonomic BLACK+DECKER Mouse® Sander was launched.

A merger

In 2010, The Stanley Works and BLACK+DECKER merged to become the world’s largest tools and storage company.

Since their earliest days as a small machine shop in Baltimore, BLACK+DECKER has remained steadfastly focused on customer needs.

Today, BLACK+DECKER has become one of the most well-known power tool manufacturers in the U.S. and possibly around the world offering “power tools, accessories, outdoor yard care equipment, home cleaning products, automotive and lighting products, hardware and other home improvement products.” They have a reputation for quality, ingenuity and value. Their mission is to Power People.

Do you have an idea for the next BLACK+DECKER product? Share it today!

This search closes on Monday, July 30th at Midnight PST!


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