Black & Decker Workmate
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The Black & Decker Workmate is a strong, adaptable general purpose portable workbench and general carpentry tool manufactured under the brand Black & Decker. It is a folding table for portability, but when expanded stands about 3 feet (1 m) tall. The table top consists of two sturdy wooden jaws, one of which is fixed and the other able to be moved in and out on threaded rods operated by handles, so it can be used as a bench vice to hold wood, metal and other parts while working on them. The legs underneath are designed to be strong enough to support the weight of a human so that it can be used as a stool to reach high surfaces, and has holes for retaining tools while working, or for drilling. Its edges are printed with measures and angles, and although it cannot be used as a mitre saw the jaws are wide enough to hold one or take a mitre box.
When invented, the designer Ron Hickman had difficulty convincing anyone to market the Workmate, and sold them himself at trade shows. He had his first breakthrough in 1968, after successfully managing to convince a DIY magazine to let him exhibit at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London, which enabled him to sell 1,800 units in his first year.
After seeing some initial success in 1971, Black & Decker decided to work with Hickman to improve his initial design, and in 1972, Black & Decker's MKII version of the Workmate went in to mass production. When released, it was first sold in the United Kingdom for £24.95. They have since sold thirty million Workmates. Ron Hickman received a royalty of about 50 pence (£0.50, sterling) for each Workmate sold, and became a wealthy man.
- "Black & Decker Workmate Dual Height Work Bench". Argos (retailer). Spring–Summer 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Hanson, Jacob (14 February 2017). "History of the Great Workmate Workbench". Tools First. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
- "Inventor of the Workmate dies". The Register. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "In praise of… the Workmate". The Guardian. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
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