What makes Black & Decker a world-renowned brand?

The United Kingdom’s most popular tool brand is Black & Decker. According to ConsumerSCOPE, it has a 36% market share and an unsurpassed global distribution network , which explains why it’s the biggest power tool brand around. It’s a leading manufacturer of garden and lawn tools, handheld vacuum cleaners, and power tool accessories. 8 out of 10 UK households own their own Black & Decker product to boot. This is a company that places emphasis on the importance of development, research, and design, which can easily be seen with the kind of products they offer. Simply put, Black & Decker is a survivor that knows how to adapt to the times.

Black & Decker
Black & Decker Logo – Source:QZ.com

Black & Decker History

To understand how Black & Decker gets to where it is today, it is important to understand briefly the brand’s history. A very brief compilation of Black & Decker’s timeline as follow:

1910: Alonzo Decker and Duncan Black, two Americans, were the ones who decided to form their own company, Black & Decker with a $1,200 investment.

1914: They started contract machine work by leasing premises in Baltimore as their manufacturing factory of sorts. It was only in this year that the first handheld power drill was patented with a universal motor, trigger switch, and pistol grip.

First Black & Decker Manufacturing Plant in Maryland
First Black & Decker Manufacturing Plant in Maryland

1922: In Canada, the first Black & Decker subsidiary out of the USA was formed.

1928: In the United Kingdom’s Slough was the first factory in the UK was built. Heavy duty tools like grinders, screwdrivers, and tappers were produced in this place.

1946: Because many of their tools ended up stolen in workers’ homes, it occurred to Black & Decker to concentrate on the home tools market front, which eventually became the DIY market.

1957: Sales of Black & Decker tools have exceeded £25 million by this time.

1960s: Black & Decker further expands by opening more branches in the UK and adding some in Scandinavia as well. Maidenhead eventually became the site for their new headquarters of sorts. They also did work for NASA by developing the cordless zero-torque space tool.

Cordless Tool by Black & Decker used by NASA
Cordless Tool by Black & Decker used by NASA

1970s: The Black & Decker moon drill was introduced, which enabled NASA to remove core samples out of the surface of the moon.

2000: The sawing range of products of Black & Decker was further bolstered with the addition of the Scorpion, which is a safe and efficient product that wields three blades at the same time.

2003: Further innovation came about in Spring 2003 with the relaunch of the Quattro Multi-Tool that does four key DIY tasks—jigsawing, sanding, drilling, and screw driving—thanks to its interchangeable heads.

What makes Black & Decker great?

Black & Decker was able to become far and away the biggest DIY market leader in the United Kingdom for a variety of reasons, chief among them their willingness to innovate every time. It is a competitive field that is influenced by the media, weather conditions, the economy’s performance, and the current state of the UK housing market. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, due to the uncertain UK economic climate at the time, the industry struggled. There was a scarcity of new homeowners and the home improvement market, as far as the United Kingdom was concerned, was in a bit of a slump.

With that said, even when faced with an influx of Far Eastern brands, Black & Decker was able to find its place by simply being better and offering innovative tools that its copycat competitors couldn’t come up with by themselves, such as the Scorpion and the Quattro Multi-Tool. The situation was also helped due to the recovery of the market in the mid-1990s. The DIY market flourished and Black & Decker had some healthy competition with Asian brands when it comes to decorating new homes or fixing and improving old ones. The market further grew thanks to the rise of divorced or separated people, which meant more singles living on their own who are in need of DIY home improvement tools.


Over the years, Black & Decker has received many awards and the like. One of their most popular best sellers, the Quattro Multi-Tool, has been recognized in 1999 as a special product, thus it was awarded by the Design Council with Millennium Product Status. What’s more, it’s a company that doesn’t rest on its laurels, as evidenced by its ever-increasing range of products developed to meet the continuous growth of demand from their DIY market consumers. To wit, it was Black & Decker that developed the classic Workmate Workbench, one of the first cordless tools in the world.

Throughout the decades, Black & Decker has consistently found good niches to cater to, from construction workers and builders to homeowners doing DIY home improvement, with products ranging from drill press, air compressor to angle grinder. It was able to take advantage of trends and the changing times too, like with how people nowadays are having children later in their lives, so they live longer single and make use of more cost-effective ways to go about domicile upkeep (that includes investing in something like Black & Decker’s 4-in-1 Quattro Multi-Tool with different heads that you can screw unto it to perform multiple tasks in one product).