Inventor Ron Hickman
Ron Hickman
Born21 October 1932
Greytown, S.Africa
Died17 February 2011 | Age 78


Ron Hickman 1961

Ron Hickman invented the massively popular Black & Decker 'Workmate®' workbench in 1961 after a home DIY disaster. He had sawn a chair in half while struggling to hold an item on top of the chair. He decided to make an 'extra hand' to help with his DIY.


Sell the Idea
His idea was rejected by manufacturers for many years, so Hickman sold the benches himself to professional builders at trade shows, building up a client base of tradesmen. Slowly the demand increased.

Lotus Car
Ron moved to London and in 1954 started working for the Ford Motor Company at Dagenham as a clay modeller and later he helped to style the 105E Ford Anglia. Ron was not your average amateur inventor: he was already an accomplished product designer, and went on to design the famous Lotus Elan, as chief engineer for the car company.
But this still did not impress any manufacturer to take on his Workmate, including Black & Decker, who consistently rejected his DIY help mate idea.
Classic Lotus Elan designed by Ron Hickman
Classic Lotus Elan designed by Ron Hickman

But after he began manufacturing the Workmate® workbench. It was an instant hit.

Black & Decker saw the potential and took on exclusive rights of the Workmate in 1973 and started production. To date more than '60 Million' Workmates have been sold.

The emblem of Rule Britannia
In History
  • 06 February 1804.
    This month 216 years ago the world lost Joseph Priestley
  • 10 February 1912.
    This month 108 years ago the world lost Joseph Lister
  • 16 February 1834.
    This month 186 years ago the world lost Lionel Lukin
  • 05 February 1790.
    This month 230 years ago the world lost William Cullen
  • Float Glass. 100 years ago 7 January 1920 Alastair Pilkington was born
  • 21 February 1741.
    This month 278 years ago the world lost Jethro Tull
  • 19 February 1927.
    This month 93 years ago the world lost Herbert Akroyd Stuart
  • 08 February 2017.
    This month 3 years ago the world lost Peter Mansfield
  • 17 February 2011.
    This month 9 years ago the world lost Ron Hickman
  • 14 February 1779.
    This month 241 years ago the world lost Captain Cook
  • 26 February 1884.
    This month 135 years ago the world lost Alexander Wood
  • 23 February 1965.
    This month 54 years ago the world lost Stan Laurel
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Prevalence:Inventor, Black, Decker, Hickman, Workmate