Black & Decker Workmate inventor Ron Hickman dies

Sad news this morning – Ron Hickman, a man who has probably helped you extensively with your own DIY dilemmas, has died aged 78 in hospital after a long illness.

As the South African-born inventor of the Black & Decker Workmate (as well as the designer of the Lotus Elan) he has had a huge influence on the nation’s DIY habits, and indirectly made sure that many of our projects were just that little bit better-constructed.

He had a long fight with manufacturers who, at first rejecting his design as not commercially viable, then tried to make their own derivative versions.

Luckily he had secured a patent and was able to assert his claims as inventor before going on to sell tens of millions worldwide in partnership with Black & Decker, using the proceeds to build a villa on the island of Jersey filled with his own inventions.

Many of us have the Workmate in the shed or garage – unfortunately the same can’t be said quite so confidently of the Lotus Elan, although we can all wish… RIP, Mr Hickman, and thanks for all your help.