MRO Magazine

85th Anniversary Tool Commemorates First Portable Drill

The first portable drills were introduced in 1917 by the Black & Decker company. To commemorate the date, the company introduced an 85th Anniversary Cordless Drill with an aluminum die-cast housing de...


April 1, 2003
By MRO Magazine
MRO Magazine

The first portable drills were introduced in 1917 by the Black & Decker company. To commemorate the date, the company introduced an 85th Anniversary Cordless Drill with an aluminum die-cast housing designed to look like the earlier drills.

Alonzo Decker and S. Duncan Black formed their company in 1910 when they were both 23. They produced a milk bottle cap machine, a vest-pocket adding machine, a candy dipping machine and other products for that time. Black handled sales and marketing, and Decker was responsible for innovation and engineering.

History was made when Decker and Black were working to submit a bid to redesign parts for the Colt 45 pistol. They decided to make a drill with the same features as a pistol, with a pistol grip and a finger trigger. Drills in the mid-1910s were heavy machines that required two men to operate, so their idea was revolutionary.