Innovators-in-Chief: Purposeful Founders Lead the Way

S. Duncan Black (left) and Alonzo G. Decker Sr. (right), founders of Black & Decker.

FOR THOSE WHO MAKE THE WORLD™

It was a Monday morning in December 19411 when Royston Siddons, future founder of Sidchrome, trudged reluctantly to his factory in Melbourne, Australia.

The previous Friday an accidental fire had all but destroyed his metal casting shop.2 Siddons had decided to shutter the operation entirely and was preparing to break the news to his employees.3

Little did Siddons know, however, that his staff had spent the weekend cleaning up after the fire. 4Almost speechless upon seeing the evidence of their commitment, Siddons vowed to continue the business.5 Sidchrome was born out of this near tragedy.6

At the time of the fire, Australia was at war, and special permission was needed to rebuild.7 The government allowed Siddons to erect a new factory, but he was required to dismantle the iron foundry and build a drop forge to produce hand tools for the war effort. Siddons had no experience in this new field,8 but he took a gamble and incorporated Siddons Drop Forging Pty Ltd.9

Siddons was a visionary and a tinkerer. He quickly invented a new cupola that he sold for 30 percent less than the competition.10 Within a few years, his new concern was creating higher-quality metal using less material, for a lower cost than his competitors.


Royston Siddons, founder of Sidchrome.

By the end of the war, Siddons had moved from government contracts into the domestic hand tools market.11 In 1947, the company registered Sidchrome (originally Sid-Chrome) as a trademark for its tools and began producing tools backed with a lifetime guarantee—a guarantee that still exists today.12

Similar to Sidchrome, Sonitrol, which is now part of STANLEY Security, had an experimenter-in-chief who constantly refined his inventions until they were the best products on the market.13

In Anderson, Indiana, police officer Al Cronk was unhappy with the existing alarm systems — in his 17 years on the force, such systems had never stopped a burglary in progress. Bob Baxter, who had started experimenting with sonic waves in the late 1950s,14 had no formal training as an engineer but developed a supersonic device that was used to keep birds out of warehouses and off of buildings, including those at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.15

Cronk realized the supersonic device’s potential in helping to apprehend criminals and how it could improve upon systems already in place.16 He used his observations about the shortcomings of the existing systems to help Baxter refine his invention, and in 1964, Baxter incorporated Sonitrol Security Inc.17


Al Cronk (left) and Bob Baxter (right) turned a science experiment into a sought-after alarm system.

Always keen to push the envelope, Baxter repurposed the basic technology for several other devices, including an electronic stethoscope and a termite detector.18 This termite detector became the technological basis for Sonitrol.19

Siddons and Baxter join the ranks of visionaries such as Frederick T. Stanley, S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker; the opportunistic Louis Mosés; the bold Stanley T. Johnson and Raymond DeWalt; the multi-talented Charles Irwin; and the persistent A.S Crutcher and Gene Rolf. All together, these founders have played an irreplaceable role in creating today’s Stanley Black & Decker.

 


 

[1] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 10.; “Factory Fire: £10,000 Damage in Half Hour.” The Age. November 29, 1941.
[2] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 12, 14.
[3] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 14.
[4] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 14.
[5] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 14.
[6] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 19.
[7] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 15.
[8] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 15.
[9] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 15-16.
[10] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 7.
[11] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 18-20.
[12] Siddons, John, and Russ Gleeson. A spanner in the works. South Melbourne: Macmillan Co. of Australia, 1990. 19.
[13] "Sonitrol." STANLEY Security. Accessed February 22, 2018. https://www.stanleysecurity.co.uk/solutions/intruder-detection/audio-ver....
[14] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 13-15.
[15] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 14,19.
[16] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 15.
[17] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 16; "Sonitrol." Sonitrol. Accessed February 22, 2018. http://www.sonitrol.com/.
[18] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 14-15.
[19] Sound Entrepreneurs: 50 Years of Sonitrol Excellence. Winter Park, FL: Legacy Book Publishing, 2014. Pg 16.