Monday, October 27, 2014

We used to make things in this country. #168: Black & Decker, Brockville, Ontario

The Black & Decker two-blade electric lawnmower that we inherited from my late father-in-law finally gave up the ghost. The windings on the motor failed.  Made in Brockville, Ontario, it boasted a cast aluminum deck.  It worked hard for over 40 years. Other than replacing belts and having to machine one shaft, the lawnmower needed little attention and performed yeoman service.   It was a lovely little machine, and will be missed.

Black and Decker opened a plant in Brockville in 1966.  Among other product lines, it was the main production facility for the Workmate for both the Canadian and US markets, which was introduced in 1975.  At its height in 1980, the plant employed 1100 people.  Things began to go south (literally) in 1985, when Workmate production was moved to São Paulo, Brazil under the corporate policies of"updated positioning," "rationalized markets" and "globalization."  Manufacturing at Brockville ended completely in January 1998, when 500 people lost their jobs.  In November 2011, Stanley-Black & Decker announced the loss of another 42 jobs as distribution operations were being consolidated in Mississauga.  I'm not sure if the company has any presence left in Brockville now.

So, my lawnmower has followed the factory that made it into oblivion.  There are still others out there who fondly remember the twin-blade electric mowers.  See, for example, GardenWeb.

Like me, my father-in-law always kept tool manuals.  So, for anyone who's interested, I've scanned and uploaded a copy of the manual: Manual for Black & Decker No. 5740 Electric Lawnmower.  Maybe it will help someone else keep their lawnmower running.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the manual. It is helpful

Anonymous said...

I have that same mower ! I have it in my basement on a shelf with other electric tools. And yes you are correct. Globalization cost cutting measures and eliminating jobs . The company back then cared about quality . It’s time for a new change in how companies in the USA to wake up and not rely upon on china and other foreign countries to make our products that one use to be made here by people who cared about craftsmanship and and the employer caring about the workers and the products that the facility was producing . I’ll hang on to my old B& D tools because they represented something back then weather they function or just sitting on a shelf to display it’s something about history.

Anonymous said...

My brother in law is looking for these belts and also my father-in-law departed and of course now nobody knows where to find anything, my father-in-law was the only one who knew what to do..