Saturday, 19 February 2011

R.I.P. Ron Hickman - Workmate inventor...




Ron Hickman was a proper inventor.

This obit says far too little about all the work which has been spawned by such an amazing piece of kit. I inherited two Workmates, and always use the original one, (I gave the later one to my BIL). Mine is made of the distinctive blue painted alloy struts, and is one of the very first ever made in the sixties. I love it, because it has made work at home so much easier! They really were a godsend when they first came out.

Mine (in fact technically ours, as it once belonged to Mrs S's dad), has had all sorts of things done on it, and before anyone asks, the answer is 'no' as it's the wrong height...

We've used it as scaffolding (plastering and painting ceilings), a vice of course, in every position imaginable (again - 'NO'), very recently as a frame to hold the 'Scrobs White-Finger Saw', a BBQ table (it comes out every year), and it probably gets a run out every week of the year on some job or other! It really has emerged as an iconic piece of machinery, and has endured all sorts of abuse for over forty years!

I even tried to make my own version when we were first married, and couldn't get to the price, which was - I think, about £36.00 back then...

And, to cap it all, this man designed the Lotus Elan, a car which has always been a fantasy buy for Scrobs, which must be a whole story in itself!

'Bye Ron! I'll be out in the shed using that special bit of kit today and will think of you for a while. I'll also raise a tincture in your memory, just a nano-second before I walk round one of the extended lower legs, and trip headlong, as I've done on over three million occasions...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this article to my attention. His daughter, Kay, was in my class at secondary school. Had not heard of her or the family since they moved to Jersey.

Scrobs... said...

Delighted to help Anon!

Thnks to on-line 'newspapers', we read stories which actually matter, and not so much of what is fed to the public by politicians/journos etc!

rvi said...

The old stuff is always the best Scrobs. For my 16th birthday my favourite aunt (RIP) bought me a Black and Decker electric drill - cost about 6 quid as I recall, which was a week's wages in those days. It has drilled holes in this and that all over the world since and is still going strong some 50 odd years later (although I do also have a much more modern and more powerful hammer drill these days).

Agree about sticking out legs - they should be banned or at least be penalised with a yellow card.

Philipa said...

I've got a workmate :-)

rvi - some bastard nicked my old (& consequently brilliant) orange B&D drill.

Scrobs... said...

They were great things to have then Reevers! My first one only died a few years ago, and ED was heartbroken as she'd 'inherited' it!

I put a load of double glazing in at 'The Turrets' about twenty years ago (now chucked out for real wooden windows thank goodness), and bought a top of the range B and D hammer drill, which really was a revelation after making do with the old two-speed one.

As for those legs, i managed to do the trip again yesterday...

Scrobs... said...

They're essential Pips! Ireally want to strip mine down and rebuild it to clean it, but why try to mend it, if it isn't broken...

I did stand on mine once, to get to some high bits in the garden, and the safety catch on the left hadn't clicked, which meant that I was firmly deposited in a heap of bad language and a lack of breath for several minutes!

Electro-Kevin said...

I really ought to get one of those. I don't do DIY anymore though.

If it's broke, don't bother fixing it - my new motto.

Philipa said...

Well I need fixing, I feel like I'm dying. Best get to fixing tommorow then.