History of Flexitable

In the beginning…

The Flexitable was invented by a Yorkshire teaching assistant who wanted to make the learning of multiplication tables more enjoyable for her classes rather than teaching them by rote as the Victorians had done. She wanted to make the lessons more interactive with the pupils and to have them enjoy maths and explore numbers so that they could discover square roots, to understand that division was the opposite of multiplication and realise the relationship between odd and even numbers. Linda Mangles developed a small grid of numbers that could be folded beneath the rows and to the right hand side of the columns so that by reading across and down the result (multiplicand) would be the number in the bottom right hand corner.

Protecting the idea…

Having thought of the concept the next step was to try and patent the idea or, if that were not possible, to register the design and market the grid. Linda was introduced to Ralph Atkinson a well-known patent attorney practising in Sheffield who then drafted a patent specification and filed applications in both the UK and USA.

Developing a finished product…

To see if the product were marketable Ralph Atkinson contacted Nigel Chute of Chute Design Associates and Tony Campbell of Commercial Products Limited for their opinions. Both CDA and CPL realised the potential that its simplicity had to offer the educational market and, with the Government’s declaration to make 2000 the year of numeracy, the timing of the invention could not have been more opportune. Nigel Chute developed the concept in welded plastics and honed the design to a more pleasing layout. Tony Campbell gave the product the working title “Flexitable” (which then became its’ trademark) and he then began the task of test marketing the product by contacting educational suppliers. In January 1999 Flexitable Limited was formed specifically to handle the sales and marketing of the product.

On 17th March, 1999 UK patent no 2 323 698 was granted and this was followed on 7th December, 1999 by the granting of US patent no 5,997,305.

Getting Flexitable to market…

The Flexitable is now available by direct sales to schools or it can be purchased by the public, schools and educational organisations directly from the manufacturer Flexitable Limited. If you live outside the UK it can be purchased from the distributors shown on the Stockists page paying the appropriate local price.

Supporter of the British Dyslexia Association

Times Educational SupplementRead former Ofsted inspector
John Dabell's TES review of the Flexitables.

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Contact Us

Flexitable Limited

5 Brittons Drive

Billing Lane

Northampton NN3 5DP

Phone: 01604 648111

Fax: 01604 648777

International callers

Phone: 0044 1604 648111

Fax: 0044 1604 648777

Email: admin@flexitable.co.uk