Rolcut secateurs and pruners return to Britain after long absence
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
After a fairly long absence those German-made professional secateurs return to the UK under the original Lowe brand name.
Although Rolcut was a well known brand in the UK the tool design was from a German company called Löwe who had patented the first anvil pruner in 1923. The all metal design and anvil blade made them the toughest pruner available and they were the choice of many professionals and enthusiasts.
In 1928 came the invention of the Original LÖWE pruning shear under the "Rolcut" brand in England by Colonel B.J. Walker. In 1933 Foundation of the company "Fritz Howaldt Ltd." in London where in 1945 Rolcut took over the manufacture in London. In 1994 Rolcut was taken over, so I understand, by Fiskars and deliberately destroyed. Guess they were just too much of a competition.
Mind you, we have seen this same action in Germany when the German Democratic Republic was annexed after the fall of the wall and great companies such as Zeiss Jena and other were deliberately destroyed; in the former case because the original owners of Zeiss Jena are now Zeiss Wetzlar and did not wan the competition from the Jena factory.
I have a small old Rolcut pair that was found abandoned in a park and which I have now – more or less – refurbished, the impetus to which came meeting a representative of Lowe at IOG Saltex 2012 where he was on the Stand of Quality Garden Tools with Dominic Elson.
I had the opportunity at the stand to test a few of the tools and also to take one with me for review, courtesy of Dominic of QGT. Review to follow soon.
All of Lowe's tools are 100% Made in Germany, which is not something that everyone can claim for the legal situation is that if 40% or more is made in Germany it can be called thus. Every part of the tools are made in Germany and all assembly, grinding, etc., are done at the factory in Kiel.
There are a number of improvements to the Lowe secateurs such as the new locking devices and also the fact that some have adjustable jaws and some have adjustable handle opening widths which is also is an aid to keep the cutting action smooth when the blade has begun to wear down though use and resharpening.
The tools that I tested in that short time at the show performed well and were superior to the equivalent competition secateurs that were used and which were Felco.
The anvil system is superior in most cases, bar, maybe, where very close cutting at the stem is required, which could not be used for ordinary pruning anyway, to the bypass secateurs even though it is always claimed, in recent times at least, that anvil pruners should be used for dry wood only and bypass for green.
A sad fact is, however, that the spare parts for the modern Lowe tools do not fit the old UK made Rolcut tools. I would have loved to be able to get some replacement blades for that old little Rolcut pair which I have got.
The Löwe 5.104 of today, though it has plastic handles, is about the size of that small Rolcut which I have but the blade's foot is a slightly different shape to that of my original Rolcut.
Löwe (Loewe) pruning products launched in the UK November 2011 and Quality Garden Tools have been appointed as the sole agent for the UK.