The Anvil Pruner is 90 years old

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Anvil Pruner is 90 years old and the world's first was the Original Löwe 1 made, as it is still today, in Kiel, Germany, by what is now Gebr. Schröder GmbH. Happy Birthday Löwe and the Anvil Pruner.

Loewe1It is now 90 years ago that Walther Schröder invented, produced and patented the first ever anvil pruning shears in Kiel, in Northern Germany and his grandson, Randolph Schröder, who is now the managing director of Gebr. Schröder, continues this tradition of high quality products for the horticultural, viticultural and aboricultural trade.

Many professionals appear to advise the use for anvil pruners only for dry wood and bypass pruners for green but I have found that anvil pruners can do both equally well. It is a myth that anvil secateurs cannot deal with thin green materials and that their cut is not good enough for green wood. The opposite rather. But only if the pruners are made to the highest standards and many anvil pruners of the budget range simply are not.

Anvil pruners will cut green wood perfectly, as they will dry, and the thicker the branch will be, the easier the cut with an anvil pruner is. But, if the blades are well sharpened and the tip is being used even the smallest plant materials can be cleanly cut with ease.

It is a popular misconception that anvil pruners will squeeze the branch, that is to say good anvil pruners will not squeeze, and especially not those of the company that invented the anvil pruner, namely Gebr. Schröder, under the Original LÖWE brand, because the secret is the quality of the blade and general construction.

Many cheap anvil pruners from Asia or of medium quality will lose their sharpness immediately after several cuts, and from this point on they may squeeze more than provide a clean cut. And that fact, the medium quality of other brands, discredit the standard of our products and how an anvil pruners has to be. In general it has to be said that anvil pruners offer much more advantages in comparison to bypass pruners. Having a good pair of anvil pruning shears mean the user can cut both dry and green wood without the need for changing tools.

For many years, Löwe anvil pruners – first invented by Walther Schröder in 1923 – were manufactured and sold under license in the UK as 'Rolcut Secateurs'.

In fact, they were manufactured in the UK under license in the time when, after World War One and later World War Two, German products were not permitted to be imported to Britain. “Made in Germany” certainly was not welcome in Britain as too many “Made in Germany” products had been dropped onto the country in a destructive way.

Although Rolcut was a well known brand in the UK the tool design was from a German company using the “Original LÖWE” brand 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 still have a very old small pair or Rolcut pruning shears, much smaller than the Original LÖWE 2 or the Rolcut 7 that I found in a park and have refurbished myself (spare parts are not available for those old Rolcut ones anymore unfortunately). It is probably some 50-60 years old and, aside from some rust on the chrome and the blade, being carbon steel, showing some tarnishing, the secateurs still perform well indeed.

On the occasion of the 90 years anniversary LÖWE have designed pruning shears that are visually representative of their first shears – the Original LÖWE 1 anniversary shears, the LÖWE 1.102.

OL1102__1This Anniversary Edition of the well-known LÖWE 1 combines the most modern technology with nostalgic design:
- Typeface an logo reflect the first shears from the 20s
- Engravings of plant shoots embellish the metal grips and offer a higher resistance to slipping
- Simple, clean cutting of branches up to 25 mm, 1''
- Suitable for the most versatile of applications with almost any species of trees and shrubs
- Nostalgic packaging design

The design is exactly the same as the original LÖWE 1 with the same designs on the handle but made with modern materials and a better lock than those of the ones of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

All parts are replaceable which means should any part ever get damaged in a way that it needs replacing it can and thus the shears can live almost for ever.

Today there are anvil pruners made by and for many different companies and most are now made in the Far East, and in addition to that there are even ratchet secateurs of this Nature. However, none equal, in quality of materials and workmanship the originals made by Gebr. Schröder under the Original LÖWE brand.

When it comes to the using of anvil pruning shears, as with pruning shears in general, the size of the branch to be cut should always be considered and anything that is too big is a job for loppers and not for pruning shears, period. And if that fails then it is a job for the pruning saw. When you have to apply herculean force then you are using the branch is too large and you need to change the tool.

© 2013