The early years
ROCOL is founded upon the work of Victor Ivanovitch Ragosine, born in Russia, who took a degree in chemistry at the University of Moscow in 1854. Realising Europe’s need for lubricants as its heavy industries rapidly expanded, he produced from astatki (a mineral oil residue previously considered waste) a yellow lubricating oil. This proved to be superior to the vegetable and animal oils then in use, which were prone to induce corrosion in the machines they were supposed to protect. Unlike them the Ragosine oil was virtually non-corrosive.
The production process, using superheated steam, was patented and the oil was subsequently marketed throughout Europe. An English agency was opened in 1878 in London. Four years later the agency manager, Ernest Glehn, bought out the Russian parent’s interest and established his own business – Ragosine and Company.
During the 1920’s Ragosine’s lubrication oils innovations continue to win Gold medal awards at major industrial exhibitions across Europe.
- Z Oils first supplied to Rolls-Royce for aero engines
- Metal barrels used for oils for first time
In the 1930’s, recognising the gradual arms build up across Western Europe and the increased inportance being placed on air power Ragosine developed the Minix 90 aero engine oil to military specification DTD-109. Minix 90 is used by the RAF and supplied to the ever growing number of flying clubs and new passenger airports.
With the introduction of steam turbines Ragosine developed special lubricants for the new breed of luxury ocean-going liners.
When Queen Mary was launched in 1934 she was operating with Ragosine lubricants on board.
During the 1940’s the Ragosine Oil Company played a vital part in the war effort with the development of effective specialised lubricants and greases. Spitfires, Wellingtons, Hurricanes and Lancasters all take to the air using Ragosine products. The war years also saw huge advancements in the field of time, navigation and control instruments. Ragosine developed specialist lubricants to help ensure the reliability and precise accuracy of instruments on military vehicles, aircraft and ships.
In 1953 the Ragosine Oil Company changed its name to ROCOL Ltd. The early 1950’s also sees the introduction of the first passenger jet airlines and the face of travel changed forever. ROCOL products are used on both the de Havilland Comet and the Vicker VC10 in a wide range of lubrication applications under high level flight conditions.
Across the country the post war boom also begins to take shape. The demand for consumer and commercial appliances and equipment grows. To meet this demand, industry needs precision cut metal components. ROCOL produced advanced lubricants to ensure high levels of metal cutting precision and maximum cutting tool life. ROCOL lubricants are used in the assembly and lubrication of mechanical components for domestic appliances like the Empress washing machine. ROCOL lubricants have been used on power station turbines since the 1950’s until the present day.
- RTD launched
- Moly used for first time in lubricants for plane catapults on aircraft carriers
The 1960’s sees a tremendous upsurge in private car ownership. As more and more traffic appears on the roads ROCOL keep it moving smoothly with MOLYSPEED
Oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 1970’s and massive advancements in drilling technology are need in order to reap the rewards. ROCOL develop and supply specialist valve lubricants for use on oil rigs and installations worldwide. In 1978 EASYLINE is launched by ROCOL, an aerosol line marking paint so advanced that is featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World.
As a result of the highly successful launch of EASYLINE, the ROCOL Site Safety division is formed in the early 1980’s. PACERS-a modular speed restriction system becomes the first major range addition. A few of the many notable ROCOL achievements during this period are:
- Helping Richard Noble break the land speed record in Thrust 1
- Collaborating with Airbus to develop specialist grease to be used on the control surfaces of aircraft wings.
- Assisting Frank William’s team of technicians in the build of their championship winning formula 1 race car.
- The launch of the SAPPHIRE
Watch this space!
Watch this space!