The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®

The Early Years

ROCOL was founded upon the work of Russian Victor Ivanovitch Ragosine, 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 1920s Ragosine’s lubrication innovations won gold medal awards at major industrial exhibitions across Europe. Key milestones:

  • Z Oils first supplied to Rolls-Royce for aero engines
  • Metal barrels used for oils for first time



The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®


In the 1930s, recognising the gradual arms build up across Western Europe and the increased importance being placed on air power, Ragosine developed the Minix 90 aero engine oil to military specification DTD-109. Minix 90 was 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 1940s 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 took 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.


The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®


In 1953 the Ragosine Oil Company changed its name to ROCOL Ltd. The early 1950s saw the introduction of the first passenger jet airlines and the face of travel changed forever. 
ROCOL products were used on both the de Havilland Comet and the Vicker VC10 in a wide range of lubrication applications under high level flight conditions. 

The demand for consumer and commercial appliances and equipment grew, post war. ROCOL produced advanced lubricants for metal cutting, providing both precision and maximum cutting tool life. ROCOL lubricants were 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 1950s until the present day.Key milestones:

  • RTD launched
  • Moly used for first time in lubricants for plane catapults on aircraft carriers


The 1960s saw a huge upsurge in private car ownership. As more and more traffic appeared on the roads ROCOL kept it moving smoothly with MOLYSPEED.

The History of ROCOL®
The History of ROCOL®
The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®


With the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1970s, ROCOL developed and supplied 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.



To maximise the successful launch of EASYLINE, the ROCOL Site Safety division was formed in the early 1980s. PACERS, a modular speed restriction system, was the first major range addition.

Key milestones:

  • Helped Richard Noble break the land speed record in Thrust 1 — clarify
  • Collaborated with Airbus to develop specialist grease used on the control surfaces of aircraft wings
  • Assisted Frank William’s team of technicians in the build of their championship winning formula 1 race car
  • The launch of SAPPHIRE
The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®
The History of ROCOL®


Ever the forward thinking company, ROCOL acknowledge the importance of food hygiene and safe practices within food processing facilities. FOODLUBE was launched. Food safe alternatives to standard non-food grade greases and oils but with all the performance benefits expected of the ROCOL brand. A timely venture just before serious outbreaks of listeria and salmonella which lead to increased auditing and tighter regulations for food processing facilities Other notable product launches and collaborations include:

  • Collaborating with Airbus to develop specialist grease to be used on the control surfaces of aircraft wings.
  • Ultracare, advanced service offering for cutting fluid users
  • Work with MOD coinciding with launch of Eurofighter Typhoon and further development of AEROSPEC range
  • Japanese car manufacturers ventured into the UK and ROCOL struck up key partnerships with the likes of Toyota, Honda and Denso
  • ROCOL achieved ISO 9002 certification
  • Joins ITW, Illinois Tool Works, Chicago


Our customers expect innovation and product enhancement. In early 2000’s, that’s what they got. TRI-Logic cutting fluids raised the bar for cutting fluids. Longer lasting and better performing than anything else in the marketplace it was a true market leader. The noughties also brought another fantastic product innovation:

  • EASYLINE EDGE — a line marking system that would revolutionise how companies marked out factory walkways, traffic areas and car parks
  • ROCOLcare was launched as a support function to FOODLUBE customers. Offering surveys and training, helping customers on their TPM journeys
  • ROCOL secured ISO 14001 certification for our environmental management systems
  • We also achieved OHSAS 18001 certification for our manufacturing and safety systems


The History of ROCOL®

The History of ROCOL®


Building on certifications already held, ROCOL continued to push on to become a leading manufacturer in the industry. We secured ISO 21469 certification as well as Halal and Kosher certification, all for our production of food-grade lubricants. Further new additions included:

  • AS 9100 — the international management system standard for the Aircraft, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry
  • Airbus and Boeing approvals for AEROSPEC 3052 general airframe grease
  • Launch of Wireshield and Biogen Wireshield — lubricants and corrosion inhibitors for the marine and offshore industry

ROCOL, a division of ITW

ROCOL is part of ITW, a multi-national US owned, Fortune 150 company. We develop, manufacture and market technically advanced industrial lubricants and line marking systems to industries worldwide.

ROCOL was founded upon the work of Victor Ivanovitch Ragosine, born in Russia, who took a degree in chemistry at the University of Moscow in 1854.

Based in Leeds, UK, the origins of our company date back to 1878 when Victor Ragosine developed a yellow lubricating oil which he subsequently sold throughout Europe. Unlike other lubricating methods the yellow oil was virtually non-corrosive making it technically superior to other products available.

In 1882, the UK agency manager Ernest Glehn bought out Victor and the Russian parent company and established Ragosine and Company, later to be developed into ROCOL.

Whilst we have made significant advances over the years, our ethos remains the same-to create highly technical products of superior quality to the competition, giving you performance you can trust.

ITW Limited and each of its business units in the United Kingdom (“ITW”), including ROCOL, has a long tradition of establishing and complying with high standards of business behavior, standards which often exceed the applicable laws and regulations of those countries in which it operates. It has been and will continue to be the policy of ITW to comply with all applicable laws.

In the complex area of competition law, the Board of Directors of ITW has issued a Compliance Policy and Manual to help ITW personnel understand and comply with UK and EU competition laws. The Board of Directors and all employees of ITW share a commitment and a responsibility to compete fairly and honestly on the basis of price, quality and service, and in full compliance with law and with ITW’s competition policy.