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The history of Rolux Fishing Rods

 
A brief history - "Luxor" to "Rolux" from 1967 on.
New Rolux collage(copy) The start of the 60's saw the birth of "Luxor" fishing rods, named after the city in Egypt where some of our troops, (including my father Ron and his brother Ken), were stationed in WWII.

Because of a name clash with a fishing reel manufacturing company in Europe who were already using the "Luxor" name, the letters were re-hashed to form the name "Rolux".
These rods were initially marketed by R.J. Bain & Co. Ltd. through its branches in Christchurch and Auckland.

R.J.Bain & Co Ltd.
 
was started by my father, Ron Bain, when he came back from WW2. and imported sports products from India, Pakistan, Australia and Japan and other places. Unfortunately Dad passed away suddenly aged 47 in 1965 after playing a game of Badminton.

During the following 46 years, there were many changes to the business structure, involving the formation of new companies and the design of new products and services. Rolux fishing rods have been constantly evolving to keep pace with changing requirements of the New Zealand fishing public.
 
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01-Top-023 300(copy) Early photographs of Fishing rod factory located in St. Asaph St. Christchurch.

This iconic building was destroyed in the earthquake of 22nd Feb 2011.


There is now nothing left there but a flattened building site.
   
   
   
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The "Luxor" name was used in 1967 for reels imported from Europe,

 
Luxor fishing rods changed to Rolux fishing rods at this time and remains to this day.
 
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Early Luxor Solid fibreglass fishing rods assembled in Christchurch.
   
 



Early "Luxor" sponsored rally car. A far cry from today's specialised machines.
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Rod building in the early days.

 
Assembling solid glass Rolux fishing rods with wooden handles, chrome brass reel seats, ferrules and guides.


The wooden handles were turned in Christchurch as this was before modern materials were available to make handles from.

 
 
The emphasis back then was on large runs of a cheaper product and it was common for batches of up to 500 rods to be assembled at one time.
   
   
   
 
An early range of Rolux rods.
 
In the early days, rods were built from solid fibreglass blanks with wooden or rubber handles and grips. Two piece rods were joined with chrome brass ferrules and the guides were made from chromed brass also. Rods were bound with striped or solid coloured binding cotton from Gudebrod and dip finished with a low fill varnish.
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In 1972, New Zealand Fishing Tackle Ltd.

was incorporated to take over the manufacture and supply of fishing rods to the New Zealand and Australian markets. Blanks were imported from Jarvis Walker and Australian Tackle Sales in Australia, and from Sportex GMBH in Germany. The rods were assembled and finished in Christchurch. Chrome guides, ferrules and reel seats were imported from Japan and the binding threads from Gudebrod in the USA and Hyogo Products in Japan.
   
 
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The solid glass rods were produced under the "Rolux" brand while the hollow glass rods were assigned the "Profile" brand.
 
The hollow fibreglass blanks originally came as 1 pce. construction only and had to be cut down if you wanted a 2 pce. rod. A ferrule had to then be added to these blanks to allow easy assembly and dissassembly. Initially chrome brass ferrules were used, with specially reinforced ones on larger Surf and Salmon rods.
 
 Finely machined aluminium "featherlite" ferrules specifically for Fly rods arrived after a few years which were lighter and stronger with closer tolerances and incorporating a rubber O-ring to make for smoother operation.

 
 
 
     
 
Tapered fibreglass spigot ferrules.

The next evolution of the ferrule involved precisely tapering solid fibreglass spigots which would be epoxied into the top of the Butt section and sanded to provide a perfect fit.

These ferrules would secure the 2 pieces together but would also twist free when you needed to break down the rod.

A light covering of parafin wax was used on the ferrule to prevent the 2 sections from locking together.





 
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A trial fibreglass pultrusion plant was built in the late 1970's but was not to prove initially viable  with over 60% reject rate. The main problems being internal cracking which mean't that the glass was not suitable for tapering for rod blanks.
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Diagram of a modern Fibreglass Pultrusion plant.
The product being manufactured moved from the left to the right.
 
Starting with the raw fibreglass materials in racks at the start of the machine. The fibreglass then passes through a resin bath and pre-formers into a heated, highly polished steel die where the finished shape of the product is formed.
 
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I personally took over the brand and factory operations in 1983, promptly fixed the solid fibreglass rod pultrusion and centre-less grinding processes and the reject rate dropped to less than 1%.



 
This made for a viable rod blank facility that was used predominantly for Boat rods.
 
An Ohmiya centreless grinding machine was used for tapering solid fibreglass rods for Boat rod blanks. The word "Centreless" referred to the fact that the parallel Pultruded  fibreglass rod that the process started with was not held at the ends like in a lathe, but sat on a hardened steel anvil while it rotated and passed through the machine. A large grinding wheel and a hard rubber control wheel spin at high speed and because of the setup angles of these wheels, the rod was drawn through the wheels on the anvil while spinning at high speed. 4-Top-002(copy)
At this stage the rod would only be ground down to the parallel size that would be required for the Butt end of the blank.
 
 To provide the taper and action required in the finished blank, the wheels moved in by hydraulics as the rod passed through the machine. The tip size could be set, along with the speed the wheels moved in at, and the start position for grinding was also altered to suit the finished characteristics required in the blank.The whole process required a constant supply of water to be sprayed onto the rod as it was ground to prevent fibreglass dust.
 
The eighties was a difficult time for New Zealand manufacturers as we entered the global market place and cheap Asian imports flooded into the country. As a manufacturer, Rolux had to adapt to survive. To compete with these products purely on a cost basis was impossible and we had to automate many processes and reduce our base cost structure, while offering a product that was not available from the Asian fishing rod importers.
 
Top-046(copy) In the mid to late 80's I shifted the emphasis of the company to providing superior quality fishing rods, from solid glass boat rods to hollow, composite and graphite casting rods up to high modulus IM6 and IMX graphite fly and Lure rods. By selling direct from the factory, we were able to offer these rods at an affordable price. Every rod that left the factory was backed up by my personal guarantee.
 
As time progressed, the rods became more complex and utilized better, more specialised hardware and materials. Rod building became a delicate balance between science, engineering  and art. More time and care was taken in the design, building and finishing process.
 
 
In 1988, as a proud New Zealand manufacturer, we became founding members of the "Buy New Zealand made" campaign.
 
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For a few years, we concentrated our efforts in the industrial fibreglass side of the business. The majority of our fibreglass products were exported to Australia, which was our largest market and going as far afield as the African continent. IAEA(copy)
 
We were also chosen by the International Atomic Energy Agency to supply 10,000 high tensile 2.0M fibreglass rods to act as carrier rods for special Mosquito traps in West Africa. These were instrumental in drastically reducing mosquito born diseases in the areas where they were deployed.
 
8-image0-034(copy)(copy) Recent history.
 
After selling off the Fibreglass Pultrusion business for health reasons, and suffering damage from the earthquakes, I have changed the direction of ROLUX and shifted the emphasis back to the fishing rod business that I love.
 
Rolux is now what I would consider to be a constantly evolving "boutique niche market business".
 
While we go through the re-build process, I will be able to offer more products and services on an ongoing basis. The good news being that I will be able to concentrate all my efforts on providing the best service and products relating to Fishing Rods, that I can.
 
 I specialise in the area of Rod design, Custom building, Repairs, Renovations & Re-builds & providing Rod components to the home builder.
 
pegs collage logos(copy) We have also been manufacturing and selling New Zealand's top brand of moulded plastic tent pegs under the "Crown" brand for over 33 years.
 
 Manufactured from high impact red polypropylene, these pegs are light, colourful and tough. To compliment the range of pegs, we also manufacture rope slides in 6.5 cm and 10 cm lengths as well as a flexible keyhole tensioners, also under the "Crown" brand. See further information on the "Plastic tent pegs" page.




              
Fishing rods by Rolux a name you can trust.

 
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