Lasher’s Mission: Servicing Africa and the World with a branded range of quality hand tools
Lasher Tools’ commitment to the superior product is clearly reflected in standards of quality that competitors struggle or simply fail to match!
Seventy-seven years ago, the first shovel manufactured by the African Shovel Company appeared on the South African market and today, the company – now well-known as Lasher Tools – is still making shovels of all shapes and sizes, as well as a host of similar tools. It was a firm of mining engineers, Blane & Co. Ltd., which founded African Shovel in 1928 with a factory in Barlow Street, Germiston. Shovels were followed by picks, spades forks and other garden and mining tools and the workforce, in those days, had a core of men from Sheffield, England. Sixty-four people were on the payroll by the early 1930s. Today the Lasher team consists of over six hundred able bodies all working together to produce tough, reliable tools, guaranteed. Steel was imported from England until Iscor material became available in 1939 and ash handles were also imported until experiments with local timber proved successful. Even stinkwood was tried! The Second World War produced supply problems of course and local materials had to be used almost exclusively, although it had been company policy to use local material wherever possible from the beginning.
Not only did the firm survive those trying times, but in 1950, built a second factory in what was then Aerodrome Road (now Sigma Road, Industries West, Germiston). Spear & Jackson of England (which held a minority shareholding in the firm) opened a saw factory in Vanderbijlpark in 1948, which was taken over by African Shovel in 1962 and, at the same time, Blane & Co. – which was already handling sales and marketing of the shovel division – took on Spear & Jackson saws as well. In 1971, the Norton Group took a controlling interest in African Shovel Co. and the name was changed to Lasher Tools. The task of removing rock and rubble with shovels was known as lashing and the Scottish miners who came to South Africa at the turn of the last century were known as Lashers.
Lasher Tools finally became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norton in 1973. Growth from this period demanded new factory premises, which were built in Ladysmith. Here, saws, blades and cane knives are made. Current manufacturing facilities can supply the whole South African market as well as providing sufficient volume for export. With home markets firmly established in mining, building and construction, agriculture and forestry and the DIY market, exports have been an important part of growing the business for the past twenty-five years. Today, some fifteen percent of production goes overseas; UK, Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, and Indian Ocean Islands.
The export operation is certainly not treated as a sideline for there is a fully equipped department to deal with this side of the business. In 1989, Ussher Inventions, Lasher Tools’ biggest competitor, bought out Lasher Tools making Lasher Tools the largest manufacture of non-mechanical tools in Africa. Ussher Inventions can also boast of a very long and proud history having been founded in 1913. They manufactured the first South African wheelbarrow in 1922. Production at the Wadeville, Germiston plant can be divided into three parts – forgings, pressings, and finishing. In the forging shop, raw billets of steel are fashioned, red hot, into picks and mattocks. Shovels, spades, and wheelbarrows are sheared and pressed from sheet steel. The finishing shop puts it all together with finishes of either bitumen, lacquer or powder coating. Lasher Tool produces in excess of 1 200 different stock items. Click on the products below. They are on sale!
At Lasher Tools, a shovel isn’t just a shovel – there are far more shapes and sizes than most people would imagine. Apart from the more obvious varieties such as round-nose and square-mouth blades, there are types for firing steam locomotives, cleaning ash from industrial boilers, solid socket shovels, and pit pan shovels. We even make chrome-plated ceremonial spades. Specialized products are also made for customers, with close attention being paid to client relations for ultimate satisfaction. Lasher’s aspiration for the future is to continue with its mission statement of servicing Africa and the world with a branded range of quality hand tools. As long as there are buildings to erect, roads to build, fields to sow and hoe, mines to mine and gardens to grow, we will continue to manufacture tough, reliable tools. Guaranteed.