Roemer's Grinding Works

Based on over 100 Years of manufacturing, grinding and sharpening experience, Roemer's Grinding Works produces, grinds and sharpens all types of blades, cutters, saws, guillotines, shear blades, granulators and circular blades.

Established in 1899 and still growing strong, the 3rd generation of family are running the business. Our staff come to learn, then stay for many years with only one thing on their mind, a sign emblazoned above our factory door "THINK QUALITY". All our products and our work is checked and procedures and processes improved upon, with QUALITY in mind.

Our prices are very competitive, all products are manufactured here on the premises which allows us to meet our deadlines and your expectations. Our blades will be in your machine long before any imported blade has left the foreign harbour, and we supply a very large variety of blades. Steel is acquired locally or imported from German mills. Please see more on that in our product section.

We are proudly South African, having produced cutting products for South Africa for almost 120 years. You can see our 30 odd machines; consisting of planers, grinders, milling machines, lathes and sharpeners, hard at work or perhaps ask about our furnaces that produce our hardened steel. Feel free to come by on Wednesdays and Thursdays for a 'mini tour' (by appointment only). Please contact us or pop in for a quotation.

Roemer's Grinding Works Timeline

  1. 1899


    Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding works is opened at 18 Castle Street, Cape Town.

    Mr Roemer is the sole director with his son and two daughters being minimal shareholders. Miss Wiid is the secretary.

  2. 1902


    Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa

    Roemer's mostly do sharpening of domestic knives, surgical blades, razors, scissors, choppers, saws and the occasional sword. Much of what we still do today.

  3. 1926


    Companies Act of 1926 came into legislation as the first of its kind in South Africa.

  4. 1935


    There is very little record of Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding Works up until 1935, due to the slow implementation of the Companies Act on small businesses.

    Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding Works is incorporated as a (Pty) Ltd.

  5. 1940


    Mr. A B Roemer dies at the age of 65.

    Mr Roemer's sole named Heiress of his estate is neither able, nor willing to take over the business.

    On the 9th of August, Mr Howard Verrinder buys all shares and the business as a running concern. He becomes the sole director of Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding Works (Pty) Ltd.

    Mr Verrinder loans the company £150 to pay off all creditors and resolves to embark on a conservative advertising campaign to develop the business on sound and progressive lines.

  6. 1941


    Mr Verrinder opens a branch shop at 11 Parliament Street, a portion of which is sub-let to a Mr Hans Kramer; the Music Box, for £21,50. This was the first of many tenants.

    In 1943 the Music Box went into liquidation. Mr Kramer eventually went on to open Long Street's Home of Music which was, for a time, the city's largest and only retailer of Classical Music. Mr Kramer was, in 1955, the founder of the Cape Town Concert Club which is still very active today. www.ctconcert.co.za

    A Mr RW Hill buys a portion of the company and shares directorship with Mr Verrinder.

    Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding Works (Pty) Ltd goes private and shares are re-issued with Mr Hill owning the majority, 2/3 of them.

  7. 1942


    Miss Wiid resigns and over the next year, many secretaries come and go. Although not blatantly stated, records suggest that this is due to office politics.

  8. 1943


    Stock shortages arise due to WWII, and a budget is set up to allow the directors to travel to secure suppliers.

    In September Mr Verrinder transfers all shares to Mr Hill and retires.

  9. 1951


    The Münch Family arrive in South Africa, having escaped the terrors of East Germany, with little more than the clothes on their back.

    Mr Münch, a qualified engineer from Germany who played a big role during and post WWII in his field, puts his thrifty, hardworking, industrious German values to work as he sets out to build up all that he had lost in Germany, and more...

  10. 1958


    Mr Hill appoints Mr P Conway and Mr P Polson on the board of directors and it is business as usual.

    Mr Hill retains all shares in the company.

  11. 1961


    Mr Cohen along with Messrs L and G Berg run the company on the same model as Mr Hill.

    Mr B Münch buys Roemer's Cutlery and Grinding Works (Pty) Ltd.

    The factory, needing more space, moves to Bree Street.

    Mr Münch buys Speirs Grinding Works and incorporates the two businesses under the new Roemer's Grinding Works (Pty) Ltd.

    Later that year, they move to Salt River Road.

  12. 1964


    Mr Errol Weiner joins the company as apprentice to Mr Pierce, the foreman/factory manager.

    Mr E Weiner has been the longest standing employee at Roemer's Grinding Works and still today works as a consultant, although he is now retired.

  13. 1966


    Mr Münch buys the properties of 18 - 24 Durham Avenue and builds the 3 story Lucida House (named after the Camera Lucida that he used to manufacture in post war Germany).

    The new factory had a whopping 5 machines. Today, Lucida House is still our home.

    Mr Münch believed that the only way to have a thriving and successful business is to do something that no-one else can do. This was his secret, the thing that has made Roemer's what it is today.

  14. 1968


    In September of 1968, Roemer's registered with the National Council for Iron, Steel, Engineering and Metallurgical Industry. Today, this falls under the MEIBC.

  15. 1972


    Mr R Laudien, Mr Münch's son-in-law starts at the bottom, on the factory floor, learning the machines.

    As in Mr Hill's time, the first and second floors are rented out for extra income.

  16. 1980


    Mrs A Laudien, Mr Münch's only child, becomes involved in company affairs.

  17. 1983


    Machinery and Occupational Safety Act comes into effect for all factories, Roemer's conforms to this act

  18. 1984


    It is ruled, in 1973, that all companies have to register their scope of work and on 3/12/1984, according to the Registration of Factories, Roemer's falls under and is declared in this group.

  19. 1985


    Mr Münch's heath begins to severely deteriorate, but he continues to work despite this.

  20. 1992


    Mr Münch dies from severe lung failure. Mrs Laudien takes over directorship, alongside her mother Mrs T Münch and begins working in accounts on a permanent basis.

  21. 1993


    Mr R Laudien takes over from his wife as Director, alongside Mrs Münch.

    Occupational Health and Safety Act is signed and aims to provide all persons within a company's workforce and all those connected to the company with/with access to the company, with a safe working environment. Roemer's becomes compliant.

  22. The 90's


    The business continues to grow, building a sound reputation based on Mr Münch's secret and our motto:

    The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

    Many new machines are bought and the ground floor is jam packed with both machines and mounds of work.

  23. 1995


    The Labour Relations Act is signed and aims to promote economic development, social justice, labour peace and democracy in the workplace.

  24. 2000


    Mr R Laudien tragically falls and damages his spine. Although he does not lose full mobility, he must go through rigorous rehabilitation in order to gain some function. He is unable to be at the factory, but it is still 'business as usual'.

  25. 2001


    Mrs A Laudien passes suddenly.

    Mrs M Laudien begins working at Roemer's, taking over from Mrs A Laudien, her mother-in-law, in accounts.

  26. 2002


    Roemer's is elected as a founder member of the Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

  27. 2007


    Roemer's Grinding Works (Pty) Ltd still plods along, doing it's same tried and tested business. Nothing exceptional really happens.

    Mr WB Laudien becomes director of Roemer's, alongside his father

    Mr W Laudien starts to make changes at the company with his first big project being security. With the increasing crime in the area, it is imperative that an extensive system be installed, including: burglar bars, CCTV and rollup doors. During this time, Roemer's also becomes a member of the Neighbourhood Security Upliftment project and has one of their security cameras attached to the building.

  28. 2008


    Roemer's acquires a new big machine...the Reform 40. This opens up some new doors and gives the company a chance to take on more work. Over the next few years, Roemer's buys new machines and refines its processes, computerises much of the office and continues to grow from strength to strength.

    The Consumer Protection Act comes into play and Roemer's is compliant in providing the best service and protecting the interest of consumers.

  29. 2010


    Roemer's, still renting out the 2nd floor of Lucida House, now makes a move to occupy the 1st floor as space is becoming limited.

  30. 2011


    Roemer's acquires 2 new surface grinders.

    The expansion to the 1st floor is complete.

  31. 2012


    With impending power supply issues from the national grid, Mr W Laudien embarks on a project to provide solar power to the building.

    Roemer's becomes B-BBEE compliant

  32. 2014


    Over the next 2 years, Roemer's converts all its big drawing machines so that they pull less power, energy saving bulbs are installed and the entire factory goes through an electrical revamp.

    By the end of 2014, the entire office and 20% of the factory are running off solar power. Find out more on our Green Page

  33. 2016


    Mr W Laudien buys a new additional furnace and Roemer's now has 2 hardening furnaces and 1 tempering furnace. The quenching room is adapted into a furnace and quenching room and new lights blaze through the factory telling everyone the furnaces are running.

    Mrs C Karshagen (Mr W Laudien's eldest daughter) joins the company as a buyer and stock controller.

    New signage is erected on the building with the grinding man hard at work as the lights flash through the night.

  34. 2017


    Roemer's begins a new in-house training and assessment program.

  35. 2018


    New furnace was purchased and began functioning, allowing Roemer's to manufacture longer blades and in greater quantities.

  36. 2020


    COVID-19 hits South Africa with full force. Roemer's, being an essential service manages to gain the permits to stay open, but with drastic limits and restrictions. For the first time in 121 years of doing business, the company has to implement a system of short time and layoff - a sad day for many of our staff. Mr W Laudien tries to assist his staff as best he can, by offering leave pay-outs and food parcels. With not knowing what the future will bring, it is a very scary time for Roemer's as a company and for all South Africans.

    With the greatest good fortune, Roemer's is allowed to open their doors again at full capacity, later in the year, thus allowing them to re-employ all their staff. Though the uncertainty and worry about the future still hangs heavy on Mr W Laudien's shoulders, Roemers donkeys on as its age-old self, with everyone teaming together to make things happen, to keep it going, securing new business and providing the top QUALITY standard they are so well known for.

    Mr R Laudien retires

    "As we announce Mr. Reiner Laudien's official retirement I am reminded of the first day, about 48 years ago when Mr. Laudien arrived to join the company, from which was then known as South West Africa with his Kombi loaded with furniture and a fishing rod to temporally store in the factory.

    Mr Laudien was being groomed by the then owner, his father-in-law Mr Munch to take over the business.

    He was exemplary in his task and made vast changes and improvements to change the way the business was run, buying new machinery, and changing the old system to keep up with the times.

    Amongst the many assets Mr Laudien has is that he also a qualified electrical engineer, and this was a valuable contribution to finding faults and repairing of our machinery ourselves, and so much of this knowledge he has passed on to me.

    The tragic and unfortunate accident he had 20 years ago, where has was hospitalised for many months and despite being partly immobilised, he did his utmost to be at Roemers Grinding Works, the place he loves and still care about.

    Through pain and discomfort and perhaps an overdose of stubbornness he continued.

    Needless to say; it was the time for his son, Wolf to join and take the business to another level, which he so successfully has done, and is still doing.

    I recall when I nervously tried to steer the business from his hospital bed as he guided me to make very important decisions, he would comfort me by saying that if I make a mistake, only make it once.

    And in a vulnerable moment he would say, "what about my children" referring to his staff.

    That for me, is the measure of the man, and I wish I could charge my glass, and you your silver chalice and say - PROST old friend.

    So, in conclusion, I wish you a peaceful and comfortable and pain free retirement - CHEERS."

    - Errol Wiener

    "I know him for 34 years which is more than a lifetime for most. He was always like a father figure to me, a family orientated man. I was fortunate to have worked with him and Mr Munch, two totally different characters. I was also the time of his accident, very uncertain times for the company. This is when his character shone through. His heart was always for the business. His recovery was a long process but still he was still concerned and involved in the business.

    Things that I personally can take from knowing him is that he always said working smart is always better than working hard. He always said that the guys should always look after their monies.

    He was approachable, always asking about family. He made an effort to know the families of the guys.

    We also had our moments of disagreement, but always managed to resolve.

    He had a keen business mind – never do something other do, was his words.

    I wish him all the best and it was an honour to know him. If you ever need upliftment, you look at his fighting spirit and carry on."

    - Mr Herman

    - Mr P du Preez is hired as General Manager, He begins implementing changes to the company's policies and procedures to bring Roemer's up to date with the modern trends and OHS requirements.

    - Ms C Laudien (Mr W Laudien's eldest daughter) takes over the role of bookkeeper.

    - Mr Neil Green, the production foreman, resigns after 22 years with Roemer's, to be with his family during these trying times with COVID.