Rawlings Brothers started out in London as a small firm of plumbers, broadening their services in response to the changing technological demands. By 1910 the repertoire of Rawlings Brothers Ltd included electrical, sanitary, general engineering, building and decorating.
John Joseph Rawlings, an engineer and building contractor, was engaged by the British Museum to attach electrical fittings to the walls of the museum, in an unobtrusive manner and without damaging the masonry, which was difficult using the traditional method. John J. Rawlings solved the problem by inventing a fibre plug made of jute - known from that day as the Rawlplug. The jute tube weakened along its length by being drawn from reels through a die. Only a small hole was needed to accommodate the plug - this could be made easily and quickly. The screw could be driven into the Rawlplug just as simply as if into wood but the fixing immensely stronger!Rawlings’ idea was that ‘expansion means grip’, as the plug was designed to fully fit the rough outline of the hole not occupied by the screw.
John Rawlings ' idea worked and the first expansion plug was patented by Rawlings Brothers in 1911 (Patent number - 22680/11), which was granted in January 14th 1913.
The Rawlplug trade mark was registered and the fibre plug met with immediate success. It was a product for all types of masonry providing a simple answer to thousands of fixing problems. The plug was a perfect product for the busy building industry, and it rapidly revolutionised the marking of fixings into masonry.
Rawlings Brothers changed the Rawlplug branch of the company to The Rawlplug Company Ltd., operating from Gloucester House in the Cromwell Road and a factory works in Lenthall Place.
Thousands of pounds were spent on demonstration and advertising to promote the small plug that could make a stronger fixing than the much larger wood plug used at the time. In its early days, the company caused a trade sensation by taking a whole front page of the Daily Mail. This paved the way for the retail stockists to advertise in such a manner. The Rawlplug was promoted as an absolutely firm fixing. Rawlplug and the company’s associated products quickly became a global success story.
Demand grew rapidly and large scale production was started in 1920. Rawlings' Rawlplugs started as a worldwide industry and the word "Rawlplug" was added to many languages as a generic term for fixings.
The increasing use of the then new material, reinforced concrete, led to the development and introduction of the Rawlbolt Anchor - the first ever mechanical fixing launched on the market. Rawlbolt overcame many of the problems associated with this then new kind of substrate, like fixing machinery to floors and walls.
In 1934 the Rawlbolt was patented (GB 444623). It consisted of a tubular metal shell divided lengthways into four segments which pressed outwards as the bolt was tightened.
Rawlplug was a listed exhibitor at the British Industries Fairs presenting a massive rage of innovating products: Rawlplugs, Rawlbolts, mechanical hammer, drills, wall tools, Durofix plastic wood, electric soldering iron, Frostolac bathroom fittings
Production started for the first plugs made from extruded plastic, replacing the fibre of the original plug.
The development of the heavy duty anchors range was enriched with the Rawlplug’s Safety Plus anchor for safety critical applications, the R-HPT throughbolt and bonded anchors.
Rawlplug became the first UK manufacturer to obtain European Technical Approval for cracked and non-cracked concrete, when ETA was granted for R-HPT throughbolt.
DIY activity became of great importance and the product and the name "Rawlplug" became household names
Rawlplug became part of the Koelner Group which gives new expansion opportunities to the company and the chance to offer a greater range of products.