Next Return Previous

StarRollgliss

100 Personal 200 Tactical A 200 Tactical B 200 Tactical C
100 Personal 200 Tactical A 200 Tactical B 200 Tactical C
 
Version A Version B Version C Version D
200 Industrial A 200 Industrial B 200 Industrial C 200 Industrial D

Overview


Here is a quick summary of the versions in my collection:

ID Description Body Control Rope Closure Made
906 Model 100 pesonal Cast Al Bidirectional handle with knob 5.5 mm Hex cap screw Around 1986
907 Model 200 Tactical, Version A Cast Al Unidirectional handle with knob 9 mm. Screw knob Early-mid 1980s
908 Model 200 Tactical, Version B Cast Al Bidirectional lever & fixed arm 9 mm. Screw knob Around 1985-85
593 Model 200 Tactical, Version C Milled Al Bidirectional lever & fixed arm 9 mm. Screw knob 1993
939 Model 200 Industrial, Version A Cast Al Unidirectional handle with knob 9 mm. Hex cap screw Early-mid 1980s
940 Model 200 Industrial, Version B Cast Al Bidirectional lever & fixed arm 10 mm. Hex cap screw 1987
941 Model 200 Industrial, Version C Cast Al Bidirectional lever & fixed arm 11 mm. Hex cap screw 1987
594 Model 200 Industrial, Version D Milled Al Bidirectional lever & fixed arm 9 mm. Hex cap screw 1994

Rollgliss 100, Personal Rescue Model
(#906)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 100 from International Safety Equipment in November 2001. It was probably manufactured around 1986.

My Rollgliss 100 is 152 mm. tall, 76 mm. wide, 29 mm. thick, and weighs 349 g.

The Rollgliss 100 is essentially a smaller version of the Rollgliss 200, intended for use on 7 mm. rope. The device an enclosed horizontal spool with a lever-operated brake. There are three major pieces cast from aluminum: a body, a cover plate and a braking lever. Minor parts include a hinge pin, an Allen-head closure cap screw, a lever axle, a thread insert in the cover, two washers, and two retaining clips.

The body is basically rectangular with a fixed rope channel extensionin the top and a clip-in eye on a projection at the base. The rope channel is milled into the device. Starting at the top left, a 19 mm. deep channel is milled 29 mm. down the left side doglegs 9 mm. left around a 12 mm. diameter area, then turns 90° counter-clockwise (16 mm. centerline radius), then turns 360° clockwise on a 17.5 mm. radius, forming a spool for the rope to run over. An undercut is milled into the spool so that the rope rides around a 35 mm. diameter drum, and a small lip reduces the rope running area to a 16 mm. width. The rest of the rope channel is 9 mm. deep. It starts at the 9-o’clock position on the spool, runs up the left side of the body, and makes a 180° bend (13 mm. centerline radius) at the top left corner of the device. Portions of this are also undercut. The rope path then turns 45° counter-clockwise around the lever, then clockwise 45° (non-circular arc) and leaves the lower-right corner of the body. A depression is cast in the center of the drum, and a hole drilled for the closure bolt. The upper-right is milled out to provide room for the lever. The lever pivots on a steel axle pressed into the body.

The lever is milled so that it contacts the rope over perhaps 120° of the rope’s circumference. The contact area is eccentric so that the rope runs smoothly when the lever is in the middle position. When the lever is moved in either direction, the rope is squeezed between the lever and the body. The lever is held on the body by a flat washer and an external retaining clip. A 24 mm. spherical plastic knob is bolted to the end of the lever with a small Allen-head bolt.

The front plate is hinged to the left side of the body. It has a projection that fits into the depressions milled in the body; however, the projection is too small to serve as an alignment pin. The projection is drilled, threaded, and fixed with a steel thread insert for the closure bolt to engage.

The 8 mm. closure bolt passes through the hole in the center of the drum. It requires a 6 mm. Allen wrenc to open the device. The bolt is not retained and is easily lost.

The front plate has "rollgliss 100" cast into the outside surface. The arm has "stop" and a down arrow cast into the front and back. These point down when viewed from the front and up on the rear (the arm is symmetrical, and both directions are stop directions).

The inside has "2000 Y" in raised letters. This is covered with a red, black and white sticker that shows how to rig the device. There is a small sticker on the back that reads as follows:

Rettungseräte BRDA
D-8112 Bad Kohlgrub Lkr. Garmisch
Tel. 08845/422 Telex 059426

Comments

Doug Miles of International Safety Equipment sent me some notes on the history of the Rollgliss 200:

Walter Brda, (the son of the original Rollgliss inventor - and the then president of the Rollgliss company), --- insisted that I "purchase" these ’final-prototypes’ --- at the time. So he sold me… the ’final-prototype’ of the 100 model a year or two before his death in 1987. After this long --- I can't remember what I paid.

Brda’s original concept was that the 100 unit would be used for "personal-rescue." He was never a practical man and figured it would be an easy task to convince Americans that a personnel high-rise rescue system, (with a selling price of $600. - $800.), --- would be as accepted as your shaving kit… It was always a real-project trying to bring a little reality into our dealings. As far as I'm aware Rollgliss never actually went into production with the 100 unit.

The Rollgliss 100 is a nice, small unit, but not very practical. In the first place, the idea of rappelling on 5.5 mm. rope does not appeal to me. Second, I don't like the idea of having to carry an Allen wrench simply to rig my descender. The Rollgliss 100 works, but I can't recommend it for serious use.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Tactical Model, Version A
(#907)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from International Safety Equipment in November 2001. It was probably manufactured in the early to mid-1980’s.

My Rollgliss 200 Tactical, Version A, is 199 mm. tall, 104 mm. wide, 49 mm. thick, and weighs 764 g.

This is an early version of the 200, but many of the design features seen in the later versions are unchanged, so I’ll only describe differences from Tactical Model Version C.

Thre are two major functional design differences between versions A and C. First, the brake arm on this Version is shorter, and has a large plastic knob attached by an Allen-head screw. Its rope face is shaped so that it brakes in the "up" position. It does not brake in both directions like later versions do. Second, this Version has a carabiner eye on the top instead of the fixed arm.

This version is constructed differently than Version C. The body, cover and brake arm are cast aluminum. The body appears to be made of three castings, but I can't be certain without destroying the device. It appears that separate pieces were used to form the lip of the spool and the upper bollard, then pressed into place. There was some milling done to smooth the spool and upper bollard. There is a second opening in the bottom of the device, but it does not appear to serve a useful purpose.

The only markings on this Version Are "rollgliss 200" and some decorative lines cast into the cover, and "STOP" and a down arrow cast into the front and back sides of the brake arm.

Comments

The finish on this version is crude compared to later models; however, it is sufficient.

In October 2000, Doug Miles of International Safety Equipment sent me some notes on the history of the Rollgliss 200:

Walter BRDA, (the son of the original Rollgliss inventor - and the then president of the Rollgliss company), --- insisted that I "purchase" these ’final-prototypes’ --- at the time. So he "sold" me… the military version ’final-prototype’ of the 200… a year or two before his death in 1987. After this long --- I can't remember what I paid him.

As I remember we bought the rest of the red industrial 200 units a year or two later. Sales of the 200 units never took off --- mostly because they were just too damn expensive. They were well made, and worked pretty well, but cost way too much.

Now that I'm reflecting back I can remember actually naming the 100 and the 200 systems for him. He wanted to use some German word like rollgliss, (which means --- rolls --- smooth as silk --- by the way), --- I told him that a simple numeric model number would make the systems more sellable, at least here in the USA and Canada.

In November 2001, Doug provided some additional history:

During the evolution of the 200 units Brda went from only one karabiner mounting tabs, (originally - only on the bottom), to one top and one bottom, then back to the single karabiner mounting hole on the bottom.

He also changed the operating slide/braking handles from one short handle with a knob to a pair of longer straight --- operating handles.

The final evolution being the dual handle design: with one stationary handle and one that slides up and down to regulate descent speed. The dual handle design enables the operator to reach around both handles with one hand and enables you to "feather" your handle pressure.

His original design of one short knob handle had you making a jerky descent because it was very difficult to regulate the pressure. You ended up reaching around the line and the knob handle, and it didn't work very well, so Walter changed it. As I remember --- he had maybe 5 or 6 evolution’s as he went through the design process.

I agree with Doug’s assessment of the braking arm.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Tactical Model, Version B
(#908)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from International Safety Equipment in November 2001. This is an intermediate version of the 200 (probably dating from 1985 or 1986) so I’ll only describe differences between this model and Tactical Model Version A and Version C.

My Rollgliss 200 Tactical, Version B, is 237 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 43 mm. thick, and weighs 832 g.

This version is still cast, but the finish is much nicer than the one on Version A. The body appears to have been cast as a unit and subsequently milled (there are no signs that it was assembled in pieces as Version A was). The nonfunctional bottom slot was eliminated, and the top carabiner eye was replaced by a fixed handle (quite literally - the casting still had the eye, but this is cut off and the upper arm bolted into place with an Allen-head screw running the length of the handle). The brake handle is the same as on Tactical Version C. Inside, the integral "bump" appearing at tge 10-o’clock position on the spool is absent. In it’s place, a 6 mm. rod is pressed in from the side of the body.

The only markings are "rollgliss 200" and some decorative lines cast into the cover, and "9" stamped onto the brake arm.

Comments

The new braking arm and the fixed arm added to the top of the descender makes it much easier to smoothly control one’s descent. As for the eliminating the top carabiner eye, I don't think that it is essential so eliminating it really didn't hurt anything.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Tactical Model, Version C
(#593)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from Jay Kennedy in June 2001. It was manufactured in 1993.

My Rollgliss 200 Tactical, Version C, is 237 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 44 mm. thick, and weighs 887 g.

The Rollgliss 200 is an enclosed horizontal spool with a lever-operated brake. There are three major pieces milled from aluminum: a body, a cover plate and a braking lever. Minor parts include a hinge pin, a closure bolt with knurled knob, a thread insert in the cover, two washers, and two retaining clips.

The body is basically rectangular with a fixed arm extending from the top and a clip-in eye on a projection at the base. The rope channel is milled into the device. Starting at the top left, a 28 mm. deep channel is milled 35 mm. down the left side, then turns 90° counter-clockwise (20 mm. centerline radius), then turns 360° clockwise on a 32 mm. radius, forming a spool for the rope to run over. An undercut is milled into the spool so that the rope rides around a 49 mm. diameter drum, and a small lip reduces the rope running area to a 25 mm. width. The rest of the rope channel is 14 mm. deep. It starts at the 9-o’clock position on the spool, runs up the left side of the body, and makes a 180° bend (21 mm. centerline radius) at the top left corner of the device. Portions of this are also undercut. The rope path then turns 45° counter-clockwise around the lever, then clockwise 45° (non-circular arc) and leaves the lower-right corner of the body. A depression is milled in the center of the drum, and a hole drilled for the closure bolt. A similar depression is milled in the center of the 180° bend. The upper-right is milled out to provide room for the lever, but a post is left for the lever to pivot on.

The lever is milled so that it contacts the rope over perhaps 120° of the rope’s circumference. The contact area is eccentric so that the rope runs smoothly when the lever is in the middle position. When the lever is moved in either direction, the rope is squeezed between the lever and the body. The lever is held on the body by a flat washer and an external retaining clip.

The front plate is hinged to the left side of the body. It has two projections that fit into the depressions milled in the body; however, the projections are too small to serve as alignment pins. The lower one is drilled, threaded, and fixed with a steel thread insert for the closure bolt to engage. The upper projection is non-functional.

The closure bolt passes through the hole in the center of the drum and is held in place by a flat washer and a horseshoe clip. The bolt head is a 30 mm. diameter knurled knob.

The front plate has "rollgliss 200" and some decorative lines milled into the outside surface. The inside has "2000 Y" in raised letters. This is covered with a red, black and white sticker that shows how to rig the device. Three things are labeled: "1. thimble eye" for the rope, "2. fixed counter grip" for the fixed arm, and "3. brake lever in brake position," "running position," and "stop position" for the brake lever. A second sticker reads as follows:

Indispensable
-Pay attention to the Manual
-Function check of the brake lever without rope
-Check all positions of the brake lever with rope

The lever arm has "2000 Y 2 " in raised characters (except the final 2, which is stamped) on the cam portion and "9." engraved on the arm.

The outside of the body has a sticker that reads as follows (red numerals are typed):

Rollgliss AG
Rettungseräte
Rescue Systems
CH-2545 Selzach

[GS logo with "geprüfte Sicherheit"]Typ:rollgliss 200

Fabr. Nr.: 0399 Serial No.
Baujahr: 1993 produced

max.Abseilhöhe: 150 m
rope down limited: 500 feet
max Abseillast: 150 kg
max. weight capacity
330 lbs
Eigengewicht: 0,8 kg
weight of equipment
1,76 lbs
Das Seil muß vom Geräste-
hersteller bezogen werden
use of original Rollgliss AG
ropes only

A sticker on the hinge says "Warning" and lists the following items:

1. Observe Instruction Manual
2. Don't open the device under charge
3. Ensure that the rope does not
turn over any sharp edges
4. Avoid slack rope

Comments

The Rollgliss 200 is very well made, and on rappel it performs quite well, although it should only be used with 9 mm. ropes. This is why the brake lever is engraved with a "9." There were other levers available for 10- and 11 mm. rope (an 11 mm. rope will fit in the shell). The Rollgliss is easy to use, nearly idiot-proof (although the universe still produces better idiots, and it is possible to rig the Rollgliss so that the rope does not pass the braking arm), and gives a smooth rappel.

The rear sticker says that the Rollgliss 200 weight 0.8 kg, but mine weights nearly 0.9 kg.

I received a manual with this Rollgliss, but the serial number recorded in the logbook inside did not match the serial number of this unit. The logbook was identical to the one received for Industrial Version D.


Rollgliss 200, Industrial Model, Version A
(#939)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from International Safety Equipment in March 2004.

My Rollgliss 200 Industrial, Version A, is 163 mm. tall, 102 mm. wide, 49 mm. thick, and weighs 695 g.

The only functional difference between the industrial models and the tactical models is that the industrial model replaces the knurled knob and bolt with an 8 mm. Allen-head bolt. Industrial Version A has a knob on the handle like Tactical Version A; however, the body is an intermediate form between that of Tactical Version A and B. There is no upper eye (nor evidence that there was one), and the body has the 6 mm. rod instead of the internal bump; however, the nonfunctional lower opening remains.

There is only one sticker, on the inside of the front plate. It reads as follows:

Rettungsgeräte BRDA
D-8112 Bad Kohlgrub Lkr. Garmisch
Tel. 08845/422 Telex 059426

Comments

The industrial model uses an Allen-head cap screw instead of the knurled knob. I suppose this is to discourage users from opening the device, since most of them will not be carrying the 6 mm. Allen wrench needed to open the device. Although this makes the device nearly useless for climbers and cavers, I can see the logic behind this in an industrial setting; however, my comments on the tactical model apply here as well.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Industrial Model, Version B
(#940)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from International Safety Equipment in March 2004. It was manufactured in 1987.

My Rollgliss 200 Industrial, Version B, is 199 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 795 g.

This model has the same frame as Tactical Version B, including the handle bolted to the frame. It uses an 8 mm. Allen-head bolt for closure instead of the knurled knob and bolt found on the tactical unit.

The brake lever is sized for 10 mm. rope, as indicated by the "10" stamped on the handle. Originally it had a 9 mm. handle; I changed this to a 10 mm. one.

There is only one sticker, on the inside of the front plate. It reads as follows (red numerals are stamped):

Rettungsgeräte
rollgliss

D-8112 Bad Kohlgrub
Fabrik Nr. 11365
Baujar 1987

Comments

I do not like having to replace the brake lever each time I want to change the size rope that I am rappelling on.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Industrial Model, Version C
(#941)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from International Safety Equipment in March 2004. It was manufactured in 1987.

My Rollgliss 200 Industrial, Version C, is 199 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 800 g.

The brake lever is sized for 11 mm. rope, as indicated by the "11" stamped on the handle.Originally it had a 9 mm. handle; I changed this to a 11 mm. one.

There is only one sticker, on the inside of the front plate. It reads as follows (red numerals are stamped):

Rettungsgeräte
rollgliss

D-8112 Bad Kohlgrub
Fabrik Nr. 11363
Baujar 1987

Comments

Aside from the 11 mm. rope lever and the serial number, Version C is identical to Industrial Version C.

I did not get a user’s manual with this Rollgliss.


Rollgliss 200, Industrial Model, Version D
(#594)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Rollgliss 200 from Jay Kennedy in June 2001. It was manufactured in 1994.

My Rollgliss 200 Industrial, Version D, is 237 mm. tall, 108 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 849 g.

The only functional difference between the industrial model and the tactical model is that the industrial model replaces the knurled knob and bolt with an 8 mm. Allen-head bolt.

The inside has a red, black and white sticker that shows how to rig the device. Three things are labeled: "1. thimble eye" for the rope, "2. fixed counter grip" for the fixed arm, and "3. brake lever in brake position," "running position," and "stop position" for the brake lever. A second sticker reads as follows:

Indispensable
-Pay attention to the Manual
-Function check of the brake lever without rope
-Check all positions of the brake lever with rope

The hinge sticker reads as follows:

Warning!
1. read operating instructions carefully
2. don't open the system
3. no rope gliding over sharp edges allowed
4. rope must be stretched all the time
5. before roping down push up brake lever

The rear sticker has the following:

[GS logo with "geprüfte Sicherheit"]
APS 881234

Abseilgerät Typ B
Descent Unit Typ B

rollgliss 200
Fabr.-Nr.: 94/A259 Serial-No.

Original rollgliss-Seile verwenden
use only original rollgliss-robes [sic]

max. Abseilhöhe siehe Seil
max. robe [sic] down length see robe [sic]

max. Abseillast: 150 kg
max weight capacity: 330 lbs

Artikel=Nr.: 200.000

rollgliss AG
CH-2545 Selzach

Comments

The industrial model uses an Allen-head cap screw instead of the knurled knob. I suppose this is to discourage users from opening the device, since most of them will not be carrying the 6 mm. Allen wrench needed to open the device. Although this makes the device nearly useless for climbers and cavers, I can see the logic behind this in an industrial setting; however, my comments on the tactical model apply here as well.

I was able to get the original user’s manual with this Rollgliss. Considering the three references to rappelling on robes, Rollgliss should have hired a better translator. Unfortunately, it looks like Rollgliss also got some totally clueless lawyers involved in the instructions. Consider the following extracts from the user’s manual:

In other words, you aren't "allowed" to rig the Rollgliss 200 yourself. Despite this, Rollgliss provides a nice color sticker showing how to rig the Rollgliss, and puts it inside the cover - but you aren't allowed to open the cover to see it. Similarly, you aren't allowed to open the cover to read the "Indispensable" sticker either. If you do, you are supposed to perform a "function check of the brake lever without rope" and since you are not allowed to rig the rope again afterward, you can't use the device. I like the device and want to use it, so I have a suggestion for what to do with their lawyers - let them descend the drop without the rope.

The logbook on page 26 of the manual shows that it was purchased on February 13, 1997.

The Rollgliss is incredibly expensive. Most places insisted on selling it as a kit, complete with a harness (a design that is completely useless for caving & climbing), and Rollgliss’ own rope, for $1200 or so. The best deal I was able to negotiate was nearly $800 without the harness (I still had to buy rope, but we agreed on 1 meter!!), I passed.

The manual states that only 9 mm. Rollgliss rope is acceptable, but Rollgliss provide handles for 10 mm. and 11 mm. rope. I do not like having to replace the brake lever each time I want to change the size rope that I am rappelling on.

I couldn't decide whether to give the Rollgliss 200 a star Star or a lemon award, so I settled on one of each - the star for device quality, lemon for the attitude taken in the manual.