1968-2018: Rottne Blondin turns 50!
This year marks half a century since the Blondin first saw the light of day. It was the company’s first specially built harvester – and the foundation for all development that we have achieved since then. And number of Blondins are still going strong amongst the trees.
Below we present an overview of the Blondin’s history, prepared for the company’s 50th anniversary programme in 2005. And finally, a brief summary of the various Blondin models.
In 1968 Rottne introduced its first forwarder – the Blondin, meaning The Blonde. Together with the wire cranes the Blondin was one of the products that meant the most for the company’s development. The Blondin was the company’s first complete forestry machine and came to be the best-seller that no one dared dream of.
Rottne’s founder, Börje Karlsson, taking the first Blondin prototype for a test drive.
The story of the Blondin could have the heading “When beauty came to the village”. After extensive development work had been invested and a number of prototypes produced, in 1968 it was time for the premiere showing of Rottne’s first forwarder. The venue, the forestry trade fair at Elmia in Jönköping.
Expectations were immense, not least from competitors. Would that small forge from Rottne, that has expanded and developed quickly in ten years, really succeed in producing a competitive forestry machine?
The Rottne convoy on the way to Elmia.
Blondin became a success
The Blondin became more than just a success. It became a terrific success. Unlike its competitors, Rottne had developed a relatively small and friendly forwarder with good load and driving characteristics. It proved to be a hard-wearing workhorse. Both machine owners and operators liked it. It was easy to drive and service and besides it was incredibly reliable. For those wanting a machine with good economy, Blondin was an excellent choice.
The actual tractor body used for Blondin was manufactured by Ford. It was also Ford that sold Blondin through its network of dealers. The partnership between Rottne and Ford lasted until 1985 when the Rapid model was introduced.
Blondin is the Rottne model that has lived the longest. More than 20 years after its introduction, 1988, the last customer took delivery of its Blondin. All in all some 2100 Blondin machines were manufactured, of these about 400 were felling machines.
The name is a story in itself.
Exactly who came upon the name Blondin is not really known. However, it is known that the machine didn’t have a name when it was transported to Elmia in 1968 for its premiere showing.
The competitors were at Elmia with their forwarders. One of these was Lars Bruun with his Bruunett (Brunette) which Ford sold at the time. Rottne’s newcomer was a direct challenger to the Bruunett and consequently the stage was set to call Rottne’s forwarder Blondin. The people, or public, decided on their choice of name and Rottne’s management accepted and were grateful.
Blondin is probably, of all the forestry machines made, the model most known even outside of the forestry industry. The model’s popularity naturally contributed to this, but also the extraordinary marketing. Who doesn’t remember the advertisements and the car sticker with the text “Do it in the forest with a Blondin”. At the time this was perceived as inventive and funny, whereas today the reaction would probably be distinctly less positive.
Blondin was manufactured during a 20 year period and a total of around 2,100 machines were manufactured of which about 400 were processors/harvesters. In 1972 the Blondin was updated to the Blondin 750, with improvements including a larger cab than its predecessor, the Blondin 7000.
Rottne Processor 770
Blondin with an upgraded hydraulic system and a 770 harvester head mounted on the wagon was Rottne’s first processor and quickly became popular.
Rottne Processor Snoken 780
With a shorter wagon and harvester head on a swivel arm at the rear, the Blondin processor became a special machine for felling.
Rottne Blondin 750 Model 600 FD
Improved versions of Blondin were launched several times during its life time. With the introduction of a gear-driven bogie on the wagon, Blondin became better suited for work in difficult terrain and when driving with tracks.