Here at the world's oldest watering can company, our story is a tale of innovation and determination, and a dedication to quality that's as enduring as our reputation.
Our name comes from our founder John Haws, the inventor of the watering can design that we still produce, virtually unchanged to this day. Originally from Clapton in London, John was by his own account quite an unsuccessful gardener. But in 1884, while struggling to grow vanilla during his British colonial service in Mauritius, he set about designing his own watering can to improve his gardening fortunes.
In 1886 he secured the patent, established the Haws company, and described his unique design as follows: "This new invention forms a watering pot that is much easier to carry and tip, and at the same time being much cleaner, and more adapted for use than any other put before the public."
John's skills as an inventor swiftly eclipsed his efforts as a horticulturalist. His watering can soon became popular with leading gardeners, winning awards and establishing our company's reputation for high quality. But before he could receive the coveted Royal Horticultural Society medal and be invited to the first ever Chelsea Flower Show in 1913, John Haws passed away.
Stepping in to continue his uncle's work, Arthur Haws moved the factory from Clapton to Bishops Stortford, where he employed around 40 craftsmen. A stickler for quality, Arthur was obsessed with perfecting our watering can roses, and employed a worker for the sole task of painstakingly punching every hole into each rose, spaced and tapered to absolute perfection. This attention to detail helped fight off competition from cheap imported replicas, and maintain Haws' reputation at the pinnacle of the world of watering cans.
Then World War 2 intervened, and the pressures of the war years left the company depleted of both labour and materials. Arthur Haws passed away and our famous watering can company fell silent until 1950, when Taylor Law Co Ltd bought Haws. Introducing modern manufacturing methods, they worked alongside Elliott Mouldings to develop new watering cans made from plastic. Yet despite working hard to maintain our fine quality, they lacked the expertise to reignite the Haws brand, and during the late 1970s recession, the company went under and the Haws workshop went quiet once again.
The modern incarnation of Haws really began in 1982, when the company was bought by Eclipse Sprayers, run by father and son team, John & David Pennock. Along with John Massey, Steve Riley and Graham Blocksidge, they began the long and ultimately successful journey towards re-establishing the high quality build of Haws watering cans, and rekindling our peerless reputation.
All of which brings us to the present day. Haws is now run by David Pennock’s two sons Andy & Rich, and the new team has been busy strengthening our organisation, developing our operations and implementing a greener philosophy. With the introduction of new products and environmentally friendly packaging, Haws is now perfectly prepared for the demands of the 21st century, building on the wisdom gained through more than 130 years as the big name in watering cans.