When you choose a Stuart Turner pump you are investing in a
name you can trust to deliver quality, design innovation, value
for money and industry leading service. With over 100 years of
engineering experience and continuous investment in both
product innovation and manufacturing capability, Stuart Turner
has gained an enviable market leading reputation both in the
UK and overseas for its extensive range of pumping solutions
and products, catering for both residential and commercial
Established in 1906, Stuart Turner has a long and
distinguished history. Our story, from arctic exploration aboard
Endurance to revolutionising modern day farming can be found
Sidney Marmaduke Stuart Turner, born in 1868, started his
engineering career around 1898 as the resident engineer in
charge of the electric generators at Shiplake Court,
approximately 2 miles outside Henley on Thames, and now Shiplake College.
In his free time he designed, made and sold steam engines;
advertising them through the newly formed Model Engineer &
Electrician publication and indeed he became very successful.
Stuart Turner Ltd was incorporated and commenced trading at
Duke Street, Henley-on-Thames. Steam engines had been
designed and made as a hobby from around 1898 at Shiplake
Court. The catalogue grew with the addition of stationary gas
and petrol engines to drive domestic electricity generating
plants, small tools, the Stuart lathe and model boat hulls.
Turnover for the first year of trading was £2,127.
Additional space became necessary. 45 and 47 Market Place
were rented and then 43. In 1917 the former Broadgate Inn
was acquired, from where the Company has operated ever
A single cylinder engine was designed and manufactured to
power the Dayton motorcycle. This was soon joined by the
larger single cylinder Stuart motorbike which laid the
foundations for the development of the Stellar twin. The
remarkably designed Stellar motor cycle was a water cooled, 2
stroke twin and was shaft driven. Two members of staff and the
Stellar fitted with a sidecar, were invited to join the Westminster
Dragoons in the combined army and territorial manoeuvres.
Covering hundreds of miles over seven days all over the
country its task was to carry despatches, food, munitions and
Stuart Turner Ltd quickly realised the potential of reliable
equipment providing small scale local generation of electricity
for battery charging and for direct use in houses, boats and
military encampments. This led to the development of a range
of stationary engines used in all parts of the world from 1914
During the Great War of 1914-1918 Stuart Turner switched to
wartime production, expanding its workforce to over 300 men
and 100 women, manufacturing nuts and bolts, valves for gas
masks and Klaxon horns to warn of gas attacks in the
trenches. The Klaxon horns were tested once a week in the
factory, much to the annoyance of local residents!
A generator plant for Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s
ship ‘Endurance’ was manufactured and supplied. The
generator provided electricity for batteries and to small light
bulbs that enabled scientific observations to be recorded both
inside and outside of the ship.
The company won a contract from the War Office to produce a
rugged but lightweight engine capable of being transported by
a mule. The army used these during the 1920’s to connect to
batteries, supplying power for their wireless sets. The
innovative design of the engine, and its use of new materials,
meant it was in production for 20 years.
A Danish businessman ordered the first inboard marine engine
for a pleasure boat. This was the springboard for entry in to
the wider market of small boat engines in the early 1930’s. By
1939, because of the engine’s reliability, the company had
secured 75% of the market for auxiliary engines up to 8 hp and
these were only discontinued in 1976 when diesel engines and
outboard motors came to dominate the market.
Stuart Turner revolutionised dairy farming with the invention of
a diaphragm pulsatory milking system which was patented by
the company but marketed by Gascoigne of Reading who
ultimately purchased the design rights.
Additional land was purchased at the rear of 47 Market Place,
allowing a major re-development of the factory, providing a
new machine shop, assembly and a new
The lightweight engine, originally designed for the War Office
and used during the 1920’s, weighed only 118 pounds due to
the use of aluminium and a lightweight alloy called electron. It
was also capable of working in extreme conditions from
freezing point to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60°C) and even
after it had been turned upside down. This made it ideal for
use by two groups of mountaineers attempting to conquer
Everest in 1933. They each took a Stuart Turner engine to
provide power for their radio transmitters, especially as it even
worked in the thin atmosphere 16,400 feet above sea level.
A small frictionless mechanical shaft seal was developed and
patented for use in domestic pumps. It was this concept that
secured the future development of the small pump, close
coupled to an electric motor, that is now the main product of
Another delivery of R3MC marine engines.
Stuart Turner Ltd’s expertise for quality engineered products
came into its own during the war years when the company
employed between 300-400 people, working shifts to keep the
machines going. During this period air raid shelters were built
for the factory staff to use and we even had our own Home
Guard platoon! Just some of the ways in which the company’s
product was involved in the war effort were:-.
- Generators and pumps provided electricity for the ASDIC
antisubmarine detectors carried on escort vessels
accompanying the North Atlantic convoys
- 130 generators floodlit decoy airfields
- Special steam driven generating sets were parachuted into
enemy territory and used by undercover agents in the jungles
of the Far East to power their radio sets
- Engines, known as the Zwicky, were built to power the
pumps which delivered fuel from bowsers to aircraft
- R3MC 1.5 hp petrol engines were used in boats
(affectionately know as the Shetland Bus) by a unit which
specialised in smuggling commandos into occupied Europe via
the North Sea to the Fjords of Norway
Unprecedented demand for hand built marine engines saw
production rise to 2000 units per annum. The model range,
which had stopped production during the war years, was
reinstated and the new technology of shell moulding was
introduced to the foundry.
Centrifugal pumps become the company’s main product line
expanding sales in to new areas with great potential.
Production of marine engines was discontinued, although
spares are still available today through another company.
The product range of small pumps was extended, with plant
updated, to meet demand from many industries and export
markets. This new focus has proved to be a contributing factor
to today’s success for the company.
The No 4 model steam engine was selected as the drive
mechanism for the pendulum of the Vancouver Gastown
Steam Clock in Canada is still in operation today.
The pump range was further redesigned, with the addition of
the peripheral range for improved performance and efficiency.
With many new variants being introduced such as Monsoon
shower pumps and garden submersible pumps it allowed the
entry to new markets. The foundry was closed at Henley.
Additional engines were also introduced to the model range
which was subsequently moved to Somerset as an
The models division was sold to a company based in
Guernsey, leaving Henley to specialise in the manufacture of
pumps up to 3 Kw. Stuart Turner introduced a more
efficient range of products supplying the building industry,
brewing and leisure markets.
A new millennium began and Stuart Turner marked it by
moving into their new 3500 m², purpose built, re-equipped
office and factory. New computers and CNC machine tools
made a marked change to the effectiveness of the business.
Sales were strengthened in different market sectors with
ongoing steady growth being a key factor in the company’s
In 2006 Stuart Turner celebrated its centenary; pictured above
is the workforce at that time which included Adrian Mettern (3
row centre) who was the longest serving managing director in
the Company’s history.
Having concentrated its sales activities in the key pump market
sectors of building services and commercial products both in
the home and export markets, Stuart Turner enjoyed
considerable growth and profitability throughout this period.