Stuart Turner (engineer)

Stuart Turner (engineer)

Stuart Turner was an English engineer who designed small steam engine models. He founded a famous model engineering business which went on to make motorcycles, marine diesel and petrol engines and pumps. The name Stuart Turner is eponymous with small quality models.

Sidney Marmaduke Stuart Turner was an English engineer born in Shepherds Bush, London in 1869. Little is known about his childhood or adolescence although we do know that his family's ambitions for him did not include becoming an engineer. He eventually, after a series of other jobs including an apprenticeship on the Cylde building marine engines, a period at sea and working as an engineer in Jersey, gained employment in 1897 looking after the steam generating plant at Shiplake Court near Henley-on-Thames, England. In those days mains electricity was rare and therefore most large houses had their own electricity generating plants.

It was while working at Shiplake that Turner designed his No.1 Model Steam Engine. He drew up the patterns which he then sent away to be cast. On their return he machined and assembled them and soon showed the finished model at a local exhibition. He then approached Percival Marshall the editor of Model Engineer magazine who wrote an article about the engine.

This coverage brought an immediate response and orders for sets of castings flooded in, and a business was established in 1898. Stuart Turner Ltd was incorporated in 1906 and started to produce model steam engines, gas engines for domestic electricity, lathes, etc. Stuart Turner went on to produce further designs, and by 1906 there were Nine models in the range. By 1907 more space was needed so premises were rented at Market Place, Henley-On-Thames where the company remained for many years.

In 1911, the Stuart Stellar motorcycle was introduced, including a two-cylinder water-cooled two-stroke engine. In 1914, the company manufactured a generating plant for the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's ship, the Endurance. It was used in the ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

During World War I (1914–18), the company produced nuts and bolts, gas valves and a Klaxon horn for gas attack warnings. The workforce expanded to over 300 men and 100 women. In 1917, Stuart Turner acquired Broadgates Inn in Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, and has used this as a base ever since.

In World War II (1939–45), the company produced a number of products for the military including combined boiler, steam engine and generator plants, designed to be used by resistance fighters of troops operating covertly behind enemy lines to power radio transmitters. The modest-sized steam generator plants were based around the Stuart Sirius engine.

Stuart Turner left the firm in 1920 and went to South Africa. He returned to Southend to retire and died in April 1938.

A decision was taken in the late 1980s to separate Stuart Turner Ltd. into two separate operations with the larger side of the business making pumps staying at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England and the Steam Engine section moving to Cheddar in Somerset. In 1991, Stuart Models underwent a change of ownership with the production and sales departments moving to Guernsey.

Read more about Stuart Turner (engineer):  History of Stuart Models

Famous quotes containing the words stuart and/or turner:

    I can remember no time when I did not understand that my mother must write books because people would have and read them; but I cannot remember one hour in which her children needed her and did not find her.
    —Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844–1911)

    We inherit plots.... There are only two or three in the world, five or six at most. We ride them like treadmills.
    —Janette Turner Hospital (b. 1942)