100 Years of Barrus

30th June 2017

This year, E.P. Barrus celebrate 100 years of trading. Not only known for their powerful and reliable engines, Barrus also have strong custom-building and R&D departments, working with organisations such as the RNLI and the MoD.

They also distribute a range of supporting and servicing products, and even manufacture gardening tools under the famous name of Wilkinson Sword.

In fact it was in the distribution of tools that E.P Barrus came into existence a century ago. In 1917 Ernest Prouty Barrus – already a skilled salesman at the time, having worked over 15 years for the L S Starrett Company – noticed the shortage of tools during the 1st World War, and founded a company with colleague John Cullen to distribute these tools.

Ernest’s nephew, Herbert Franklin Barrus, joined the company in 1922, and it was renamed E.P. Barrus Ltd in 1924 after Cullen left the company.

It was not until the mid-1920s that E.P. Barrus Ltd entered the marine market after Ernest’s success in building a power boat racing team. This demonstrated his good eye for technology, and along with the company’s strong track record in marketing and distribution, helped to secure Barrus an exclusive contract to distribute outboard engines for [Johnson and Lycoming](.

Ernest Barrus’s innovation did not stop there, as in the 1930s he developed a series of fully-equipped boats, containing everything required on purchase.

From there Barrus continued to grow throughout the 20th century. They supplied engines for assault boats during World War II, which developed into a solid reputation with the military. In 1977, Barrus changed the supplier of their engines from Johnson to the Mariner range of outboards, the quality of which brought newfound success to E.P. Barrus Ltd when supported by their skilled marketing team.

By the late 70s, practically all marine businesses in the UK were using Barrus equipment to some degree. The 80s saw the company’s focus shift further towards its engines and away from the tool division. The year 1990 saw E.P.Barrus Ltd’s world class quality recognised with ISO 9001, a standard that Barrus continues to hold.

These days, E.P. Barrus supplies engines from all sorts of companies, including Mercury, Mariner, Yanmar, Kawasaki, and Shire. They also sell complete boats, such as the SunSport, Quicksilver, and Admiral Boats ranges. Engines supplied by Barrus have brought success in powerboat racing, including a number of world records.

The values of innovation, reliability, and customer service on which Ernest Prouty Barrus founded the company can still be seen in its operation today. It therefore is safe to say that Barrus is still going strong, 100 years in.

For more about Barrus, visit their website here.


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