Stuart Models: the oldest company in the world still producing model steam engines. The company was established in 1898 by Mr. Stuart Turner
Stuart Turner was born in 1868 and little is known about his childhood although we do know that his family's ambitions for him did not include becoming an engineer...
Eventually, after a series of other jobs, he gained employment looking after the steam generating plant at Shiplake Court near Henley-on-Thames. 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 Mr. Stuart Turner designed his now famous 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.
The coverage of which bought an immediate response and orders for sets of castings flooded in.
So began the business which has become one of the best known names in model engineering. He 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.
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 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.
Since it's move the new owners, well aware of its heritage and reputation, have strove to reintroduce some of the more popular models from the past whilst keeping to the ethics of its founder to make models using only the finest materials and provide the best service possible.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Stuart Steam price guide: sold listings for a value indication.