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November/December 2017
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Executive Hire News › Archives › November/December 2017 › Executive Report : Century for Barrus

Executive Report : Century for Barrus 

Well-known industry supplier, E.P. Barrus, recently commemorated a significant corporate milestone.

E.P. Barrus Ltd celebrated its official 100th birthday on 18 September. The company’s story began in 1917, when Ernest Prouty Barrus set up a company in the UK to supply Starrett precision tools, including micrometers and measuring equipment, and to distribute them throughout Europe. Over the last century, Barrus has identified new opportunities and challenges, and diversified into multiple markets including Marine, Garden and Industrial. E.P. Barrus is co-owned by the Glen family and MTD Holdings, also a family owned company, based in the USA, and one of the largest producers of outdoor power equipment in the world.

Barrus entered the industrial engine market during the mid-1930s with the introduction of Johnson Iron Horse engines and Chore Horse generators. Both saw service throughout the Second World War, and the company says that most Spitfires and Hurricanes had their batteries re-charged by Chore Horse generators. The Industrial Division was launched in 1985 with the introduction of the Yanmar L Series engines which, Barrus states, was the first industrial engine to meet CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations. It subsequently became one of the leading suppliers of small air-cooled diesel engines in the UK and Ireland, and grew market share in water-cooled diesel engines with Yanmar, and also as the UK and Ireland industrial engine distributor for John Deere.

Innovative products

Barrus has continued to introduce innovative products with potential to the British market. Today, the company has long-standing partnerships with global suppliers, representing over 30 major brands which are distributed through over 3,000 authorised dealers nationwide. These include such diverse equipment as Mariner and Mercury outboard engines, Quicksilver leisure and fishing boats, John Deere and Yanmar marine and industrial engines, Cub Cadet garden machinery, and Wolf-Garten and Wilkinson Sword garden tools.

Barrus has also invested significantly in engineering research and development facilities at its Bicester headquarters, to enable it to work with manufacturers in developing new machines incorporating engines that it supplies, and to custom-build engine solutions for customers in the UK and overseas.

The company says that, over the years, it has been responsible for numerous product innovations, including many ‘firsts’ to be introduced to the UK market. These range from the first claw hammer, ride-on lawnmower and gas-fired garden barbecues. Other significant introductions include the D-Bat, a diesel powered all-terrain vehicle popular with the military, the Fast Pirs engine that can be rapidly re-started after being submerged, which was developed by Barrus for the Armed Forces and rescue organisations, and a multi-fuel outboard engine developed for the UK Ministry of Defence capable of running on four different Nato-specification fuels.

Robert Glen, Chairman of E.P. Barrus Ltd, and the grandson of the founder Ernest Barrus, said, “As we celebrate our centenary we reflect on our proud past and most importantly express our sincere thanks to our customers, suppliers, distributors and partners, and loyal employees who have put their trust in Barrus and helped build the company’s success.”

“One hundred years in business represents a tremendous milestone,” commented Barrus MD Robert Muir. “Not only are we looking back but also forward, focusing on the company’s future to build on our success and best serve our customers. 2017 is, indeed, a momentous year with recent announcements including our exciting new location plans which will enable us to grow the business, and the engine supply contract recently awarded to Barrus by Atlas Elektronik UK who will build the £48m next-generation Royal Navy workboats. We are celebrating our first 100 years, and gearing up for the next.” •

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