A familiar sight along the Dock Road in Wallasey, Stone Marine’s headquarters is home to one of the most innovative and respected companies in the shipping world.
It’s a tale that takes us back to the middle of the 19th century, when Josiah Stone started making propellers at its base in London.
“The company moved to Birkenhead during the Second World War, when J. Stone was producing propellers for most of the ships in the Royal Navy,” says Stone Marine’s Chris Kidd.
Famous names carrying a J. Stone propeller included the Ark Royal, the Prince of Wales and the Invincible, as well as grand ocean liners such as the Queen Mary and the Mauretania.
“The company gained its reputation because it worked tirelessly not just on the design and manufacture of the propellers themselves, but also on developing ever better alloys from which the propellers could be manufactured,” Chris says.
These made sure the propellers could resist corrosive forces and withstand greater pressures while moving at ever-faster speeds. “Over the years the company broke just about every record for diameter, weight, and power, and even the number of blades,” he says.
In the 1960’s Stone Manganese Marine, as it was then known, was the largest propeller manufacturer in the world with factories in several countries.
“The collapse of the European shipbuilding industry caused serious problems for the business,” Chris says, “so it decided to stop manufacturing and concentrate on design and development instead.”
Now Stone Marine Propulsion continues to design the best possible propellers for ships of all types - commercial and naval.
“Its latest design, the NPT propeller, is successfully propelling vessels belonging to some of the largest ship owning companies in the world,” Chris says.
“The propeller’s outstanding abilities to reduce fuel consumption means it’s being fitted not just to new builds but is also being retrofitted to to help improve performance in older vessels.”
Although Stone Marine Propulsion have stopped actually manufacturing the propellers, Stone Marine Shipcare, its sister company, maintains and repairs propellers and stern gear not just on the Left Bank, but all over the world.
“The name Stone is still alive and well along the Left Bank two hundred years after the original company was founded,” Chris says.