• Ruston

Ruston

Ruston-diesel-engineLincoln Diesels have a wealth of experience working with and supporting Ruston diesel and gas engines. We provide spares suitable for a wide range of Ruston models, including Ruston…

Not only can we provide an extensive range of parts suitable for Ruston engines, but our expert service engineers can carry out overhaul, maintenance or repair work for any model, in any location. As a result, we can offer our services to customers in the marine, power generation, rail and offshore industries.

History of Ruston diesel engines

The history of Ruston predates the invention of the diesel engine. Joseph Ruston was born in 1835 in Cambridge.  From an early age he was fascinated by the agricultural machinery used on his father’s farm. In 1857 at the age of 22 he formed a partnership with an engineering company called Burton & Procter of Lincoln and the name of Ruston has been linked with Lincoln ever since.  To begin with the company manufactured traction engines and threshing machines, but in 1894 they made their first oil engine. In 1906 they launched their first “hot bulb” engine. During the First World War they built around 2,600 single seater fighters including 1,600 Sopwith Camels and 3,000 aero engines.  In 1918 Ruston acquired the business of Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham, who had produced the world’s first commercially successful oil engine in 1892 some seven years before the launch of Rudolph Diesel’s first commercial engine.  During the 1920s Ruston tried his hand at car manufacture, but he never succeeded in achieving the volumes required to turn this into a commercial success.  However two Ruston cars are still in existence at the old Ruston factory in Lincoln, one of which is in running order. Instead Ruston’s focused on diesel production and in 1940 the company acquired Davey Paxman & Co of Colchester. The success and durability of these diesel engines can been seen from the fact that Field Marshal von Kluge’s headquarters at Saint German-en-Laye near Paris was powered by Ruston engines, which were still running four years after the supply of spare parts had been cut off.

During the war normal production was halted and Ruston focused on supplying war material building, among other equipment, both Valiant and Mathilda tanks. Following the end of the Second World War Ruston’s diversified into gas turbine manufacture to supplement the diesel engine production. In November 1966 the English Electric Company paid £25 milllion for Ruston, and started the process of industrial consolidation which has commenced up until the present day. As a result the only large diesel engines still manufactured in the UK are made at the Paxman factory in Colchester.

Following the acquisition by English Electric the production of large Ruston engines was moved to the English Electric Vulcan factory in Newton-le-Willow. The production of the smaller engine range was moved to Stafford where it became a part of the Dorman Diesel range. Turbine technology was concentrated in Lincoln with Napier turbochargers moving from Liverpool to Lincoln in 1967. In 1969 the Lincoln site became Ruston Gas Turbines.  The name was then changed to European Gas Turbines in 1989 following the merger of GEC and Alcatel Alsthom.  Later this business was sold to Siemens. The gas turbine business is still located in the old Ruston factory in the centre of Lincoln.

Shortly after English Electric purchased Ruston, English Electric was itself acquired by GEC in 1968 and renamed GEC Diesels, whilst Ruston Paxman continued as a management company. In 1975, Ruston and Paxman were separated, and the name of Ruston became closely associated with the RK range of engines, which were in fact originally English Electric engines. In 1989 GEC merged with Alcatel Alsthom to form GEC ALSTHOM.  In 1998 GEC ALSTHOM was floated on the stock market to create ALSTOM and Ruston became ALSTOM Engines, Ruston Division.  In 2000 MAN B&W Diesels acquired ALSTOM Engines and production was moved from Newton-le-Willow to Stockport. Production at Stockport ceased in 2006 when MAN B&W moved the production of the latest Ruston RK280 model to Augsburg and redesignated the engine MAN 28/33D.