It's 1948 in Whitstable, England, a famous ship building region, where a Mr Ron Barton looked to change the face of sail rigging. Being amongst the first manufacturers to realise the potential of plastic and its suitability for use in the marine trade amongst hard metals such as stainless steel, R.S.J. Barton began making yachting blocks out of Tufnol, a laminated plastic based fabric. The results, a lighter and stronger sailing block than anyone had previously seen.
Were wooden blocks a thing of the past with this new innovation? The simple answer is no. Although modern day plastic and metal blocks, clutches, dinghy travellers, cars and sliders, winches, cam cleats and rigging gear revolutionised the sailing market. Now more affordable due to lower construction costs, mixed with more reliable fittings meant sailing boats got faster, lighter and, with the introduction of GRP, sailing was introduced to the masses. Now, most people could try their hand at sailing, it was no longer only a sport for the super rich. This shift meant production levels sored and new products were launched through the years, notably in 1995 where Barton introduced their iconic Size 1-4 delrin bearing blocks which featured twi rows of ball bearings on a large diameter acetal cantre boos - the result - increased load bearing surface for opitmal performance.
Funnily enough, wooden classic blocks were to be re-introduced due to demand for luxury classic wooden boats where a traditional elegance, yet modern day usability is required.
Now trading as Barton Marine they continue to be leading manufacturers of a comprehensive range of lightweight sailing blocks that assure ultimate performance, efficiency and long working life.