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100 years of Schottel

2021 is a special year for Schottel. 21 November marks the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding by Josef Becker. The trained locksmith opened his workshop in a small German village on the Rhine and almost 30 years later he wrote shipping history by inventing the rudder propeller that is steerable through 360 degrees.

Stefan Kaul, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Schottel GmbH states, “Bold decisions at the right time”
“Our history is marked by bold decisions at the right time and having the courage to take bigger and bigger steps. Josef Becker laid the foundation for this in 1921. Since then, Schottel has grown continuously with the development, production and sales of marine propulsion systems. Today, our propulsion solutions have made the seven seas their home. What we do, we do wholeheartedly: in all areas, according to the same high standard, all over the world.”

After Josef Becker establishes the workshop “J. Becker Maschinenbau-Werkstätte” in November 1921, he builds and repairs machines for the local farmers. In 1925, a move from land to water takes place: he develops the sloop, a dinghy that is unsinkable due to large, permanently installed air boxes and can be rowed and turned easily. Only a few years later, Josef Becker designs and constructs various motorboats, at that time still a novelty on the Rhine. To meet the growing need for space, a shipyard is built in 1934 on a nearby plot of land at Rhine kilometre 578.4 – the river section known as Schottel.

The rudder propeller
At the end of the 1940s, Josef Becker starts testing a propulsion system that will revolutionize shipping: the Schottel RudderPropeller. As a starting point for his ideas, he takes the well-known outboard drive. He finds the solution by using a Z-drive without a separate rudder blade but with a propeller that can be steered 360 degrees around its own axis without any restrictions. This is the first time that steering and propulsion have been combined and vessels benefit from the full power of the units during manoeuvring. With this invention, he paves the way for the company’s future. Domestic and foreign orders start pouring in quick succession. In 1967, Schottel equips the Janus: the first harbour tug with rudder propellers. It sets off a revolution in the push and tug boat market.

70+ years of propulsion expertise
With the invention of the rudder propeller in 1950, Josef Becker laid the foundation for Schottel becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vessel propulsion systems. Decades of expertise in the field of propulsion combined with state-of-the-art technologies have enabled Schottel to offer a wide range of innovative and future-oriented products and services.

Solutions for vessels of all types and sizes
Today, Schottel products can be found on almost all types of vessels. In addition to Tug & Offshore Energy and Ferries, Yachts & Passenger Vessels, the company has a stable market position in the Merchant Vessels and Navy & Governmental segments. This applies equally to new vessels and to modernizations. Automation, propulsion control and hybrid propulsion systems extend the product range which is supplemented by marine services.

German engineering
More than 100 engineers work hand in hand every day across various specialist departments to create reliable products that prove their performance in practice. Constant investments in research and development ensure that Schottel customers benefit from products of the highest standard.