The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

Mc is for …

Thomas Macavoy, Dairy Works, 27 Castle Street, Stranraer, Wigtownshire 
John McBain & Son, Chirnside, Berwickshire 
George McCartney & Co. (thrashing machines), Burnside Works, Cumnock, Ayrshire 
John McCulley (ploughs, harrows, grubbers &c), Beansburn, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire 
Macdonald Brothers (reapers &c), Roseacre Street, Portsoy, Banffshire 
John McDonald, 81 High Street, Aberlour, Banffshire 
Peter MacDonald, 81 High Street, Aberlour, Banffshire 
John McDougall, Irongates, St Mungo, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire 
William McFarland (ploughs), Ardler, near Meigle, Perthshire 
Alexander McGeorge, Torthorwald, Dumfries 
John McGhie & Sons, Harthope Place, Academy Street, Moffat, Dumfriesshire 
James McGillivray (turnip cutters, harrows and ploughs), Newton Road, Spynie, Elgin 
William McIlwraith, Milngavie, Dunbartonshire 
John McInroy, Balgersho Engineering Works, Coupar Angus, Perthshire 
John Mackay, Tornagrain, Petty, Inverness 
Alexander Mackenzie & Son (ploughs, harrows &c), Achnagarron, Rosskeen, Invergordon, Ross-shire 
Kenneth MacKenzie, agricultural engineer, Evanton, Ross-shire 
John McKinnel, Closeburn, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire 
P. & W. MacLellan Ltd, engineers, wagon builders, bridge and boiler makers, iron, steel and copper merchants, smiths, machine tool makers, bolt, nut, rivet, and chain manufacturers, and general ironmongers, 129 Trongate; Clutha Works, Vermont Street, Plantation; registered office, 108 Cannon Street, London 
John Macnair, Longrow, Campbeltown, Argyll 
McNab, tinplate worker, manufacturer of all descriptions of tin dairy utensils, established over 120 years, 171 Gallowgate, Glasgow 
William McNaughton (hay presses, thrashing mills and engineers), Forth Street, Stirling 
Alexander MacTavish, 18 and 20 Castle Street, Inverness 
J. & T. McWilliam, Lochans, Stranraer, Wigtownshire 

Under this letter we have some major names in the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers. 
MacDonald Brothers of Portsoy had been making agricultural implements and machines from 1878; their early manufactures included harrows and turnip lifters.

By 1885 they had started to make back delivery reapers, a manufacture which they continued to make into the early twentieth century. They had a number of models. In 1890 one of them was the Princess, a one horse self-acting back delivery reaper. Another two from 1894 were the Portsoy self-acting back delivery reaper and the Simplex self-acting back delivery reaper. The brothers were among a number of reaper manufacturers in Scotland, others including the famous Kemp, Murray & Nicholson, Stirling, Alexander Jack & Son, Maybole, as well as Auchinachie & Simpson, Keith.

By 1889 Henry Stephens could note that “in all parts of the United Kingdom, and on almost all farms of any considerable size, the reaping machine has superseded the slower and older appliances for cutting down the corn crops.” It was to be only a few years later that binders would start to come into force, marking another revolution in the harvest field.

Kenneth McKenzie of Evanton, Ross-shire, later Kenneth McKenzie & Sons, Evanton, was a noted implement maker in Ross-shire, whose name went well-beyond the boundaries of that county. 

Kenneth was already a smith and farrier in 1903. In 1922 he is recorded in trade directories as an agricultural engineer, a mechanical engineer, a motor engineer and a smith. By 1955 he is denoted as an agricultural engineer, implement, machinery and equipment manufacturer and as a tractor and implement dealer.

Kenneth’s business grew and expanded. 

By 1945 he had premises at Evanton and also Conon Bridge. In 1955 he also had a branch at Inverness. He was joined by his sons in business by 1949, becoming “Kenneth McKenzie & Sons”. Sister company also emerged, including Kenneth McKenzie & Sons (Caithness) Ltd, which had premises at Burn Street, Wick, in 1952.

The company actively promoted its manufactures and its implements and machines for which it was an agent at the Highland Show from 1923 onwards until 1956. It focused its attention on the shows in the more northern parts of Scotland attending ones at Inverness, Perth, Edinburgh, Dundee, Paisley, Aberdeen, and Alloa. 

The company manufactured its own implements and machines. They included potato dressers, root cutters, barrows, food coolers, and sack holders.

In 1949 the company made a variety of root cutters. They included:
Root cutter, model no 1, with 1 1/2hp Lister engine
Root cutter model no 1 with 2hp electric motor
Root cutter model no 1A with 1 1/2hp Petter engine
Root cutter model no 2 with 1 1/2 hp Petter engine
Root cutter and cleaner, combined model no 3 with 1 1/2 hp Petter engine
Root cutter model no 4 stationary
Root cutter model no 417 stationary with 2hp electric motor
Root cutter model no 4B semi-portable with 1 1/2 Wolseley engine
Root cutter model no 5 stationary
Root cutter model no 6 stationary with wall brackets
Root cutter only for existing power.
The company continued to operate until 1957.

George McCartney & Co., engineers, Cunnock was already established by 1850. In 1887 it was described as one of the “principal” exhibitors of implements at the Ayrshire Agricultural Association’s show. By 1894 it was located at Glaisnock Street in Old Cumnock, and in 1903 it gave its address as Burnside Works, Cumnock, where it remained in business until the 1930s.


In 1893 the company described itself as engineers, millwrights and ironmongers. It was also an agricultural implement maker, electrical accessory and appliance manufacturer, engineer, manufacturer and mechanical engineer. It was most well known for its thrashing machines and reaping machines. In 1870 the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland awarded its silver medal for its 3 or 4 horse power thrashing machine and in 1875 that society also awarded it a medium silver medal for one of its thrashing machines. It was its thrashing machines that it also heavily advertised in the Scottish agricultural press, in the North British Agriculturist from 1861, and the Scottish Farmer from 1893. In 1910 its threshing machines included a 3 feet 8 in bolster high speed threshing machine, with crank shakers, riddle and fanners (which sold at £77; with double blast £83), its “Eclipse” combined thresher and dresser, 20 inch wide, with horse gear (for £32); and a 16 inch thresher dresser, with revolving shakers and horse gear (for £27).

The company attended the Highland Show from 1850. However, after the 1852 show it did not attend again until 1870. Attendance was sporadic, with the company favouring the show in the south of Scotland and central Scotland show districts.

The company continued in business until 1933. However, its legacy lasted thereafter. On 14 October 1933 William Dickie & Sons, East Kilbride advertised “McCartney & Co., Cumnock, the old established firm has given up business. We have secured the patterns and drawings for their threshing mills, water wheels, gears, water bowls &c.”

If you bought a threshing mill from Dickie’s of East Kilbride, after 1933, the chance is that it would have been one that used the patterns from George McCartney & Co.

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The character of Scottish agricultural implement making in 1878

I am always on the look out for resources which provide insights into the development of the Scottish agricultural implement and machine making trades in the nineteenth century. The North British Agriculturist provides some accounts, though these are few and far between. Last week when I was reading back issues of that newspaper, I came across an account of the annual dinner of the Scottish Agricultural Engineers’ Association in August 1878. This is one of the best accounts to set out the great development of the trades between the 18560s and 1870s. The evidence also comes from the implement makers themselves. A number of the prominent makers were at the dinner: 

“The annual dinner of the Scottish Agricultural Engineers’ Assocaition was held on Wednesday in the Commercial Hotel, Dumfries. The chair was occupied by Mr John Kemp, of Kemp & Nicholson, Stirling, who was supported by Mr Wm Wallace, of Messrs Wallace & Sons, secretary of the association; Mr J. A. R. Main, of Messrs A. & J. Main & Co., Hope Street, Glasgow; Mr John Marshall, of Messrs Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole; Mr Alexander McGregor, of Messrs Harrison, McGregor & Co., Leigh, Lancashire; and Mr F. G. Jelly, of Messrs Harrison & McGregor. The croupier was Mr G. W. Murray, of Banff, supported right and left by Mr J. W. Ransone, of Ransomes, Sims, & Head; of Fisher, of Bury & Co., Sheffield; Mr Willacy, of Preston; Mr Barford, of Barford & Perkins, Peterborough; Mr Sparks, of Messrs R. Hornsby & Co., Grantham; Mr Greig, of Fowler & Co., Leeds; Mr Anderson, of Reid & Co., Aberdeen; Mr McLeod, of Nicholson & Co., Newark; H. Maddison, of Ord & Maddison, Darlington; James Adams, of Ransome & Co., Ipswich; and Mr James Payne, Thornhill. 


The Chairman, in proposing the toast of the evening, said a short time ago the society had no existence. A kindred association had existed in England for a considerable time, and although in point of magnitude the agricultural implement trade of Scotland could not at all be compared with that of England, a number of Scottish implement makers was three years ago, and, consisting that what was good for the trade in England might not be bad for the same trade in Scotland, agreed to form an association. The agricultural implement trade had developed to a very great extent during the last 20 years, and it was not matter for wonder, keeping in view its sudden rise and great growth, that the interests of the trade had sometimes been misunderstood-particularly by national agricultural societies, in the administration of their annual shows. It was with a view of overcoming some of the grievances under which agricultural implement makers laboured that the association was formed, and he was glad to say the efforts of its promoters had not been altogether in vain. Although not on the same lines as the Highland Society, or even on parallel lines, he hoped the objects of the society were not hopelessly divergent. It was desirable to have meetings of a social nature, to obtain an understanding as to what was good for the interests of the trade-(applause). The toast was cordially received.


Mr Barford (Peterborough), in proposing “Scotch farmers and agriculturists”, spoke of the identity of interests of these gentlemen and implement makers. He remarked that of late years farming in the southern and eastern counties of England had been a very unprofitable business. Although a high standard of farming prevailed in Scotland, he said that he believed, in regard to high farming, and the investment of capital, there were several districts in England in which the farming would compare favourably with that in Scotland-(applause)


Mr Main (Glasgow), in proposing “the implement trade”, said it was second to none in the country. The implement makers of Scotland worked not for this country and for Ireland alone, but for the whole world, although they had the Americans to contend with. In England, the importance to the agricultural interest of suitable machinery was so great that he questioned if it was fully appreciated or understood. From experience at agricultural meetings, implement makers must maintain that they got very scant justice and courtesy, forming, as they did, such a great portion of the exhibitions which took place from time to time-(applause)


Mr Ransome (Ipswich), in responding, referred to the great amount of capital invested in the implement trade, and remarked that even from a monetary point of view it was a trade of the greatest importance-(applause)
Mr Young (Ayr), proposed “The English makers of the Association”, coupled with the name of Mr Sparks, Grantham, who replied.” 

By 1878 we see an industry that had grown rapidly and was firmly established. Its makers included businesses that were to continue in business for many decades to some – some even nearly a century later.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

L is for …

Ladyacre Engineering Co. (threshing mills, rick lifters), Ladyacre Road, Lanark 
Andrew Lafferty, 16 Mill Lane, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
Alexander Laurie & Sons, trailer and motor body builders, Camelon, Falkirk, Stirlingshire 
Lawrence-Kennedy Ltd, agricultural implement manufacturers, 29 Maxwell Road, Glasgow 
Gordon Lees, 12 St Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire 
William Leslie, Kinellar, Aberdeenshire 

Under “L” we have some well-known names as well as some that are less so. 

The Ladyacre Engineering Co., Lanark, was established by 1921. It continued to be based at Lanark, though by 1958 it had a branch at Skirling. It described itself as an agricultural and motor engineer. It was also a mechanical engineer, as well as an agricultural implement maker. Among its manufactures were threshing mills and rick lifters. 

A Laurie & Sons, Camelon, Falkirk, was a well-known and long established trailer maker. By 1960 the company could state that it had been established over a hundred years. 
In 1922 trade directories recorded it as a smith, a trade that it continued in following decades. By 1935 it described itself as trailer and motor body builders, descriptive terms that it continued to employ until at least the early 1960s. Its work as a motor lorry and wagon builder had started around 1928, and in 1930 it had extended into being a motor car body builder.
The company changed with the times, and by late 1961 Alex Laurie & Sons had become Alex Laurie & Sons (Trailers) Ltd.
While it was a long-established company, it did not start to exhibit at the Highland Show until 1921. It sporadically exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s. It was not until after 1948 that it became a regular attender at the show, continuously attending in the following decades. Its interest in the agricultural market was reinforced by its advertising in the Farming News from 1945 until 1961 and the Scottish Farmer from 1936 until 1970 (though there may be later adverts).

In 1949 the company manufactured a range of trailers. These included a 30/35 cwt tipping trailer (balanced), a 50 cwt tipping trailer (screw), a 70 cwt tipping trailer (screw fitted with stock sides), a 3 ton low loading trailer, a potato trailer (Rae’s patent), a 5 cwt car trailer, and a 3 ton 3 way hydraulic tipping trailer.

Lawrence-Kennedy was a well-known name in the dairy world as a dairy engineer and outfitter and maker of milking machines. In 1906 it described itself as Lawrence-Kennedy, agricultural implement manufacturers, 29 Maxwell Road, Glasgow. It changed its business structure, to become an incorporated company in 1911 to be Lawrence-Kennedy Ltd. It continued in business until 1960 when it was voluntarily wound up. It was a regular advertiser in the agricultural newspaper press and exhibited at the Highland Show in 1928 (Aberdeen), 1929 (Alloa) and 1934 (Dundee). 

Another name in the dairy world was Gordon Lees, 12 St Andrew Street, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. Trade directories note that the business operated in the inter-war years as a dairy machinery and utensil maker, a tinsmith and a sheet metal maker.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

K is for …

Robert Kay & Son, agricultural implement makers and body builders, Stirling Road, Milnathort, Kinross-shire 
James H. Kelly, all kinds of farm carts, waggons, mill carts &c, Van Street, Parkhead, Glasgow 
Kemp & Nicholson, Scottish Central Implement Works, Stirling, Stirlingshire 
John Kerr, smith and agricultural implement maker, Corstorphine, Midlothian
John Kirkpatrick, 32 Irish Street, Dumfries 
James Kirkwood, Tranent Foundry, Tranent, East Lothian 
W. H. Kirkwood, agricultural implement maker, Lothian Bridge, Midlothian 
S. Koronka & Co., Steeplehill Works, Ceres, Fife 
Robert Kyd, Trades Lane, Coupar Angus, Perthshire 
Kydd & Doig, Kingoldrum, Kirriemuir, Angus 

Under the letter K we have a number of names of key makers who were known in their localities. In Stirlingshire Kemp & Nicholson of the Scottish Central Implement Works was well known. The company conducted business from their premises in Dumbarton Road, Stirling, as Kemp, Murray & Nicholson, in 1858. The company had further business activities further east in East Lothian. In the North British Agriculturist in November 1858 stated that “Kemp, Murray & Nicholson have removed from their branch establishment, Haddington, to their headquarters in Stirling where they have been in business for the last 10 years and where their business will henceforth be exclusively carried on.” By 1859 the company described itself as agricultural implement manufacturers, though by 1870 it had expanded its range of trades to be joiners, agricultural implement and reaping machine makers and engineers, activities that it became renowned for in the following decades.

The company underwent a number of significant changes in its early years: the partnership changed in 1876 so that it became renamed Kemp & Nicholson, a title it retained until the 1930s; in 1884 it moved from Dumbarton Road to more commodious premises at Cow Park Siding which adjoined the goods station of the North British Railway; it set up the Scottish Implement Works in the mid 1880s; by the 1890s it became an important agent as well as manufacturer of agricultural implements and machines, selling manufactures from the leading makers throughout Britain and further afield (this activity had started in the early 1870s with the company stated that “in addition to implements of their own manufacture, they have always in stock implements and machines of the best English manufacture”); by the mid 1890s it was also a cart, van and wagon builder.

The company was quick to publicise its manufactures to the farmers of Scotland. From 1858 until 1931 it was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show, also having an extensive stand. It was also a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press, being one of the few Scottish companies to advertise throughout the year.

The company was renowned for a number of types of implements and machines. From the 1870s, at the height of the development of local harvesting machinery, it quickly established its reputation as a maker of reaping machines, for which it continued to be renowned until the 1900s. By 1890 its specialisms were reapers, mowers, horse takes, grubbers, harrows and ploughs. In 1903 these specialisms were reapers, mowers, horse rakes, harrows, food coolers and turnip slicers, and two years later reapers, mowers, horse rakes, grubbers, harrows, ploughs, carts, vans, turnip cutters and hay presses. These were to be its staple manufactures into the early 1930s.

The company was highly recognised for its manufactures. In 1857 it was awarded 4 sovereigns for the best three row sowing machine for beans at the Highland Show. The company received a long list of awards from the Highland Show in following years: best harvest cart (1857), commended best sowing machine for grass seeds (1858), bronze medal for second best harrows for heavy land (1860), bronze medal for second best harrows for light land (1860), bronze medal for the second best harrows for light land (1860), bronze medal for second best drill sowing machine for grain (1860), best sowing machine for grass seeds (1860), best one harvest part with harvest frame (1860), best sowing machine for grass seeds 91861), highly commended combined reaping and mowing machine (1861), commended for food cooling barrows (1868) silver medal for collection (1870), medium silver medal for collection (1871), medium silver medal for collection (1873), medium silver medal for collection (1875).

The company continued to trade until shortly after the death of Major Kemp Smith in March 1930. 

Robert Kydd, Trades Lane, Coupar Angus, was already a well-known agricultural implement maker from the mid-1870s. He brought attention to his manufactures in the North British Agriculturist on 28 July 1875. He was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show from 1879 until 1900 as well as a keen competitor of his implements and machines. He entered the Highland Society’s trial of potato diggers in 1881 and the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s trials of potato raising machines in 1888. He also entered the Highland Society’s trial of combined reapers and binders, or lifting and binding machines in 1882. 

Kydd quickly gained a reputation for his implements and machines. In 1887 his two row potato planter was “now so well and favourably known as to require no description or comment”. By 1896 the Dundee Advertiser could state that “he has been getting quite a name far afield”. He was already well noted for his potato diggers as well as ploughs and drill ploughs. All of his implements showed “good workmanship”. He was recorded in trades directories as an implement maker until at least 1900 and as a smith until 1913.

The name of Kirkwood was well-known in the Lothians in the nineteenth century. One of the names that keeps on cropping up over and over again in the farming papers of nineteenth century Scotland is William Kirkwood, agricultural implement maker, Lothian Bridge, Dalkeith, Midlothian.
William first appears in the North British agriculturist in 1856 as an implement maker at Duddingston. He moved from there in late 1865 when he adverts record William Kirkwood, implement maker, Lothian Bridge (late Duddingston). He undertook a number of trades: as agricultural implement maker, smith and as smith and implement maker.
William was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show. Although he exhibited in the main show districts including Dumfries, Kelso, Stirling, he most regularly exhibit at Edinburgh. He exhibited at that last location in 1859, 1869, 1877, 1893, 1899, and 1907. At the Show he was an award-winning maker, winning numerous prizes. They included: 

1857 – award of 2 sovereigns for best sheep fodder rack 
1858 – award of 2 sovereigns for best hand stubble or hay rake 
1858 – award of 5 sovereigns for best feeding troughs for sheep 
1859 – award of L2 for best hand stubble or hay rake 
1859 – award of L1 for best feeding troughs for sheep 
RHS 1859 – award of L1 for best wheelbarrow of malleable iron 
1860 – award of 1 sovereign for best feeding troughs for sheep 
1860 – award of 1 sovereign for best wheelbarrow of malleable iron 
1860 – commended, hand stubble or hay rake 
1861 – award of 3 sovereigns for best machine for pulverising guano etc 
1861 – award of 1 sovereign for best feeding troughs for sheep 
1861 – award of 2 sovereigns for best sheep fodder rack 
1873 – award of medium silver medal for Norwegian harrow
William died in March 1911. His obituary appeared in the Edinburgh evening news on 1 April 1911. It provides some further information about his business and the man at its helm:

“Mr William H. Kirkwood, agricultural implement maker, Lothian Bridge, died suddenly yesterday, after a few days’ illness, at the age of 63 years. Deceased, who was a native of Edinburgh, began his engineering career in the Singer Sewing Machine Works, in the West of Scotland, and on the death of his father, he acquired the engineering business at Lothian Bridge. Mr Kirkwood was particularly successful in the manufacture of ploughs, and gained various awards from the Highland and Agricultural Society, and other societies, for improvements both ploughs and harrows. He took a lively interest in the affairs of the Newtongrange district, was for several years a member of the Parish Council, and was senior elder and session clerk for Newbattle Parish Church.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

J is for …

Alexander Jack & Sons Ltd, Agricultural Implement Works, Maybole, Ayrshire 
Johnson’s (Implements) Scotland Ltd, 28 Orchard Place, Stirling 
John Joiner & Sons, engineers, Burntsmithy, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 

Alexander Jack & Sons, Agricultural Implement Works, Maybole, Ayrshire 
Johnson’s (Implements) Scotland Ltd, 28 Orchard Place, Stirling 
John Joiner & Sons, engineers, Burntsmithy, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 

Two of the makers under the alphabetic letter J are well-known. 

Johnson’s (Implements) Scotland Ltd, 28 Orchard Place, Stirling, advertised in the Farming News in 1956. In following years it moved premises. By 1960 it moved to Colquhoun Street, and then to Kerse Road, Stirling in 1968. As an agent its well known products such as potato equipment from Johnson, Cooch, Catchpole, Cook, and Kennet in 1967. In 1966 it exhibited at the Highland Show, as a new model the Johnson/Underhaug model 1510 potato harvester invented by F. A. Underhaug (Fabrik), Stavanger, Norway, and made by F. A. Underhaug in association with Johnson’s (Engineering) Ltd. This was an important potato harvester in the development of mechanical potato harvesters in Scotland, especially by smaller farmers interested in harvesting their crop. 

In March 1968 Ransomes of Ipswich bought from the Ross Group, Johnson’s (Engineering) Ltd of Cambridge and its subsidiaries Johnsons (Implements) Scotland Ltd, Stirling and the Catchpole Engineering Co. Ltd. 

An older implement and machine maker was Alexander Jack & Sons, Agricultural Implement Works, Maybole, Ayrshire. Alexander Jack was first noted in the Scottish agricultural press in 1843 with the name and address Alexander Jack, Sawmill, Auchendrane, Maybole. By the early 1950s he described himself as a wood merchant at Culroy, Maybole. 

By the late 1850s Alexander was joined by one son, and later into the early 1860s by another. The name Alexander Jack and Sons was to be known until 1905 when the company incorporated itself and became limited by guarantee as Alexander Jack & Sons Ltd. In 1930 it became the proprietor of another major Ayrshire maker – Thomas Hunter & Sons (Maybole) Ltd. 

While the company was always based in Maybole, it opened a branch in Glasgow in the late 1870s. By 1879 its Glasgow premises was at 427 Gallowgate. With the move of the other implement makers to Graham Square, Alexander followed. By 1884 the company of implement makers and wood merchants was based at 20 Graham Square where it remained until at least the Second World War. 

The company undertook a range of trades and activities – as agricultural implement makers, cartwrights, railway waggon builders, engineers, timber merchants, steam saw millers, smith and farrier, spring van and lorry builder and wood merchant. It was especially noted for its mowers and reapers, potato diggers and carts. In 1935 it noted how it had been a maker of Scotch carts for over 90 years. 

By the 1870s the company also acted as an agent for a range of other makers. In 1875 they included W. N. Nicholson & Son, Newark On Trent, Ransomes, Sims & Head, Orwell Works, Ipswitch, John Williams & Son, Rhyl, Richmond & Chandler, Salford, Manchester, Picksley, Sims & Co. Ltd, Leigh, Lancashire, James Pattison, Hurlet. In 1909 they were International Harvester Co. of Great Britain Ltd, London, Cockshutt Plow Co. Ltd, Brantford, Canada. 

The company was a regular advertiser in the Scottish farming press as well as a regular at the Royal Highland Show, where it travelled to all of the show districts. It also frequented major shows in Northern Ireland as well as the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In Scotland it did well at the shows, especially the Highland Show. For example, in 1859 it was awarded a bronze medal for second best sowing machine for turnips as well as other awards for Norwegian harrows, a one row sowing machine for beans. In the early 1870s it was awarded silver medals for its collection of implements and machines. But it was its potato raisers, such as its Caledonian, that won it national awards in England at the Royal Agricultural Society of England trials in 1896. This was a major accolade for a Scottish company against the major English players.

Update – 
If you are interested in the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers in the period you may be interested in the newly published e-book Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers, 1843-1914: a directory, which has just been published by the Scottish Record Society. It is on special offer until 31 December 2020.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

H is for …

Thomas Halliday, agricultural implement works, Rosehall, Haddington, East Lothian 
David Hally & Son, Auchterarder, Perthshire 
John Hally, implement maker, Auchterarder, Perthshire
John Harkness & Sons, Newfield Burn Works by Annan 
John Hanton, engineer and implement agent, Dalkeith, Midlothian 
Harper & Co., smiths, wireworkers, wire mattress makers, iron and wire merchants, and contractors, agricultural implement makers and agents; warehouse, 20 Hadden Street; works, 57 Belmont Street, Aberdeen 
Harpers Ltd, founders, engineers, millwrights, smiths, and storemen, Albion Iron Works, and New Works, Craiginches, Aberdeen 
Hastie & Co., dairy and bakery engineers, tinsmiths and lamp makers, 100 Morrison Street, and 8 Newport Street, Edinburgh 
Heggie & Robertson, Priory Bank, Dunfermline, Fife 
George Henderson, 58 Leith Street, Edinburgh, and Kelso Foundry, Kelso, Roxburghshire 
William Henderson & Sons, Catrine, Ayrshire 
Henderson & Wither, 10 George Street and Charlotte Street, Stranraer
David Hendry, Springbank, Ardler, Meigle, Perthshire 
J. & R. Hogarth Ltd (thrashing machines &c), Shedden Park Road, Kelso, Roxburghshire 
Hogg & Robertson, Morningside, Innerleithern, Peebleshire 
James Hood & Son, 10 New Broughton and 4 Barony Place, Edinburgh 
Robert Howie & Sons, Dunlop, Ayrshire 
Archibald Hunter (drills and manure distributors), Crosshill Road, Maybole, Ayrshire 
Thomas Hunter & Sons, Agricultural Implement Works, Maybole, Ayrshire 
Hutcheon (Turriff) Ltd, 44 High Street, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 

Under the alphabet letter H, we gave a good assortment of makers, some well-known, others less so. 

A well-known plough-maker in south-west Scotland was John Harkness & Sons, Newfield Burn Works by Annan. The company was already in operation in 1922 as smiths; from 1930 also as agricultural implement manufacturers. John Harkness died in 1965. 

Heggie & Robertson, Priory Bank, Dunfermline, Fife, started in business by 1909, as an agricultural implement maker, mechanical engineer and millwright. The business continued to be recorded in trade directories until at least 1940. 

A well-known business is Archibald Hunter, Crosshill Road, Maybole, Ayrshire. It was in business from at least 1851 as a smith until 1948. It largely undertook work as a smith and an agricultural implement maker. It entered a potato planter to the trial of improved potato planters in 1914. 

Another well-known business is Thomas Hunter & Sons, Agricultural Implement Works, Maybole, Ayrshire 

Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole, was one of the celebrated and well-renowned Scottish agricultural implement makers. In 1861 Thomas Hunter was a smith at Maybole. His business developed and flourished and by 1883 his address was given as the “Implement Works, Maybole”. He was joined in business by his sons by 1895. In 1905 the business was located in Alloway Road: the “Alloway Road Implement Works”. The business became a limited company by guarantee in 1920: Thomas Hunter & Sons Ltd. That company was short-lived, becoming Thomas Hunter & Sons (Maybole) Ltd in 1924; it was wound up in late 1927. By 1924 the proprietors were Alex Jack & Sons Ltd, a rival firm, and also another well-known implement and machine maker.
Thomas Hunter making its turnip drills, ploughs, harrows, mowers, reapers, turnip thinners in 1883. By 1890 his manufactures included turnip drill and thinners, ploughs, harrows, mowers and reapers. They were summed up as “drills and cultivating tools” in 1909.

Thomas was an award-winning implement maker from an early date. in 1873 he won a silver medal at the Highland Show for two patent turnip thinners and in 1875 a minor silver medal for his collection. At the Royal Agricultural Society of England meeting in 1870 he was awarded a highly commended for Dickson’s patent double drill turnip cleaner.

Thomas was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show from 1864 onwards, quickly establishing a name for himself throughout the country as he visited all of the eight show districts. In 1903 he exhibited a wide range of implements including an improved self-acting double drill revolving turnip thinner (£12), improved self-acting single drill turnip thinning machine for hilly land (£6), an improved combined scarifier and turnip thinner, double drill (£9), a drill scarifier for cleaning all kinds of green crop. a turnip topping and tailing machine, double drill (£9), a combined mangold and turnip drill (£6 10s), improved drill plough with marker (£4 15s), consolidating land roller, with lubricating grease boxes (£11 10s), improved tennant grubber, on wheels (£7 10s), large field grubber, improved leverage (£8 10s), set Dickson’s patent double drill root cleaners, heavy (£3 10s), set saddle drill harrows (£2 5s), set zigzag harrows, 9 1/2 feet light (£3 5s), improved drill grubber, with ridging body, light (£3 15s).

Update – 
If you are interested in the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers in the period you may be interested in the newly published e-book Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers, 1843-1914: a directory, which has just been published by the Scottish Record Society. It is on special offer until 31 December 2020.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

G is for …

James F. Gardiner (late of Kemp & Nicholson Ltd), 13 Dowan Place, Stirling, Stirlingshire 
Robert G. Garvie, Bon Accord Lane, Aberdeen 
W. & A. Geddes, High Street, Wick, Caithness 
Theodore Gerrard (reaping & thrashing machines), 47 George Street, Huntly, Aberdeenshire 
Gibb & Hogg Ltd, engineers, ironfounders and boilermakers, Victoria Engine Works, Airdrie, Lanarkshire 
Thomas Gibson & Son, iron and wire fences, iron gate and wire netting manufacturers, wire workers, smiths, engineers, agricultural implement makers, iron bridge builders, iron roofing and pea-trainer manufacturers, 18 Gibson Terrace, Edinburgh 
John Gillanders, Culmailly, Golspie, Sutherland 
Gillies Engineering Co. Ltd (chilled ploughs), Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire 
Gillies & Henderson, agricultural implement dealers, 59 Bread Street, Edinburgh 
Gold & Co. (1920) Ltd, Carluke Tile Works and 112 Bath Street, Glasgow 
William Goodlet, Flora Bank, Haddington, East Lothian 
Gordon & Coltart, Implement Works, Castle Douglas and Dumfries, Dumfriesshire
James Gordon, implement works, Castle Douglas, Dumfriesshire 
Roderick Gordon (ploughs, harrows, grubbers), White Horse Close, Elgin, and Lochills, Morayshire 
Andrew Grant, 16 Seafield Square, Rothes, Morayshire 
Edward Grant, Aberlour, Banffshire 
Grant, Cameron & Curle (hay waggons, milk carts and vans, farm carts, wheels and axles), St Rollox Spring Van and Lorry Factory, 83 to 99 Kennedy Street, Glasgow 
Grant & Dargie, Denburn Machine Works, Montrose Street, Brechin, Angus 
David Grant (seed sowing machines & corn crushers), South Esk Street, Brechin, Angus 
Edward A. Grant, Standfast Works, Craigellachie, Morayshire 
William Grant (ploughs, cultivators and harrows), 35 Blackfriars Road, Elgin 
Eddie T. Y. Gray, Fairbank Works, Fetterangus, Mintlaw Station, Aberdeenshire 
George Gray & Co., agricultural implement makers, Uddingston Plough Works, Uddingston, Lanarkshire 
John Gray, 67 to 71 George Street, Stranraer, and 110 King Street, Castle Douglas, Wigtownshire 

We have a good selection of implement and machine makers under the alphabetic heading of G. We have already written extensively of Robert Garvie so we will focus on some other makers. Just in case you miss Garvie, the photos illustrate one of his threshing mills at work at the Deeside rally in August 2018. 

Edward A. Grant, Standfast Works, Craigellachie, Morayshire, was recorded in trade directories from around 1890 to 1951. Grant was a smith who made a number of implements including ploughs, one of which can be seen at the Grampian Farming Museum. Edward exhibited at the Highland Show when it exhibited at Inverness in 1911, 1923, 1928, 1932, 1948 as well as the Aberdeen shows of 1935 and 1951. 

Grant & Dargie, Denburn Machine Works, Montrose Street, Brechin, Angus, was an older company, that existed from at least 1869 to 1877; By 1894 it had become More & Dargie. As an implement maker, ironfounder, mechanical engineer, millwright and smith, it manufactured implements such as seeding implements, weighing machines and hand tools. Like Edward A, Grant it also exhibited at the Highland show: in 1869 in Edinburgh and 1876 in Aberdeen. 

George Gray & Co., agricultural implement makers, Uddingston Plough Works, Uddingston, Lanarkshire, was a members of the well-known family of Gray of Uddingston, plough makers and reaping machine makers. He was in business by 1875; it continued until after the Second World War. George Gray retired from business in 1945. George was a well-known exhibitor at the Highland Show from 1875 onwards until 1934 and an advertiser in the farming press from 1875 until 1909 and 1919 to 1936. 

William Goodlet, Flora Bank, Haddington, East Lothian, was another implement maker from the late nineteenth century. He was both a maker and an agent. In 1890 he was the successor to G. & W. Porteous who had been in business since at least 1858. Porteous was the successor to Scoular & Co. Goodlet. Among his activities he was an implement maker, an agent as well as a cycle maker and manufacturer.

Update – 
If you are interested in the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers in the period you may be interested in the newly published e-book Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers, 1843-1914: a directory, which has just been published by the Scottish Record Society. It is on special offer until 31 December 2020. 

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

F is for …

John Fairbairn (patent reaper and mower), Maxton, St Boswells, Roxburghshire 
Thomas Fairgrieve & Sons, millwrights and engineers, Cockholm Works, Stow, Midlothian 
James G. Falconer (ploughs and harrows), Pluscarden, Elgin 
Farm Mechanisation Co. Ltd, Ladybank, Fife 
Andrew R. Findlay, 17 Robertson Street, Glasgow 
Finlayson & Hill, Eastfield Iron Works, Clyde View Place, Rutherglen, Lanarkshire  
Flear & Thomson (threshing mills, turnip thinners), Station Road, Dunfermline, Fife 
F. M. Fleming & Son, agricultural engineers, Rattray Engineering Works, Blairgowrie, Perthshire 
P. & R. Fleming & Co., 29 Argyle Street, Glasgow and 16 Graham Square, Glasgow 
George Forbes (reapers & thrashers), Janetstown, Caithness 
Walter R. T. Forbes (turnip sowers & rollers), Sinclair Street, Thurso, Caithness 
Forfar Foundry Ltd, Service Road, Forfar, Angus 
Archibald Forrest, agricultural implement maker, Old Foundry, Uddingston 
Fraser Brothers, agricultural machinery manufacturers, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire 
James S. Fraser & Sons, agricultural implement makers, Blairgowrie, Perthshire 
Fraser & McColl, 20 and 22 Eastgate and Hamilton Street, Inverness 
William Fraser, Abbey Road, Auchterarder, Perthshire 

The selection of names in the alphabet that start with the letter F are very varied. Most are from eastern Scotland, the main tillage areas where agricultural implements and machines were used. There are clusters of makers in Perthshire and Fife, two important centres for their manufacture. Glasgow and the environs were also a central area for their distribution for the west of Scotland. 

In Fife the name of Flear & Thomson, Station Road, Dunfermline, Fife, may be known to some readers as a car dealer. However, it started its life as an agricultural implement and machine makers. It was in business by 1890 manufacturing turnip thinners and ploughs. By 1905 it was also making threshing machines. It became a well-known agent. It became a motor engineer and a garage around the mid 1920s. 

One of the well-known names of agricultural implement makers and agents in Fife was Farm Mechanisation Co. Ltd, of Ladybank, established by Gavin Reekie in 1947.

From its earliest days its name was closely associated with Massey Ferguson. Indeed, the company was set up to market the Ferguson TE20 tractor with its revolutionary three-point linkage. In 1958 its strapline was “The Massey Harris and Ferguson people”. You will see the Farm Mechanisation badge on many Fergies and MF tractors round the rally fields!
By 1953 the company was associated with Reekie Engineering Co. Ltd, Arbroath, and Stirling Tractors, St Ninians, Stirling. In 1965 an advert in The Scottish Farmer recorded it as a member of the G. Reekie group of companies.

It extended its activities in Fife. By 1955 it had a premises at Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, and in 1959 a further one at South Road, Cupar.

It was not until 1951 that the company started to exhibit at the Highland Show, doing so until 1964. It entered a number of its implements for the prestigious new implement award. In 1951 it entered its “Farmec” 3 row fertiliser unit (invented by G. R. Reekie); in 1953 the Farmec universal elevator as well as its improved 3 row fertiliser unit for mounted riders; in 1962 a pressure kiln dryer and the Farmec power drive 3 row fertiliser unit. The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland awarded a silver medal in 1953 for its fertiliser unit for mounted riders.

In Perthshire, William Fraser was a smith whose business ran from at least 1904 to 1940. He exhibited at the Highland Show of 1904 when it was held in Perth. James S. Fraser & Sons, agricultural implement makers, Blairgowrie, Perthshire had a business that extended from at least 1883 to 1940. He undertook a wide range of trades though throughout this period he continued to be an agricultural implement maker, engineer, heating apparatus maker and fitter, mechanical engineer and smith. 

A well-known Perthshire name is F. M. Fleming & Son, agricultural engineers, Rattray Engineering Works, Blairgowrie, which was well-known from the 1920s until the 1950s, for its haymaking implements and machines. This implement maker and engineer won a silver medal for its hydraulic model rick lifter in 1953. In 1955 it invented and made the Anderson sugar beet and root cleaner’. It was also an agent. In 1955 it was an agent for David Brown tractors.

Update – 
If you are interested in the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers in the period you may be interested in the newly published e-book Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers, 1843-1914: a directory, which has just been published by the Scottish Record Society. It is on special offer until 31 December 2020. Information on how to order this ebook is on the flier at the end of the images on this post.

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Mrs Martha Jamieson or Pollock and Pollock of Mauchline

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women did not always play a central or a visible role in the Scottish agricultural implement makers. They more usually played a background role, as supporters of their husbands or family members; some worked in the “office”; others were shareholders; further ones were directors.

Their roles became more critical when key members of businesses, such as the directors or makers, died and families wanted to continue their business. This was especially so where their businesses were well-known, long lasting and successful.

When Andrew Pollock, implement maker, Mauchline, died in October 1904, at the age of 55, the family of that well-known – and indeed renowned – implement maker were faced with a difficult situation, that of continuing the family business. Andrew’s sons were still of an age which meant that they could not run the business. Andrew, the oldest son, was born in 1888, and William two years later in 1890.

An arrangement was made that the business would be run on behalf of his trust by Mrs Pollock – Martha – and her two sons until such times as they were old enough and able to run it. From 1904 Martha, who was in her fifties, continued the business under the name of Andrew Pollock, agricultural implement works, Mauchline. This she did until 31 December 1912 when it was transferred to Andrew Pollock and William Pollock, under the name A. & W. Pollock, agricultural implement works, Mauchline.

During these years Martha continued to grow the business. She continued to exhibit its manufactures at the Highland Show. She also entered the company’s potato diggers for the famous Royal Highland and Agricultural Society’s trials of potato diggers or lifters in 1909, 1911, winning in the latter a premium along with three other machines. The company also ensured that along with its own manufactures it could supply those from the eminent English makers such as W. N. Nicholson & Sons Ltd, Newark on Trent and Barford & Perkins, Peterborough.

Martha Pollock played a key role in ensuring the continuity of the Pollock name in Ayrshire and the continuation of a well-known and long established business. Readers will be well-aware of the name of A. & W. Pollock on the rally field and the name of Pollock Farm Equipment Ltd.

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The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

E is for …

Thomas Edmonstone & Son, 110, West Bow, Edinburgh
William Elder & Sons, Castlegate and Vulcan Foundry, Berwick on Tweed; Hardgate Street, Haddington, East Lothian, and Newton St Boswells, Roxburghshire
Elgin Central Engineers Ltd, Hill Street, Elgin, Morayshire
William J. Elsey (Hawksworth, Nottinghamshire), corn and seed machine manufacturer, Glen Cottage, 2 Coltbridge Terrace, Edinburgh
David Erskine, Glenluce, Wigtownshire

The above is a small selection of agricultural implement and machine makers with the surname starting with the letter E. Some of these names are well-recognised though others are not.

Perhaps the most well-known name is that of William Elder & Sons which started its business at the Vulcan Foundry in Berwick on Tweed. Trade directories of implement and machine makers from the late nineteenth century sometimes include Berwick on Tweed in Scotland; others in England.

While firmly associated with Berwick on Tweed, the company sold its implements and machines into the Scottish Borders. The company set up an associated trading company in Glasgow in the First World War. This was William Elder & Sons (Glasgow) Ltd. However, it did not remain in business for long. After the First World War, it established premises in Scotland. In 1922 they were located at Hope Park, Haddington, and at Newton St Boswells; these premises continued to trade into the early 1960s. By the early 1960s they were also associated with Reston Motor Garage, Motor Engineers, Reston.

In Scotland the company functioned as an agricultural implement maker, an agricultural engineer, a mechanical engineer and a millwright. It acted as an agent for Massey Harris in 1926, and for Albion in 1945, and David Brown in 1955.

A name that was well-known in Elgin until 1986 was Elgin Central Engineers Ltd of Central Agricultural Works, Hill Street. The business started life as Anderson & Munro Ltd, being incorporated in 1912. By 1960 it had premises at both Hill Street and High Street, with the agricultural department being located at Hill Street. By 1968 it had moved to Moycroft where it remained in following years. It exhibited at the Highland Show in 1951, 1956, 1965, 1966 and 1967. It frequently advertised in the Farming News.

The company had a wide trades base. In the mid 1950s it was an agricultural engineer, implement, machinery and equipment dealer, and a tractor and implement agent, distributor and dealer. In 1960 it was also a motor engineer and agent. It was a Ford tractor agent, and along with that agency sold associated implements and machines from Ransomes, and in the late 1960s from New Holland, and Clayson (combines). In the mid 1960s it was also agent for the “Amby” root harvester, invented and made by Messrs Mads Amby, Aalborg, Denmark.

As an implement maker, it invented and made the Minefield gapper and scarifier. It was entered for the new implement awards at the Highland Show in 1956.

One name that may not be well-recognised by readers is Mr William J Elsey, Glen Cottage, 2 Coatbridge Terrace, Murrayfield, Edinburgh. William was born in Shrewsbury in 1850, and later moved to Hawksworth, Bing, Nottinghamshire. He came to Edinburgh around 1894, but retained his links with the south thereafter, advertising himself in the Scottish Farmer as “W. J. Elsey, manufacturer, Hawksworth, Bing, Notts, or Glen Cottage, Murrayfield, Edinburgh”.

William was a corn and seed machine manufacturer, also making improvements to seed-cleaning machinery, carrying on that work until his death in early 1921. He had a wide reputation for his seed cleaners, also actively promoting his inventions and wares in both the North British Agriculturist and the Scottish farmer from 1894; he attended the Highland Show each year from 1899. He also sold manufactures from other implement and machine makers, such as W. Rainforth & Sons, Lincoln, in 1906.

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Celebrating the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers of yesteryear