Happy New Year

Here’s hoping that 2021 will be a good year. 

We are looking forward to celebrating our Scottish agricultural implement makers from past years.

We hope you will continue to join us on our exploration of the makers and their manufactures.


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

Z is for ….

Well, we couldn’t find a company starting with the letter z. 

Can you think of one? 

If you have enjoyed the A to Z series you might be interested in Scottish agricultural implement and machine maker, 1843-1914: a directory. It includes lots of information about who was making these manufactures, as well as their products, awards, incidence of their advertising in the Scottish agricultural press as well as a whole lot more. More details are below. 

And even better, it is on special offer until the end of the year.


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

Y is for …

J. & T. Young, boilermakers, engineers, iron and millwrights’ founders, Vulcan Foundry, Ayr, Ayrshire 
William D. Young & Co., manufacturers of iron and wire fences, gates, bridges, roofs &c, Beaverbank, Lower Broughton Road, Edinburgh 
Youngson Brothers, Hall Place, Elgin, Morayshire 

As would be expected, there are not too many names under the letter Y. 

One of the old Ayrshire names is J. & T. Young, Newton Green, Ayrshire, which first advertised in the North British Agriculturists in 1849. Its foundry was the Vulcan. It undertook a range of trades including agricultural engineer, agricultural implement maker, boilermaker, engineer, millwright, iron fence and hurdle maker, machine maker and millwright, marine engineer, and steam boiler maker. These trades suggest that it undertook a wide range of manufacturing activities. 

It won a number of medals at the Highland Show from 1857 to 1871. These indicate the variety of work undertaken by this maker. In 1857 it was awarded 2 sovereigns for the best cheese press. In 1859, it was awarded L4 for the best sowing machine for mangolds, L2 for the best cheese press, and L1 for best curd cutter for dairy purposes.

In 1860 it was awarded 3 sovereigns for the best sowing machine for turnips, and 
3 sovereigns for best sowing machine for mangolds. In 1868, it received a commendation for reaping and mowing machines. This was followed by silver medals in 1870 and 1871 for its collection. 

An Edinburgh name from the nineteenth century was William D. Young & Co., manufacturers of iron and wire fences, gates, bridges, roofs &c, Beaverbank, Lower Broughton Road.

William D. Young was taken over by Young, Peddie & Co., 54 North Hanover Street, Edinburgh in early 1850. It also had premises in Glasgow. It continued as an iron fence, gate, bridge and conservatory manufacturers and contractors, agricultural implement makers, until the early 1860s. 

The company received numerous awards from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. These include: 
In 1856, an award of 5 sovereigns for best land presser for preparing seed bed and for grain, award of 2 sovereigns for best stone or iron stack pillars with framework, and a commendation for wrought iron lodge entrance gate etc.

In 1857, an award of 2 sovereigns for best stone or iron stack pillars with framework, and a commendation for general collection of implements and wire work 
In 1858, an award of 4 sovereigns for best liquid manure distributing machine, 2 sovereigns for best horse stubble or hayrake, 2 sovereigns for best stone or iron stack pillars with framework, 1 sovereign for best field gate constructed entirely of iron, and 1 sovereign for best iron netting for sheep fence
In 1859, bronze medal for second best land presser for preparing seed bed for grain, bronze medal for second best hand stubble or hay rake, bronze medal for second best sheep fodder rack, bronze medal for second best divisions, rack and manger for farm stables, award of L2 for best stone or iron stack pillars with framework, L1 for best iron hurdles for cattle fence, L1 for best iron netting for sheep fence.

These manufactures include not only implements and machines but also sundries that helped the farmer and agriculturist to undertake their work. Metal was key for the manufacture for fences, wire work, stable work and architectural fittings. 

The association of the name Young and meatal sundries in Edinburgh continued into the twentieth century with the name of Robert Young Ltd, ironmongers and iron merchants, 192, 194 and 198 Morrison Street, Edinburgh; warehouse Dewar Place Land. The company was incorporated on 20 June 1910 and a special resolution to voluntarily wind up the company was passed on 18 August 1931. The company was an iron merchant, retail ironmonger and wholesale ironmonger as well as a seed merchant. The business had its roots back to at least 1874 through Robert Young, 15 Morrison Street, Edinburgh.


Smithfield Show in 1868

In recent weeks we have posted accounts of the Scottish exhibitors at the Smithfield Show. Detailed accounts of the implement department were included in the Scottish regional press and the farming press, including the North British Agriculturist. These accounts note the most important exhibitors and exhibits. These accounts can tell us a lot about the trends in the development of agricultural machines and machines, including new developments, fashions and the major makers.

The 1860s were a period of expansion in the agricultural implement trades. A number of new makers were emerging. One of the main trends was the development and increased use of steam power and the application of steam power to agriculture. 

All of these trends can be seen in an account of the Smithfield show in December 1868 published in the North British Agriculturist. The account includes only English makers – which says a lot about the absence of Scottish makers at the show and the interests of the reporter:

“The machinery and implements of the Smithfield Club Show of 1868
Within the last few years agriculturists have bestowed increasing attention on improved implements and machines. This has stimulated mechanical invention, and a number of new articles have been brought before the public. Farmers are now prepared to expend larger sums than they have hitherto done in the purchase of improved machines and implements. In the interest alike of the manufacturer and the farmer, it is important that implements, especially of the more novel and costly description, should be carefully tested in regard to their adaptation for the work required of them. Besides their efficiency, durability is also an important question. This is now better understood by manufacturers. The substitution of iron for wood, and more recently of steel for iron in the working parts of many machines, us an evidence of this. Attention is further being bestowed on the relative strength of the several parts of the implement. Unnecessary complications are being got rid of: Direct action of the motive power is being secured. Implement makers as well as agriculturists understand better than heretofore the defects and difficulties which various machines have to overcome. Impossibilities are accordingly less frequently attempted. A fair chance and suitable conditions are secured for the successful working of the implements of the farm. Farmers and their labourers further exercise more skill and practical knowledge in the use of their more valuable machinery than was available even a few years ago, and this fact greatly enhances not only the utility but the durability of such machinery. In this direction further progress is necessary, especially in keeping all machines, whether for cutting, crushing, bruising, or other purposes, thoroughly clean, perfectly bright, and their working parts properly lubricated. 

No new implements or machines are exhibited on the present occasion, but there are many improvements on those in general use. We miss from the gallery the ingenious gas-engine which last year created so much attention, but we learn that it is coming into use in London and elsewhere. Those who expected to see an application of heated air as a motive power were disappointed. At Islington we also missed the interesting apparatus in which the diamond is made to perform the rude duty of dressing mill-stones. 

The heavy implements are crowded underneath the galleries, where space and light are alike scant, and a careful methodical examination of the various articles scarcely possible. Messrs Roby & Co., Lincoln, have a good display of engines of various powers and descriptions, an improved straw elevator, and thrashing machines. Richard Garrett and Sons, Sandringham, have a numerous and varied assortment of corn and seed drills, hoes, field rollers, corn-dressing machines, portable engines, with combined finishing and dressing thrashing apparatus. Messrs Hornsby & Sons, Grantham, besides portable thrashing machines and engines, exhibit many varieties of reaping, mowing, and combined reaping and mowing machines, with ploughs, root-pulpers, &c. John Fowler & Co., send from Leeds engines of different capabilities, from ten to fourteen horse power, their six horse furrow balance plough, and their giant cultivator, capable of overtaking eighty acres a-day. In preparation for winter, it is still, with some people, a desideratum that the steam ploughs should be adapted so as to cut a narrower furrow, which will stand up at a more acute angle than lie down flat, as too much of the steam ploughing is apt to do, To effect this change, some arrangement might surely be made to fit, if required, one or two additional plough shares into the balance frame. The six-furrow plough exhibited appears better adapted for light and comparatively level soils than for heavy clay or high ridged lands. Messrs Fowler also manufacture and exhibit Pirie’s double-furrow adjusting plough, which has created much attention in the north, which has received a highland Society’s prize, and which is described by practical farmers who have used it as strong, well-made, and capable, in a free-working soil, of turning over with a pair of horses two acres of land in ten hours. For ordinary soils three horses abreast are, however, required. Charles Burrell, of Thetford, has a strong and powerful traction engine, and a patent clover-dressing machine. Messrs Clayton, Shuttleworth & Co., exhibit their celebrated portable engines and thrashing machines. Of the former 8700 have been sent out, and of the latter upwards of 7800. 

Messrs James & Frederick Howard have a large stand, on which are arranged steam cultivating apparatus, engines, horse-ploughs of various sorts and sizes, harrows, and haymakers, with mowing and reaping machines. The Beverley iron and Waggon Company have an extensive display of the numerous articles which they send out, namely, clod-crushers, field rollers. Mowing and reaping machines, one horse carts, manure distributing carts, bone mills &c. The articles appear to be carefully constructed of well-selected sound materials. Messrs E. R. & F. Turner, Ipswich, enter good portable engines, corn and grinding mills, with various admirable machines for preparing food for stock. Aveling & Porter send from Rochester their traction engines of the same useful stamp which rendered much essential service in moving heavy goods on the trial yards at Leicester. Messrs Ransomes & Sims, Ipswich, besides portable engines, have a varied assortment of ploughs, with turnip and chaff cutters. Messrs Marshall & Sons, Gainsborough, are reputed to send out first-class portable engines and thrashing machines, of which they enter several well got up specimens. Messrs Croskill and Sons, Beverley, although an old firm, continue to make advance with the most youthful and enterprising, and enter carts and waggons, clod crushers, and a 3 horse Bell’s reaper. 

In the galleries, the lighter and more portable articles are placed. The arrangements are better than on any previous occasion, but the extra space obtained by the enlargement of the galleries is entirely filled up; and when crowds of people throng the more popular stands, the necessity for more room is very apparent. As at all such agricultural gatherings, the seedsmen claim a large share of space, and make an elegant and imposing display of seeds, roots, and specimens of grasses. 
No implements are more required in this country than efficient mowing and reaping machines, and from the number of stands on which these are exhibition, it may be inferred that the demand for such machines is rapidly increasing. Burgess & Key, London, have an extensive collection. One of these is the prize reaper of the Paris International Exhibition. Walter A. Wood, London, displays mowing and reaping machines, at moderate prizes. John G. Rollins, London Bridge, shows Johnson’s American combined mower and self-raking reaper, manufactured at Syracuse, US. The rake us rotary, and runs on irregular raised cams; the implement is well thought of by those who have used it in America; but it is not at present made sufficiently strong to cope successfully with strong British corn crops. On Rollin’s stand are also shown numerous horse-rakes, forks, and other ingenious machines of American manufacture. Messrs Samuelson & Co., Banbury, exhibit their several sizes of mowers and reapers, many of which have found their way into the very north of Scotland, and commend themselves for their simplicity, lightness, and durability. At Messrs Hornsby’s and various other stands specimens of mowers and reapers of different construction and price are to be found, most of them already familiar to those of our readers interested in this department of farm implements. 

Robert Roby, of Bury St Edmonds, sends his celebrated screens and separators, and his haymakers and horse-rakes Picksley, Sims, and Co., hailing from Leigh, Lancashire, forward a large collection of food-preparing machines. From Maldon the Messrs Bentall also send chaff-cutters, root-pulpers, and corn bruisers. Churns are exhibited by many excellent makers. Galvanised netting, iron hurdles, stable fittings, feeding troughs, and other such appliances are set forth in endless variety by a host of manufacturers. 

Manufacturers and exhibitors appear to have been tolerably well satisfied with the orders and business which they obtained during their week in London. From county agents, especially, numerous orders are being taken, showing that salesmen and agents are becoming more and more the medium the manufacturer and the farmer.”

An interesting account which sets out some key trends in agricultural implements and machines, especially steam powered ones. 

The photographs were taken at the Great Northern Steam Fair, Beamish, 2017.


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

W is for …

Walker & Templeton, 43 Portland Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire 
D. M. Wallace & Sons Ltd, agricultural engineers and millwrights, Kelso 
John Wallace & Son Ltd, Railway Bridge, Townhead, Ayr 
John Wallace & Sons Ltd, agricultural engineers and implement makers, Graham Square; works and head office, Paton Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow 
J. & R. Wallace, Foundry, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire 
Thomas Wallace & Sons (threshing machines and turnip cutters &c), Station Garage and 16 Bridgegate, Peebles 
Watson Brothers (reapers, turnip drills, field rollers and harrows), Banff Foundry, Banff 
Alex Webster (ploughs and harrows), Pluscarden, Elgin 
Charles Weir, agricultural engineer, Strathaven, 451 Gallowgate, Glasgow and Kilmarnock (est 1632) 
George Whitecross, 7 Reid Street, Banff, Banffshire 
David Williamson & Sons, Cample Bridge, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire 
Alex Wilson (Aberdeen) Ltd, engineers, Ashgrove Road Engineering Works, Ashgrove Road, Aberdeen 
C. F. Wilson & Co., agricultural implement makers, 88 College Street, Aberdeen 
David Wilson, implement maker, East Linton, East Lothian 
Thomas Wilson, agricultural implement maker, Chapelton, Lanarkshire 
William Wilson & Son (Crosshouse) Ltd, Plann Saw Mills, Crosshouse, Ayrshire 
Wright Brothers (Boyne Mills) Ltd, Boyne Mills, Portsoy, Aberdeenshire

We have some really big names under W. 

Most notable are members of the Wallace Family of Glasgow and Ayr. The family were key players in the development of the company. In 1896 they included James Wallace, William Wallace, Robert Wallace, John Wallace, William B Wallace, and John F. Wallace. They included notable figures in the implement and machinery trade, as well as the wider community in Glasgow. The Scottish Farmer highlighted some the qualities of William Wallace in an obituary on May 18, 1912. It reads:

The Wallace family were key players in the development of the company. In 1896 they included James Wallace, William Wallace, Robert Wallace, John Wallace, William B Wallace, and John F. Wallace. They included notable figures in the implement and machinery trade, as well as the wider community in Glasgow. The Scottish Farmer highlighted some the qualities of William Wallace in an obituary on May 18, 1912. It reads:

“While this is important in recording the great William Wallace’s achievements, it also provides a good deal of information about his role within the wider public life of Glasgow, and the important contribution that he made to it. It also sets out some of the wider history of the eminent firm of John Wallace & Sons, and the wider role of the family within Scottish and world agriculture.

“Mr William Wallace, J.P.
Throughout the agricultural world there will be abiding sorrow at the tidings of ex-Bailie William Wallace, managing director of the well-known firm of John Wallace & Sons (Ltd), implement makers and agents, Glasgow. Mr Wallace was for many months a sufferer, and he might have said that he had suffered many things of physicians, and had been little the better. He passed away on Monday, 13th inst., in his own home, 5 Oakley Terrace, Dennistoun, Glasgow, aged sixty-five.

Mr Wallace belonged to an old Ayrshire family, hailing from the parish of Fenwick. He was born in Dalkeith while his father was foreman in Mushatt’s Foundry in that town. Subsequently Mr John Wallace removed to Mill of Haldane, in Kilmaronock parish, Dumbartonshire. There he kept the local “smiddy”, and developed that skill in handling agricultural machinery and implements which eventually went to the establishing of the reputation of his firm as one of the foremost in that trade. At Mill of Haldane Mr William Wallace and his elder brother, Mr James, who predeceased him, were brought up, and made their first acquaintance with their future trade in the country “smiddy”. About half a century ago the family removed to Glasgow, and James and William joined their father in founding the firm that has long been in the front. Mr James Wallace devoted himself more to the mechanical side of the business, and was therefore not so well known publicly as his brother. Mr William Wallace for many years was the representative of the firm at all the principal shows, and in many of the chief market towns. He was a first-rate business man, a good salesman, with a fine commercial instinct, and honourable and straightforward to a degree. Possibly there was in broad Scotland no better known or more widely respected member of the implement trade. A life member of the principal agricultural societies, he frequently was chosen as the spokesman of his trade when arranging details with these institutions. He also devoted much time and attention to the work of the Glasgow Agricultural Society, of which he was for various terms a director.

In 1902 Mr Wallace entered the Glasgow Town Council, and soon won a foremost place in its committees. He was not fond of public speaking, but when occasion required he could give quite a good account of himself at the Council board. His best work, however, was done in committee, and so highly were his qualities esteemed that after a comparatively short probation he found his way to the bench. As a magistrate, Bailie Wallace shone. He was essentially a man of kindly disposition, and aimed at being just. On the bench these qualities had full play, and he was held in much esteem as one of the best of the citizen magistrates. Identified throughout his life with the total abstinence movement, his experiences as a magistrate confirmed him more and more in the belief that the liquor traffic was prejudicial to the best interests of society. If possible, his total abstinence principles became more pronounced as he advanced in years, and in connection with that matter he was well known to be one of the temperance stalwarts in the licensing bench. He was a representative of the Town Council on the governing bodies of the West of Scotland Agricultural College and the Glasgow Veterinary College, and he also devoted much attention to the affairs of the Scottish Labour Colony.

Altogether, Bailie Wallace spent a worthy, noble life, working for the good of his fellow-men, and in business relationships securing the cordial goodwill of customers and competitors. He was universally recognised as a “white man”, one who played the game, and never feared either to express his opinions or to act up to them. He is survived by Mrs Wallace, who was in all points a most worthy helpmeet, and their family of four sons and one daughter. Two of the sons-Messrs John F. and Duncan-are in the form of John Wallace & Sons (Ltd); one-Mr Wm B. Wallace, formerly farmed at Broomhouse, Corstorphine, and is now farming in Surrey; and the fourth is in South Africa. To Mrs Wallace and her family we tender our respectful sympathy. The funeral, which was private, took place on Thursday to Janefield Cemetary, Glasgow.”

The name of John Wallace & Sons is a well-known and long established one among the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers. 

The company was already trading in Glasgow in 1865, from Graham Square. Graham Square was to form the address of the company until the late 1960s. By 1894 it had premises at 7, 9, 10 and from 28 to 38 Graham Square. By 1905 there were also branches at Ayr, Cupar, and Stirling; in 1913 they were recorded as Ayr, Perth, Cupar and Lanark.

The company was a forward looking on: it became a company limited by guarantee in December 1896; it changed its form a number of times during its history. It started to exhibit at the Highland Show in 1867, and attended shows in each of the different show districts, demonstrating its wish to be a company known throughout Scotland. The Highland and Agricultural Society awarded it numerous awards for its manufactures including a medium silver medal for collection (1870, 1875). It also won a number of awards at the Society’s prestigious implement trials, including third prize of £5 for potato digger in 1881, and equal award (with 3 others) for potato digger or lifter in 1911. It also entered a number of the Society’s trials including its trial of mowers in 1882, trial of binders in 1893, turnip lifters in 1895, swathe turners in 1905, potato diggers or lifters in 1909, potato diggers or lifters in 1911, and potato planters in 1914. The company regularly advertised in the Scottish agricultural press from 1864 onwards.

A key episode in the history of the business took place in December 1896 with the formation of the limited company of John Wallace & Sons Ltd. Its certificate of incorporation was dated 13 December.
The company’s memorandum of association provides insights into the newly formed company and how it was to operate:

“The objects for which the company are established are:
(a) to acquire the business carried on in Glasgow and elsewhere under the name or style of John Wallace & Sons, agricultural engineers and implement makers, Graham Square, Glasgow, and to purchase and undertake the whole of the assets and liabilities of such business upon the terms set forth in an agreement between the said John Wallace & Sons on the one part and James Colquhoun LLD, writer, Glasgow, as trustee for this company, on the second part, dated the twenty-sixth day of December, 1896.
(b) to carry on business as agricultural and general engineers, millwrights and implement makers, and ironmongers, in Glasgow and elsewhere, and to make, buy, sell, produce, alter, and deal in agricultural implements of every kind and description, and generally to carry on any business of a character similar or analogous thereto, or which will contribute to or facilitate the same, or which, by the advance or increase of knowledge or exigencies of labour, may be substituted therefor.
(c) to manufacture and sell, either by wholesale or retail, every description of goods connected with the agricultural industry of the country, and for that purpose to acquire suitable premises, either by building or purchasing the same, and to lease or buy, sell or exchange, land, or land and buildings, free from or subject to any feh-duty, ground, annual rent, tax, reservations of mines and minerals, or any restrictions, conditions, and agreements whatsoever, or subject to any bond, mortgage, or charge or other encumbrance. …”
The capital of the company was to be £40,000, divided into 8,000 shares of £5 each. The first directors were James Wallace, agricultural implement maker, and William Wallace, agricultural implement maker, both of Glasgow.

In this form the company continued until 1920. On 16 July 1920 the company passed a special resolution to wind up the company; this resolution was confirmed on 2 August 1920. Thereafter, the company took on another form, using the same name.
In the early 1940s the company had a business that extended throughout the major agricultural districts of Scotland. In 1942 an advert in the Scottish Farmer noted that the Glasgow based company (at Dennistoun) had branches at Perth, Aberfeldy, Edinburgh, Cupar, Laurencekirk, Wishaw, Carlisle, Oldham and Welwyn Garden City. By 1947 the company was listed as being at Glasgow and Welwyn Garden City and as having branches at Perth, Aberfeldy, Edinburgh, Cupar, Laurencekirk, Wishaw, Dumfries, Carlisle and Oldham. In 1952 the company’s branches were at Perth, Cupar, Stirling and Laurencekirk.

There were changes in how the company presented itself and how it was structured. There were a number of companies set up under the Wallace name.

By 1961 the company had changed its name to John Wallace & Sons (Agricultural Engineers, Glasgow) Ltd. It was to become John Wallace Agricultural Machinery Ltd after its incorporated on 23 November 1965 (and dissolved on 5 December 1973). An advert in the Farming News on 14 May 1965 noted that “John Wallace & Sons (A. E. G.) Ltd announce that the name of the company has been changed to John Wallace (Agricultural Machinery) Ltd, and are now operating from their new headquarters at Shell Park, Stirling. As previously announced spare parts enquiries are to be made to John Wallace Spares Division, Alloway Road, Maybole.

In addition, John Wallace Engineering Ltd was incorporated on 10 July 1964 (and dissolved on 30 December 1975). Further, John Wallace Farm Equipment Ltd was incorporated on 3 February 1965 (and dissolved on 30 December 1975). John Wallace Farm Equipment East Limited was incorporated as Thomas Sherriff & Company Ltd on 23 September 1941. Its parent company There was also a John Wallace Chemicals Ltd.

By the late 1960s John Wallace (Engineering ) Ltd was a holding company with 8 directors, and 2 shareholders, whose principal activity was the investment in and management of companies engaged in general engineering. In 1967 the subsidiary companies included Polarcold Ltd, Associated Metal Works Glasgow Ltd, Crawford Machinery Co. Ltd, John Wallace Mechanical Handling Ltd, Trucks & Pallets Scotland Ltd. All was not, however, well on the trading side by late 1968. In its annual return for October 1968 the company had a trading loss of £45,000. From 1 April 1969 the company was no longer trading; it was under a patent company, Stenhouse Holdings Ltd, which was incorporated in Scotland. By 1973 this had become Stenhouse Industries Ltd. Wallace was dissolved by notice in the Edinburgh Gazette on 30 December 1975.

John Wallace Farm Equipment Ltd, with a registered office at Shell Park, Stirling, and then at St Vincent Street, Glasgow, had a number of wholly owned subsidiaries. These were A. Baird & Sons Ltd, Alexander Jack & Sons Ltd, Thomas Sherriff & Co. Ltd, and Praills Hereford Ltd. By 1968 the first three of these were dormant companies. by 1971 the company was no longer trading. It too was also under the ultimate holding company of Stenhouse Holdings Ltd.

John Wallace Farm Equipment East discontinued its business activities in January 1967 and by 31 March 1969 its assets had been substantially realised. It was also under the holding company of Stenhouse Holdings Ltd.

By the second half of the 1960s the companies faced tough trading conditions – like the other Scottish implement and machine makers. A good many of them went under, including leading names like that of Wallace of Glasgow. Its company records show an interesting connections between companies as well as different business models and types of management.

By 1904 John Wallace & Co., had a premises at Ayr, at the Agricultural Implement Works, Railway Works, at Townhead. This Ayrshire branch was later to become a company in its own right under the name of John Wallace & Sons (Ayr) Ltd which continued in business until at least 1967; it was not dissolved until 30 August 1985. Its company limited by guarantee status came in 1949.

By 1934 the company had a number of premises in Ayr, and not only at Townhead Works. There were further ones at Smith Street and Station Bridge. In 1928 it had opened premises at Kilmarnock, at West Langlands Street. In 1944 it also had a premises at Stranraer.

In 1938 the company was known for its reapers, mowers and double drillers and manure sowers. It held a number of agencies. In 1942 they included John Deere and Caterpillar. Three years later they included Massey-Harris, Bamfords, Wallace, Oliver, David Brown, Ransomes and R. A. Lister. 1966 these included Ford and Ransomes.

C. & J. Weir, was a partnership known in the town of Strathaven, in 1882. By 1885 that partnership had dissolved and Charles Weir announced his business as millwright and engineer in the North British Agriculturist, the national Scottish agricultural newspaper. Two years later he gave his address as the agricultural implement works, Strathaven. Charles Weir of Strathaven was a name that became well known in the west of Scotland – it had a Glasgow depot from 1906 – and beyond until 1973. From 1934 the company became a company limited by guarantee, as Charles Weir Ltd.

The Weir family went much further back than 1882. In 1925 Charles Weir announced in the Scottish Farmer that it had been established since 1632 – quite an engineering heritage. By 1885 the company descibed itself as a millwright and engineer. These were two trades that were at the heart of the company’s skills and activities for decades. In 1936, for example, trade directories record the company as an agricultural engineer, an agricultural implement maker and agent, an agricultural implement manufacturer, and millwright. By 1955 another one describes the company as also a dairy appliance manufacturer.

While the company was old established, it did not promote its manufactures at the Highland Show until 1912, and only thereafter sporadically until 1958. The most frequent decade for its attendance was the 1930s. From 1914 it was also a regular advertiser in the Scottish Farmer.

The company’s stand at the Highland Show in 1912 provides an insight into its activities: its manufactures as well as its agencies. It exhibited:
– threshing mills, with comb drum, extra long crank shakers, riddle and sieve in motion;
oil or petrol engine driving threshing mill or churn;
– churn, 65 gallons, streamlet churn for power;
– churn, 25 gallons, streamlet churn for hand power;
– Weir’s patent rick lifter for hand power;
– Weir’s new patent rick lifter for hand or horse power;
– chain pump for liquid manure, sample to lift 10 feet (any size supplied to order);
– horse hoe or scarifier, extra long, with improved side stays;
– cheese press, double cheese press, new improved, with cut screws and brass nuts;
– curd mill, new improved, with malleable grating;
– meat cooler, 100 gallon, galvanised with malleable wheels;
– fodder barrow, large size, galvanised with malleable wheels;
– drill roller, notched drill roller;
– barn fanners, with 4 riddles and sand sieve;
– sack barrow, sack truck or barrow, varnished;
land roller, 6 ft wide by 33 inch diameter and steel covered;
– new patented, “Orwell” cultivator, 7 tines;
– “Albion” grinding mill;
– “Albion” chaff cutter for hand or power;
– weighing machine, sack weighing machine with weights;
– “New Century” latest improved binder;
– Wood’s famed non-frame mower, right or left hand;
– Wood’s new admiral mower;
– reaping attachments for above mowers;
– hay tedder, all steel, strong make;
– hay rake, all steel, strong make;
– Walter A Wood’s spring tooth harrows, with patent adjusting clip, 15 tines;
– garden seat, wood sparred and varnished, with malleable supports.

The list includes wide variety of manufactures. But it is also a range specifically for a predominantly livestock and dairying district: churns, as well as haymaking machinery, andmachiens for processing grains for animal food.
The company was also embracing the latest implements and machines from reputable companies such as Walter A. Wood, from the States and also England, as well as Harrison, McGregor of Leigh. His own manufactures, apart from the threshing machines, would have been relatively easy to manufacture.

Farmers and other agriculturists in north-east Scotland would have been well-aware of the renowned firm of G. W. Murray & Co., of the Banff Foundry, until it gave up business in 1897.

The Banff Foundry was not to remain empty for any length of time after G. W, Murray gave up business. By 1898 Watson Brothers had started business in it. In its first year of business it advertised itself as “Watson Brothers (successors to G. W. Murray & Co.) Banff Foundry.”

The Banff Foundry was not to remain empty for any length of time after G. W, Murray gave up business. By 1898 Watson Brothers had started business in it. In its first year of business it advertised itself as “Watson Brothers (successors to G. W. Murray & Co.) Banff Foundry.” 

The company had a number of trades: an agricultural implement maker, iron founder, iron merchant, marine engineer, mechanical engineer, and pump maker. Its main lines of manufacturers were reapers, turnip drills, field rollers and harrows. It extended its manufacture of corn bruisers in 1904 after purchasing the entire stock of corn bruiser patterns from Dalgetty Brothers, Aberdeen.

In 1909 the brothers were reported in the local Aberdeen Daily Journal to have “had a rather busy spring, and the demand for their standard implements, such as broadcast grain sowers, rollers, turnip drills, and horse hoes has been well maintained. In regard to harvest machinery the demand for the Milwaukee blunders was in excess of all previous years, while the Victory, which has been fitted with an improved cutting bar, has given an excellent account of itself. The export department has been particularly busy, the shipments to Rhodesia and Africa generally having been almost double those of the previous year. The iron punching and shearing machines for the use of small engineers have been going off in quite large numbers. During the year six new drifters were fitted out with engines, and although there has been a lull in this department, a good few orders have been booked, the work to be carried out during the forthcoming spring. The firm’s moulding shop has been reproofed, and the fitting shop has been extended to the full extent of the available ground, which will permit of traction engines being taken under cover. A travelling crane is another of the improvements which is to be carried out at the works, and will enable heavy castings to be moved about with ease.” (30 December 1909),

As well as making its own implements, it also acted as an agent. In 1908 they included Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies of Ipswich and in 1911 International Harvester Co. of Great Britain Ltd, London.

Its main area of business was in the north-east. Indeed, at the Highland Show it only exhibited at largely the Aberdeen and Inverness shows. It attended the 1898 show at Kelso, its first year of business.
Watson Brothers continued to occupy the Banff Foundry until 1924 when William Watson died.


Scottish implements at Smithfield in 1886

December was an important time for some of the Scottish implement and machine makers. It was time for the Smithfield Show. This was one of the key shows in the agricultural calendar. New implements and machines were launched there and key makers exhibited their wares, bringing them to a wider audience. 

While English implement and machine makers predominated in the implement department, there were a few Scottish makers. They included some of the key makers.

The 1880s was a period of depression in Scottish and British agriculture. There were fewer acreages under cultivation, and less demand for agricultural implements and machines. It was also a difficult trading period for the implement makers. Despite these difficulties, a number of Scottish makers continued to exhibit at Smithfield. The North British Agriculturist provides an instructive account of the Smithfield Show and the Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers at it. It is worth quoting at length:

“Notwithstanding the present depressed condition of agriculture, the implement, seed, manure, and stock food exhibitors still continue to appear in full and representative force at Smithfield. Every available inch of space in the ground floor surrounding the stock, and the whole of the capacious galleries, are fully occupied by those who cater for the needs of farmers and agriculturists. As regards the machinery, we have several improvements and additions-labour savings and otherwise-to report on the manufactures of many of the best known machines; but these are chiefly alterations of minute parts, as of recent years mechanical appliances for farm work have been brought to a very high state of perfection, and the room for improvement grows yearly smaller and smaller. 

Scotch exhibitors
Messrs J. D. Allan & Sons, of Culthill Implement Works, Dunkeld, we find in their usual position in the gallery, exhibiting their potato digger, a machine which combines all the good points an implement for digging potatoes should have. For durability, compactness, perfect action, and lightness of draught, it still retains the foremost position which has been allotted to it at most of the trials of this class of machine which have been held in this country. Its merits are too well known to need further comment. Messrs Allan inform us that this season their trade in diggers has somewhat improved. 

Mr Thomas Hunter, Maybole, exhibited his patent double drill, scarifier, an implement that is coming very rapidly into repute for cleaning turnip drills, &c; and also his Dickson’s patent double drill turnip cleaner, one of Mr Hunter’s specialities which has had an unusually large sale. He is also showing his patent topping and tailing machine, an implement which has been much in request this season owing to the good crop of turnips. This machine saves both time and labour in lifting the turnip crop. 
Messrs Alex Jack & Sons, of Maybole, exhibited samples of their well-known mowers and reapers, including a newly-improved “Caledonian buckeye” combined reaper and mower, and which has a very light appearance, combined with simplicity of arrangement. The whole gearing is completely covered. The cog-wheels (of which there are four) are arranged in the body of the machine, any they have also the additional protection of being carried upon extra high wheels, affording ample clearance from the ground. By a new improvement upon the ratchets of driving wheels, the stroke of the connecting rod acts upon the knife almost instantaneously, giving the machine an important advantage in starting easily in the face of a thick grass crop. Steel and malleable iron are chiefly used in the construction of this machine. Messrs Jack & Son also exhibited sample of their improved potato digger, which, like their reapers and mowers, has the gearing perfectly enclosed. Messrs Jack report having had an extra large demand for reapers and mowers and potato diggers during the past season.

Messrs G. W. Murray & Co., Banff, held their usual central stand, and appeared to command good attraction. Nothing specially now has been brought out by this firm this year further than little improvements in details of their potato planting machine, turnip and mangel sower, and “Victory” knife sharpener. The speciality on this stand, brought out at the Highland Society’s Show in Aberdeen in 1885, was desigmated the stubble scarifier and old lea renovator. This implement only requires to be known to command attention, particularly for old grass and gentlemen’s policies. It is fitted up with strong coulters, and cuts open the old grass in ruts about 3 inches apart, when a little manure and fresh grass seeds can be sown and harrowed over with a special set of harrows designed to follow the machine, and the result is a find flush of grass. This cannot fail to command attention where it is inadvisable to take a regular course of cropping. 

Messrs Ben Reid & Co., Aberdeen occupied a prominent stand in the gallery, and showed, amongst their several specialities, specimens of their corn broadcast sowing machine, which, we believe, is holding its own position in the market for this kind of implement. We understand that, notwithstanding the depressed state of agricultural matters, there is still a considerable demand for these machines from all parts of the world. We also noticed their patent artificial manure distributor, which has gained many honours at trials in Scotland, notably at the Highland Society’s competition at Stirling in 1881, at the Border Union Society’s trials at Kelso in 1883, at Highland Centenary trials at Edinburgh in 1884, and last, but not least, at the recent Lochvale trails of the Highland Society last October, which were fully reported in our columns. Messrs Reid also show a new type of corn drill, whereby the machine is made much lighter than formerly, thereby reducing the draught, and still maintaining the old characteristics of uniformity in depositing the seed, for which the manufacturers enjoy so good a reputation. We may also mention their “Simplex” pump, as adapted for urine tanks and water carts, which is one of the handiest appliances for lifting liquids of any description. 

Mr Thomas Scott, South Woodend, Bonnybridge, exhibited the “Economist” plough, with reversible point and wing. The point is firmly fixed by a hook and bolt, so that there is no fear in getting loose and coming off. The wheel is protected from straws, &c, by very ingenious sand caps on either side, so there is little risk of its getting clogged. We observe that the wheel has also been covered with wood; this is to prevent clods catching the spokes and impending the progress of the plough, which, thus fitted, will go through a food deep of soil without injury to the implement.

Messrs John Wallace & Sons, Graham Square, Glasgow, showed at their stand, No. 93, fine types of the “Oliver” plow. One pattern is a new patent steel one for all kinds of stubble work or cross ploughing. Another and very useful kind is the long handle chilled plow, which has all the advantages, and works in a similar manner to the short “Oliver” one, bit has long instead of short handles, and therefore can be turned or raised over a stone or any obstruction like a common swing plough. In several districts these implements are being used for lea and all kinds of ploughing. The beams are from instead of wood, and fitted with common Scotch muzzle for altering “land” and depth. All the wearing parts and genuine “Oliver” chilled, a sufficient guarantee that they will wear and scour well. Another kind is their 40X double wheel plow, the speciality of which is that it has double front wheels to suit those districts where double wheels are preferred to single ones. The greatest novelty, however, of the “Oliver” plow shown this year is the “Combination” plow, so called because of its having both the point and share reversible. When the point has worn blunt, all the ploughman has got to do is to tip the plough over on the mould-board side, and by grasping a small lever in the rear of the mould-board, he, with the other hand, simply reverses the point, and then releasing the lever, it is again securely fixed. Not only is the point reversible, but also the wing, so that as long as the parts will wear, the ploughman can always have a sharp edge on the underside, and all this without the assistance of a blacksmith.”


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

T is for …

James Taylor (ploughs), Gowan Avenue, Falkirk, Stirlingshire 
J. & A. Taylor, engineers, millwrights and boilermakers, Townhead Works, Ayr 
Thomas M. Taylor (ploughs and harrows), Lossie Wynd, Elgin, Morayshire 
John Tennant, Edinvillie and Rinnachat, Aberlour, Banffshire 
The Thistle Mechanical Milking Machine Co. Ltd, 25 Gateside Street, Glasgow
Alexander Thompson & Son, 7 Castle Street, Dumfries (1901)
George Thomson (hay rakes), Springfield, Clarkston, Airdrie 
William Thomson, smith and implement makers, Trades Lane, Coupar Angus, Perthshire 
A. B. M. Tulloch, dairy utensils and mac hinery, 126 Adelphi Street, Glasgow 
Tullos Ltd, agricultural machinery makers, Greenwell Road, Tullos, Nigg 
James Turnbull & Sons, Dunmore, Airth, Larbert, Stirlingshire 
Thomas Turnbull & Son (broadcast sowing machines), Pleasance, Annan Road, Dumfries 

We have a few interesting companies under the letter t.

One of the old agricultural implement and machine makers was J. & A. Taylor, engineers, millwrights, and boilermakers, Townhead Works, Ayr, which continued in business until the First World War. It was already operating as a millwright and engineer in 1847 when it advertised its manufactures in the North British Agriculturist. By the 1870s it was to increase its trades to include agricultural implement maker, boilermaker, engineer and millwright, mechanical engineer, millwright, steam boiler maker, and steam engine boiler manufacturer. It only advertised at one Highland Show, that of Glasgow in 1850.

Thomas Turnbull, Castlebank, Dumfries, was a name associated with south-west Scotland from at least the 1880s onwards. Its premises were known as the Castlebank Implement Works by 1893 and then as the Pleasance Implement Works from 1899. It was an agricultural implement maker, an engineer, ironfounder, mechanical engineer and millwright. It was also an agent. In 1886 it held agencies for some of the most renowned names – Harrison, McGregor & Co., Leigh, Lancashire, Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole, W. N. Nicholson & Son, Newark On Trent, A. Pollock, Mauchline. In 1910 these included Harrison, McGregor & Co. Ltd, Leigh, Lancashire, Henry Bamford & Sons, Uttoxeter, Richmond & Chandler.

The company was a regular attender at the Highland Show when it visited the show districts in the south of Scotland, though it ventured as far as Aberdeen in 1885. It was awarded a medium silver medal for its collection in 1870. In 1889 it entered an implement for the trial of hay and straw trusser portable for hand power. In 1899 it entered an implement for the trail of manure distributors.

Thomas Turnbull, Castlebank, Dumfries, was a name associated with south-west Scotland from at least the 1880s onwards. Its premises were known as the Castlebank Implement Works by 1893 and then as the Pleasance Implement Works from 1899. It was an agricultural implement maker, an engineer, ironfounder, mechanical engineer and millwright. It was also an agent. In 1886 it held agencies for some of the most renowned names – Harrison, McGregor & Co., Leigh, Lancashire, Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole, W. N. Nicholson & Son, Newark On Trent, A. Pollock, Mauchline. In 1910 these included Harrison, McGregor & Co. Ltd, Leigh, Lancashire, Henry Bamford & Sons, Uttoxeter, Richmond & Chandler. 

The company was a regular attender at the Highland Show when it visited the show districts in the south of Scotland, though it ventured as far as Aberdeen in 1885. It was awarded a medium silver medal for its collection in 1870. In 1889 it entered an implement for the trial of hay and straw trusser portable for hand power. In 1899 it entered an implement for the trail of manure distributors. 

The name of Turnbull continued into the early 1930s. Then it was recorded as an agricultural implement maker, and millwright.

One of the big names in the dairy world in the mid 1890s was The Thistle Mechanical Milking Machine Co. Ltd, 25 Gateside Street, Glasgow. It was incorporated on 18 July 1895. However, it did not continue to trade for long. The directors made and passed a special resolution to voluntarily wind up company on 19 April 1898. Why mention this company? It won a silver medal for its patent milking machine from the Royal Agricultural Society of England. It was one of the very few Scottish companies to achieve a silver medal from this society. 

Tullos Ltd, Aberdeen, is a name that may be familiar to some of our readers. Tullos Ltd was incorporated on 22 March 1946.It continued in business until 1956. On 8 June 1956 its directors made and passed a special resolution to voluntarily wind up the company. The final winding up meeting was held on 18 February 1957. In 1948 Scottish Agricultural Industries Ltd sold the Tullos factory.

This agricultural implement maker and agent was an innovative company. In 1950 it won a silver medal for a grass conserver at the Royal Highland Show of 1950. In addition, it also entered a number of implements into the new implement award of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. These implements were its ‘Tullos’ semi-direct power drive mower, invented and made by exhibitors in 1948. Its ‘Tullos’ wilmo tractor transporter fertilizer distributor, invented by Nillemoes Skive, Denmark, and made by exhibitors, also in 1948. It entered its ‘Goodall’ grain conserver, invented by C. Goodall of C. Goodall & Sons Ltd, 19 Station Street, Burton on Trent, and made by exhibitors. A further implement, the Clark sacklift, invented by John Clark, and made by exhibitors, was entered in 1951.


The Scotch exhibitors at Smithfield in 1893

Smithfield was an important show in the agricultural calendar for livestock owners and agricultural implement machine makers. The North British Agriculturist referred to the Scottish exhibitors as the “Scotch colony”. It continues at length: 

“The “Scotch colony” of exhibitors were all located conveniently near each other in a corner of the hall. All the Scotch firms usually represented at this show had forward a large collection of their products, with the exception of Messrs Ben Reid & Co., of Aberdeen, which firm did not this year send any exhibits, but Mr Anderson was there pushing his business with all his accustomed force and success. On the other hand, however, the Scotch colony had this year got anew recruit in the person of Mr McJannet, who had a stand on which he exhibited one of his well-known weigh0bridges. Mr Elder, of Berwick, was also well represented at the stand of the Massey-Harris Co., where he exhibited a number of his well-known appliances which are so highly appreciated by British agriculturists.
Messrs J. Wallace & Sons, of Graham Square, Glasgow, exhibited a selection of Oliver ploughs, which formed one of the most attractive features in the implement section. These ploughs, which might well be called editions de luxe of the ordinary Oliver ploughs, were decorated in a most artistic fashion, though in every other respect they were precisely identical with the Oliver plough supplied by this firm for ordinary use. The merits of the Oliver plough are now too widely recognized and appreciated all the world over to require any eulogium at this time of day. The firm also showed one of their well-known mowers and reapers, and also a potato digger which embodies several improvements.

Messrs Jack & Sons, Maybole, showed one of their well-known reapers and mowers, which are now so widely used all over the country. They also showed a strong but light farm cart, fitted up with “fore and aft tops”, which are specially designed for enabling heavy loads of hay or straw to be taken through narrow entries, as well as to be conveniently moved along the crowded streets. These carts have from the first been largely used by the Scotch colonists in England, and even the English farmers, who are rather conservative in their modes of practice, are now adopting them in place of the heavy waggons to which they formerly stuck so tenaciously. Messrs Jack & Sons also exhibited their potato digger, in which there has been quite a boom since it was exhibited for the first time at the Smithfield Show last year. Last season the firm turned out 150 of these diggers, and not only were these all sold, but the firm were wholly unable to adequately meet the demand for this new digger. 

Messrs Kemp & Nicholson, of Stirling, showed their turnip-cutting cart, which should be an indispensable requisite to every farm where sheep receive turnips on the pastures. This cart is geared with a turnip slicer, by means of which the roots are sliced and automatically distributed as the cart is moved forward. The merits of this labour-saving machine are too obvious to require enlarging upon. Messrs Kemp & Nicholson also showed a seed drilling machine of excellent design and construction. 
Mr Thos Hunter, of Maybole, exhibited his well-known turnip-topping and tailing machine, which has invariably carried premier honours in any competition for this class of machine at which it was exhibited, and only a few weeks ago it was awarded the prize in the competition carried out by the Northumberland Agricultural Society. Now that labour has become so scarce and costly, this machine should be recognized as an indispensible in the equipment of every up-to-date farm. Mr Hunter also exhibited his well-known Hunter hoe, which almost every turnip-grower has learned to appreciate very fully.

Mr McJannet, the indefatigable champion of the weigh-bridge, is largely in evidence. His stand, which is occupied by a “McJannet” weigh-bridge and cattle cage, the same as are fitted up at the Royal Farms at Windsor, did not occupy much space, but all the day long it was surrounded by a crowd of stock-owners who were interested in the buying and selling of cattle by live-weight, and who had evidently caught the enthusiasm with which the laird of OverInzievae expatiated on the advantages of the weighbroidge. Mr McJannet has this week published a small handbook containing his tables of the relative percentages of dead to live weight, and containing also copies of testimonials received from many stock-owners, who write in very enthusiastic terms respecting the “McJannet” weigh-bridge, which, like that of the Messrs Pooley, is priced at £16.

Among others, Mr R. Brydon, commissioner to the Marquis of Londonderry, writes-“We are well pleased with the weigh-bridge and cattle cage we had from you.” Mr Malcome, Dunmore, writes:-“The cattle cage and binder which you supplied me with are giving me every satisfaction. They are very strong, and can resist the wildest bullock. I think no farmer dealing among cattle should be without one, and I am weighing all my cattle and selling them direct to the butcher.”

Readers will recognise a number of the names of makers as key makers that continued well into the twentieth century. They also continued to be known names at the Smithfield Show for many years.


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

R is for …

William Rae & Sons, Port Road, Inverurie 
Reekie Engineering Co. Ltd, Lochlands Works, Arbroath 
Benjamin Reid & Co., engineers, agricultural implement makers, and millwrights, Bon Accord Works, Justice Mill Lane, Aberdeen 
D. H. & F. Reid, Victoria Bridge, Ayr, Ayrshire 
James Reid, millwright and engineer, Bridgend Works, Dingwall, Ross-shire 
William Reid, 34 Longrow, Campbeltown, Argyllshire 
Reid & Leys, seedsmen and implement manufacturers; warehouse 8 Hadden Street; implement works, Back Hilton Road, Aberdeen 
Matthew Reid & Co., forge masters, Townholm, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire 
David Ritchie (Implements) Ltd, Whitehills, Forfar 
John Ritchie (thrashing machines), Bowmont Engine Works, Kelso, Roxburghshire 
John Robertson, implement maker, Conon Bridge, Ross-shire 
Robertson & McLaren, Burnside Works, 19 Lower Craigs, Stirling, Stirlingshire 
Rollo Industries Ltd, St Andrew’s Works, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire 
The Rose Street Foundry & Engineering Co. Ltd, 2-20 and 3-15 Rose Street and 2 Shore, Inverness 
Harry Ross, Overton-Elchies, Craigellachie, Morayshire 
James Rugg, Keiss, Wick, Caithness
A. M. Russell, wire netting manufacturer, 108-112 West Bow, Grassmarket, Edinburgh 
Ryeside Agricultural and Engineering Works, Dalry, Ayrshire 

What a roll-call of makers under the letter r! We have focused on some of the major makers in previous posts. We will look at some of the names that we haven’t featured much or at all. 

D. Ritchie, Whitehills, Forfar, is first recorded as advertising in the Scottish Farmer on 8 February 1930. By 1933, the first year that it exhibited at the Royal Highland Show, the company was known as David Ritchie & Sons, Whitehills, Forfar, Angus. A further change in the organisation of the company took place in 1954 so that it became a company limited by guarantee as David Ritchie (Implements) ltd, Whitehills. It manufactured and sold a variety of agricultural implements and machines. 

John Robertson, Conon Bridge, Ross-shire was an implement maker and smith, who continued in business until May 1926 when he was sequestrated. He was a maker and a patentee of implements and machines to harvest the grain crop. 

Rollo Industries Ltd, St Andrew’s Works, Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, was closely associated with the Rollo croftmaster tractor, invented by John M. Rollo and made by that company. It was entered as a new implement at the Highland Show in 1956. A year after the company started to exhibit at the show. The company petitioned to wind up in 2003. 

Robertson & McLaren, is a name that is firmly associated with Stirling from 1920 until the mid 1950s. By the 1930s it described itself as agricultural engineers and dairy outfitters and later as agricultural and dairy engineers. In 1951 the company used the strapline “The farmer’s firm”. It was a maker of implements and machines as well as a dealer. As a maker it won a silver medal from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for the ‘Victory hay ricker’ in 1921. Invented by Geo. Paterson, farmer, Wester Frew, Kippen, it was described as ‘a new implement for collecting and ricking hay’. It was an agent for makers such as Barford, Bentall and Bisset in 1948 and in 1952 for David Brown. It was a regular advertisier in the Scottish agricultural press. It only infrequently exhibited at the Highland Show, and usually only in the local show districts, though in 1951 it found its way to Aberdeen. 

William Rae & Sons, Port Road, Inverurie was a local agricultural implement maker and manufacturer as well as mechanical engineer and smith who is recorded in agricultural directories from at least the early 1920s to the mid 1950s. He was most well-known as a maker of turnip sowing machines, harrows, and grubbers. 

D. H. & F. Reid, Victoria Bridge, Ayr, Ayrshire, continued in business from around 1905 until the mid 1930s. While it described itself as engineers, it was also an agricultural engine manufacturer, and a millwright. Its business was largely a local one – it only exhibited at two Highland Shows, in 1914 in Hawick and 1919 in Edinburgh – though in the 1920s and 1930s it was a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press, both the Scottish Framer and the North British Agriculturist. 

A key part of its busines was acquired in 1912. On 4 July 1912 the North British Agriculturists notes that D. H. & F. Reid, engineers, Ayr, has acquired the goodwill of the oil engine and thrashing machine manufacturing business carried on in Annan by Eric Nicholson & Co. Ltd, Annan. They have removed the business to Ayr and are now manufacturing the Annan oil engines and thrashing machines at their works at Victoria Bridge, Ayr.


The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

S is for …

S is for …

John Scarth, Ayre Road, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands 
Alexander Scott, North Street, Strichen, Aberdeenshire 
Alexander Scott, Caledonian implement Works, St Ninian’s, Stirling Thomas Scott & Co. Ltd, iron, steel and hardware merchants, 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 Grassmarket, Edinburgh 
Scottish Agricultural Industries Ltd, Rosehall, Haddington, East Lothian 
Scottish Aviation Ltd, Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire 
Scottish Farm Implements, Ltd, Crosshouse, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire 
Scottish Mechanical Light Industries Ltd, 42-44 Waggon Road, Ayr
Scoular & Co., farm implement makers, Haddington, East Lothian
John Scoular & Co., Implement Works, Stirling  
George Sellar & Son, Huntly, Aberdeenshire 
John Shand (ploughs &c), Lochill, Urquhart, Morayshire 
Alex Shanks & Son Ltd, oil engines for agricultural use, Dens Iron Works, Arbroath 
Shearer Brothers (thrashing machines & drills), Maybank, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 
John F. Shepherd & Son, Inchbare, Strathcathro, Brechin 
Thomas Sheriff & Co., agricultural engineers, West Barns, East Lothian 
Shearer Brothers (threshing machines), Maybank Works, Balmellie Street, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 
James Simpson & Son (seed sowers), 14 Prince Street, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire 
William Sinton, Churn Works, 36 Bedford Road, Edinburgh 
Thomas Smail, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire
Smith Brothers & Co., Kingston Engine Works, Park Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow  
George Souter, smith and implement maker, 125 Liff Road, Lochee, Dundee 
James H. Steele, ‘Everything for the Farm’, Harrison Road, Edinburgh 
James Stephen (grubbers, harrows and ploughs), Garden Lane, Buckie, Banffshire 
David Stephenson (thrashing machines, reapers, mowers &c), Rosehall, Haddington, East Lothian 
James Stevens (ploughs &c), Bannockburn, Stirlingshire 
William R. Storie, agricultural engineer, Kelso, Roxburghshire 
William Storie & Son, implement makers and agents, Lanton, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire 
G. D. L. Swann & Son, dairy engineers and outfitters, 32-36 Abercrorn Street, Glasgow 

As we go through the A. to Z. we are seeing some great names of renowned Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers. This week is no exception. 

Again, we will look at some of the names that may not be as well known. 

William Sinton was a major name in the Scottish dairy world. He started his business as a cooper in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire by 1870. By 1880 he described himself as a churn manufacturer and then as a patent churn manufacturer. By 1903 his sons had joined him in business. By 1914 he moved the Waverley Churn Works to 36 Bedford Road, Edinburgh, where they remained until at least 1929. The business was a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press and attended the Highland Show throughout Scotland. William applied for a patent in 1870 for the invention of ‘improvements in churns’. He won two silver medals for his collection of churns by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1870 and 1872. 

James Simpson, was in business as a cart and ploughwright, Princes Street, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire from at least 1846. By 1858 his business became known as James Simpson & Co., Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, a name that continued to be associated with Peterhead until 1930 when it changed to James Simpson & Son (Peterhead) Ltd. This was a name that continued to be known until at least the 1950s – according to directories. 

In the 1870s the company started to describe itself as agricultural implement makers. Its speciality was seed sowers. This was a speciality that continued until at least 1928. By that time it was also noted for its harrows and grubbers. While it had made carts from the 1840s, by the 1920s it started to be a motor car body maker; the following decade saw it also as a motor engineer and garage. 

The business frequently exhibited at the Highland Show from 1858. In that year it was awarded 4 sovereigns for best one horse farm cart. In 1877 it was the inventor of the new broadcast sowing machine for grain and grass seeds. 

Shearer Brothers, Maybank Works, Railway Station, Turriff, later of Balmellie Street, Turriff undertook business from at least 1876 until 1972; on 18 July 1972 the company passed a special resolution to voluntarily wind up the company. The final winding up meeting was held on 29 August 1972.
The company undertook a number of trades and was an agricultural engineer, an agricultural implement maker, a machinery maker, a mechanical engineer, millwright and later a motor engineer. It was active in promoting its manufactures: exhibiting at the Highland Show from 1876 until 1939. It was awarded a medium silver medal for foot power thrashing machine in 1876. It also entered into the trial of machines for cleaning all sorts of grain and other seeds from weeds in 1884. It was also regular advertiser in the North British Agriculturist from 1884 onwards.
The company manufactured a range of threshing mills. In 1876 it manufactured a foot power thrashing machine which it described as a new invention. By 1881 it manufactured its “Advance” thresher for foot and hand power and the “Simplex” rotary fanner. By the following year it was also manufacturing a small hand thresher with adjustable feeder. These continued to be its main manufactures for following years. To these were added the new “Paragon” dressing and screening machine in 1887.

In the early 1850s if you heard the name “Scoular’ you would have associated it with the company of Scoular & Co. agricultural implement makers at Haddington. In 1857 Mr Scoular retired in favour of Kemp, Murray & Nicholson of Stirling who had taken a lease of their premises and purchased the whole stock in trade, machinery, patterns and working plant. 
By the early 1870s there were a number of members of the Scowler family around Stirling that worked as implement makers. James Scoular of Woodside, Kippen, made ploughs, drills as well as a collection of implements. There was also John Scoular of Crook Smithy, Stirling, who continued in business until at least 1910.

John Scoular was an important implement maker and was also internationally known. By the early 1870s his smithy had expanded into the Crook Implement Works where it became noted for its harrows, rollers, horse rakes and other implements. The trades carried on were as agricultural engineers. agricultural implement makers, engineers and iron founders, machinists, smiths and farriers. The company was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show, exhibiting from 1871 until 1910. It exhibited around each of the show districts, exposing its implements to farmers throughout Scotland. It was also a regular advertiser in the Scottish farming press, especially the Scottish farmer from 1893 onwards. 

The company was also an innovative one. From the early 1880s it was a frequent entrant to the Highland Society’s trials of implements and machines. In 1881 it entered at the trial of potato diggers and the trial of turnip lifters. In the following year it entered for the trial of horse rakes. In 1885 it entered for the trial of cultivator harrows as well as implements for the autumn cultivation of stubbles. In 1889, it entered in the trial of hay and straw trussers. 
The North British Agriculturist gave a detailed description of John Scoular in 1893. It reads: 

“Mr John Scoular is the fourth son of the late David Scoular, the well-known plough maker of Forest Mill, Clackmannanshire. Mr Scowler began business on his own account twenty-seven years ago, and pushed his trade with such energy that his name was soon known in all the principal agricultural districts of Great Britain, including Ireland and the remote islands of Scotland. After establishing a large home trade, he next turned his attention to export business, cultivating it with the same diligence, so that in a few years he formed connections in many different quarters of the globe. In 1881 he was invited by a number of the principal merchants and farmers of Natal, South Africa, to visit their colony and see their ways of cultivation for himself, so that he might better understand their requirements. He accepted the invitation, and on his arrival in Natal he received a warm welcome from his friends there, and profited greatly by his journey. Mr Scoular has also large dealings with the south-east of Europe, and he has travelled seven times there, visiting the extensive wheat plans of Bessarabia, Roumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. He claims he is now the largest harrow maker in Scotland. and there are few counties where his hay rakes cannot be found at work.”