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Who were the agricultural implement and machine makers in 1951?

A number of trade directories provide information on the agricultural implement and machine makers and their activities. One directory from 1951 – The Scottish National Register of Classified Trades includes a detailed supplement of agricultural businesses. These include the agricultural implement makers. There are also lists of tractor dealers, dairies, dairy implement makers as well as agricultural engineers.

The following is the list of agricultural implement and machine makers. It is one of the most comprehensive lists I have seen. I quote it at length to give a good idea of who was in business and the wide range of businesses and locations throughout Scotland. There are a good number that started in business in the mid to late nineteenth century. Another group started in the early 1920s with the increasing use of tractors and cars – some car garages also started to sell and service tractors.

How many names do you recollect?

J R Adamson, 34 High Street, Blairgowrie
Agricultural Industry Development Co. (Inverness) Ltd, 16 Telford Street, Inverness
Aird Engineering Co. Ltd, Beauly
William Alexander (agent for all leading makers of agricultural machinery), Ruther, Watten, Caithness
Alexanders of Edinburgh Ltd, Semple Street, Edinburgh
Allan Bros. (Aberdeen) Ltd, thrashing machines, Back Hilton Road, Aberdeen
Ayling McLean & Co. Ltd, Rochsolloch Road, Airdrie
A Baird & Sons Ltd, Pleasance Implement Works, Dumfries
George Baird, Avon Place, Linlithgow
J. L. & J. Ballach, Gorgie Implement Works, Edinburgh
Banff Foundry & Engineering Co. Ltd, agricultural implements and machinery makers and exporters, Banff Foundry, Banff
Barclay, Ross & Hutchison, 67-71 The Green, Aberdeen; 56 Castle Street, Forfar; 39 High Street, Montrose, Glasgow Road, Perth
Barford (Agricultural) Ltd, Mount Harriet Stepps, near Glasgow
R. Begg & Sons, Implement Works, Dalry
James Borland & Sons Ltd, 9 St Marnock Street, Kilmarnock
Harry K. Brown (Motors) Ltd, Raith Motor Works,Nicol Street, Kirkcaldy
George Bruce & Co., 14 Regent Quay, Aberdeen
Cairns & Souter, Strathearn Engineering Works, Crieff
John Cameron Ltd, 84 High Street, Maybole
Central Motors (St Andrews) Ltd, 106-108 South Street, St Andrews
Chapman of Inverness Ltd, 49 Eastgate, Inverness
Clockmill Engineering Co., Cammon Foundry, Duns
James W. Cobban, specialist in haymaking machinery, carts and bodies, Union Works, Inverurie
James Cowie & Co., 4 Dunlop Street, Strathaven
James Crichton, Chapel Street, Turriff
Cumming & Dempster, Dee Street, Banchory
James Cuthbert & Co., 8-12 Commerce Street, Arbroath

Dairy Equipment and Supplies, 22 Baker Street, Stirling
Dalblair Motors Ltd, 44 Dalblair Road, Ayr
Wm Dickie & Sons Ltd, Victoria Works, East Kilbride
John Doe Ltd, Errol, Perthshire
Wm Donaldson (Engineers) Ltd, Bridge Street, Linwood, Paisley
G. B. Drape, St John’s, Whithorn
Thomas Duff & Son (Annan) Ltd, High Street, Annan
A Duff & Sons, Forth Street, Stirling
The Dunlop Motor Co. Ltd, 30 Grange Street, Kilmarnock
Adam Duthie & Co. Ltd, Tarves, Aberdeenshire
Ednie & Kininmonth, 14 Castle Street, Forfar
William Elder & Sons Ltd, Tweedside Works, Betwick on Tweed
Elgin Central Garahe Ltd, Fordson Main dealers for NW Banff, Moray and Nairn, High Street, and Hill Street, Elgin
Errington Ross & Co., Castle Heather Works, Inverness
J. D. Falla & Son, Bonchester Bridge, Hawick
Ferguson & Hood, 28 Swan Street, Brechin
James Ferries & Co. Ltd, 86 Eastgate, Inverness
P. & R. Fleming & Co., 367 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow and 32 and 52 Keith Street, Partick, Glasgow
George Fowler & Sons, East End Garage, North Berwick
Fraser & McColl, Eastgate, Inverness
Frew & Co. Ltd, 14 Princes Street, Perth
C. S. Fillerton, Ferndene, Carmyllie, by Arbroath
R. G. Garvie & Sons, 2 Canal Road, Aberdeen
W. & A. Geddes Ltd, High Street, Wick
W. Gibson & Co., 62 George Street, Whithorn
Gillies & Henderson, 59 Bread Street, Edinburgh
D. R. Gordon Ltd, 30-40 Hopetoun Street, Bathgate
Gordon & Innes, 69-71 Bogin Street, Huntly
James Gordon & Co., Newmarket Street, Castle Douglas
J. Graham & Sons, Millhousebridge, Lockerbie
E. A. Grant, Standfast Works, Craigellachie, Banffshire
William F. Grant & Son, Ashgrove, Elgin
Grassick’s garage Ltd, Commercial Street, Blairgowrie
Eddie T. Y. Gray, Fairbank Works, Fetterangus, Mintlaw Station, Aberdeenshire
James Gray, 138-140 High Street, Laurencekirk
James Gray & Co., 7 Upper Craigs, Stirling

Hamilton, Anderson & Co., Goatfield Haddington
D. Hamilton & Sons, Townfield, Haddington
John Harkness & Son, Newfield Burn Works, Ruthwell, by Dumfries
John Harper & Sons, Perth Street, Blairgowrie
Harper Motor Co. Ltd, Holburn Junction, Aberdeen
Henry Harrower, Luggateburn, Haddington
George Henderson Ltd, East Bowmount Street, Kelso, 18 Forth Street, Edinburgh
Hillside Foundry & Engineering Co. (Cupar) Ltd, Hillside Foundry, Cupar, Fife
Howe Agricultural & Engineering Co., Mundamallo, Newtyle
Inverness Motor Co. Ltd, Strothers Lane, Inverness
David Irons & Sons, 22 Castle Street, Forfar
G. C. Irving, Main Street, Dalry, Kirkcudbright
Alex Jack & Sons Lt, Maybole, Ayrshire
James Jack, Hyndford Place, Lanark
Jack & Renwick Ltd, West Silvermills Lane, Edinburgh
Jeffrey Bros, Townfoot, Langholm

Geo. W. King, Ltd, specialists in chaff cutters, binder canvasses, grain and pea lifters, bush pullers, wire strainers, sack lifters, pneumatic grain storage and conveying plamt, ropelock pulley blocks, byre fittings, 153 Oxford Street, Glasgow
Ladyacre Engineering Co. Ltd, Ladyacre Road, Lanark
L. O. Tractors Ltd, Coronation Works, Coupar Angus, Perthshire
Leslie McRobert Ltd, makers of threshers and potato sorters, Schoolhill Works, Turriff
John Limond, Viewfield Road, Ayr
Lindsay & Co., 14-18 Rotterdam Street, Thurso
Lyon Brothers, 22 Oldmeldrum Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen
John McBain & Son Ltd, Churnside, Duns
Alex McCutchion, Auction Mart, Falkirk
James Macdonald, 105 West Port, Edinburgh
McDougall Duncan Ltd, Royal Hotel Buildings, Oban
James McHarrie (Stranraer) Ltd, 8 Strand Street, Stranraer
Alexander S. McIntosh, The Garage, kennethmount, by Huntly,
Mackay & Jardine Ltd, West Cross, Wishaw
Alex Mckenzie & Son, Achnagarron, by Invergordon
Kenneth McKenzie & Sons, Evanton, Ross-shire
Pat McKenzie, 131 High Street, Forres
James Mackintosh, Angus Engineering Works, Don Street, Forfar
Macknight (Motors) Ltd, York House, Dumfries
George McLean Ltd, 30 Ward Road, Dundee
George MacLeod, specialists in horticultural tractors and cultivators, 110 Candleriggs, Glasgow
James McLeod & Son, Clyde Garage, Glasgow Road, Uddingston
John Macleod & Son, Evelix, Dornoch
MacNeill Tractors Ltd, 20 Graham Square, Glasgow

Benjamin Main & Son, 4 Stormont Street, Perth
Hugh Martin & Co. Ltd, 55-63 Washington Street, Glasgow
James Martin (kirkintilloch) Ltd, Kelvin Valley Works, Kirkintilloch
A. C. Mathers, 97 Muirton Place, Perth
Massey-Harris Limited, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire; head office, Barton Road, Manchester
J. M. Millar Ltd, Callendar Road Garage, Falkirk
A. T. Mungall Ltd, Castle Street, Forfar
William Munro, Royal Hotel Garage, Invergordon
Alex Newlands & Sons, Linlithgow, West Lothian
James F. Ogg, Bridge of Muchalls, Stonehaven
Olympia Garage, Kittybrewster, Aberdeen
John Oswald & Son, Damacre Road, Brechin
Paisley Motor Co. Ltd, 85 Causeyside Street, Paisley
A & W. Pollock, Station Road, Mauchline, Ayrshire
Ramsay & Wyllie, Townfoot, Elsrickle, Biggar
Reekie Engineering Co. Ltd, Lochlands Works, Arbroath; and at Redmyre Farm Depot, Fordoun
Allan W. Reid (Ayr) Ltd, Main Roads, Whitletts Road, Ayr
William Reid (Forres) Ltd, St Catherine’s Road, Forres
Wm. Reid & Leys, 8 Hadden Street, Aberdeen
Rogerson & Jamieson, 23-25 High Street, Lockerbie
G. A. Ross & Co., Friockheim, Forfarshire
Neil Ross, Bridge Street, Ellon, Aberdeenshire and at Greyfriars Street, Elgin
A. M. Russell Ltd, agricultural implements, Sinton Works, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh
John Rutherford & Sons Ltd, Coldstream, Earlston, St Boswells, and Kelso

John Scarth, Ayre Road, Kirkwall
Alexander Scott, Caledonian Implement Works, St Ninian’s, Stirling
Alexander Scott, Crossgatehall, Dalkeith
Henry Scott & Son, 24 Chapel Street, Airdrie
Scottish Farm Implements Ltd, Crosshouse, Kilmarnock
A & J. Scoular, Main Street, Thornhill, by Stirling
Geo. Sellar & Son Ltd, head office, 30 Great Northern Road, Aberdeen, works – Kelliebank, Alloa; branches, Granary Street, Huntly and Victoria Street, Perth
Shepherd’s Engineering & Blacksmith Work, Harbour Place, Wick
Thos. Sherriff & Co., West Barns, Dunbar
A. Simpson & Son, Clerk Street, Brechin
Thomas Sinclair, Reston, Berwickshire
A. Simpson & Son, Clerk Street, Brechin
Thomas Sinclair, Reston, Berwickshire
Peter Small, 15 Queen Street, Forfar
J. B. W. Smith Ltd, Cupar, Fife
W. Smith & Son Ltd, Market Street, Aberdeen
James H. Steele Ltd, “Everything for the Farm”, agricultural engineers and millwrights, 61 Harrison Road, Edinburgh; Assembly and service depot: Gray’s Mill Engineering Works, Longstone Road, Edinburgh
Stirling Implements Ltd (agents for James H. Steele Ltd), Field Marshall, Fowler and M. M. Tractors, Land Rollers, Combines &c, 28 Orchard Place, Stirling
Alex Strang (Tractors) Ltd, Pipe Street, Portobello
W. D. Syme, Ferguson & Hood 21-23 Hugh Street, Brechin

J. & W. Tait, Broad Street, Kirkwall
Thomson Bros (Kirkcaldy) Ltd, 238 High Street, Kirkcaldy
Thurso Engineering & Foundry Co. Ltd, Millbank Works, Thurso
Tullos Ltd, manufacturers of agricultural implements and machinery, including threshers, sheaf loaders, manure distributors, car trailers, power mowers. Potato front coverers, potato sorters, hay sweeps, Aberdeen
Alexander Waddell, 47 and 49 Wesleyan Street, Glasgow
Fred Walker, The Garage, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk
J. Wallace & Sons (Ayr) Ltd, Smith Street, Ayr
John Wallace & Sons Ltd, 34 Paton Street, Glashow
Wm Wallace & Son, 36 Kyle Street, Ayr
J. S. Webb & Son, Edina Cottage, Dechmont, Broxburn
James M. Wells, 14-16 English Street, Annan
E. Whitelaw & Son, Gladsmuir, Tranent, Longniddry
James Wilson, 77 Hammerfield Avenue, Avenue

A decade later this list was to change significantly.


Summer is the time for vintage agricultural rallies and holidays …

This year all the rallies have been cancelled and if we want to go abroad for our holidays we face restrictions in where we can go (though there is nothing like staying in Scotland). These changes don’t mean that we will have a dull summer.

We have been thinking about what we are writing for our Scottish agricultural implement maker posts over the summer and early autumn.

At the weekends we will recollect some great rallies and rally displays from the past. We might even post on both a Saturday and a Sunday instead of our usual Sunday. On a Tuesday we will follow our usual practice of posting random posts on the Scottish agricultural implement makers.

On a Thursday we will post a new series of articles: the A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers. Each week we will work our way through the alphabet to look at who were the Scottish agricultural implement makers in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century until 1970. This will provide a selection of makers rather than being a comprehensive list.

This A to Z will also help us anticipate our Directory of Scottish agricultural implement makers, 1843-1914 which we hope will be published soon. More details will follow.


A job for the summer: cutting thistles

According to Henry Stephens in The Book of the Farm (1908), writing of summer pasture, “thistles and docks are the most troublesome of the larger weeds. These should be cut or hoed out twice in each season. When the soil is fairly moist docks should be pulled out by the roots. The best time to cut thistles is when the flower is beginning to form, as the roots are now weaker than when the plants are only a few inches above the ground, and they are not yet mature enough to produce seed. The common thistle spreads principally by underground stems, which make this plant much more difficult to eradicate, while the Scotch thistle is produced from seed only, and is therefore more easily dealt with. The smaller weeds, such as daisies, buttercups, sorrel, and plantains, can be effectively checked by judicious manurial treatment and the proper grazing of pastures.”

The cutting of thistles could be a tiresome job especially where there were a lot of them. There were a number of mechanical thistle cutters developed. In 1898 at the Highland Show John Ritchie, Kelso, exhibited “an ingenious thistle cutter”. Others followed in later years. In 1901 one was made by A. & J. Main & Co., Glasgow. It was described as a “new patent bracken and thistle cutter”. A further one was made in 1904 by J. D. Allan & Sons, Murthly. In 1909 P. & R. Fleming & Co., Glasgow, had a new patent thistle cutter which it exhibited at the Highland Show.

At the start of the Second World War interest in bracken eradication stimulated the development of machines that could cut bracken as well as other weeds. In 1939, two well-known cutters were the Henderson thistle cutter, a horse drawn Irvings bracken and thistle cutter and a Triangle thistle cutter. The Henderson thistle cutter became well-known. One or two of them can still be seen around the rally field.

Thistle cutters were a frequently noted machine at farm displenishing sales. One was noted at Sundhope, Yarrow, in 1910. Another at Faldonside, near Melrose in 1908.

The photographs of the Henderson thistle cutter were taken at the Strathnairn rally, 2019.


An English maker with premises in Scotland: John Fowler & Co, Leeds and Edinburgh

Traction engine fans may very well question the title of this post. John Fowler & Co, and later John Fowler & Co. (Leeds) Ltd, have always been associated with Leeds, and in particular the Steam Plough Works. However, for a short period of time the company had business premises in Edinburgh to deal with its Scottish customers. It was the first of the traction engine makers to have a presence in Scotland, with Robey & Co., of Lincoln, having premises in Edinburgh in 1880, and then a post office box in Glasgow some years later. True, these companies had Scottish agents such as Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole, James B. A, McKinnel, Dumfries, William Mears, Edinburgh and G. W. Murray & Co., Banff, either for short or much longer periods of time.

A dedicated presence meant that the company had a direct relationship with its customers. The company had its own representatives in Scotland from the second half of the 1850s. The name Mr Greig was well known to framers and agriculturists. He was George Greig, farmer, Harvieston, Kincardineshire, also brother of David Greig employed by Fowler’s in Leeds. By 1869 Fowler’s was involved in the patent of Pirie’s double furrow plough (made by Thoomas Pirie of Kinmundy, Aberdeenshire) and in making and selling it. Mr Greig had started to advertise its for sale from his farm at Harvieston, but because of the great interest in it and Fowler’s traction and ploughing traction engines, more extensive interests needed to be put in place.

In 1869 Fowler’s acquired the tenancy of an office in India Buildings, near to the Grassmarket and the agricultural district of Edinburgh. By the following year George Greig was named as the formal agents for Fowlers in Edinburgh. The company described itself in local trade directories as J. Fowler & Co., engineers, Leeds, George Greig, 1 India Buildings, Edinburgh, agent. The company advertised each week in the Scottish agricultural press, and the names Greig, Fowler and India Buildings were closely associated in the minds of the Scottish farmers and other agriculturists.

The tenancy appears to have been on a short-term basis. In 1874 the company had moved to 4 India Buildings. In 1878 the company was not able to get a room in India Buildings and had to move to nearby Giles Street for a number of months until it could get a further room back in 1879. The company remained at India Buildings until 1884.

During the years it spent at India Buildings, the company undertook extensive work in Scotland to promote and support the promotion, sale and use of double furrow ploughs, traction engines and steam ploughing engines and tackle. For example, it arranged trials of steam ploughing and cultivating tackle, provided advice for Scottish conditions, support to farmers and other agriculturists. It exhibited at the Highland Show as well as other agricultural shows, such as those in Ayrshire and East Lothian.

Its activities took place at a time when the use of steam on farms was well-established, steam ploughing had been tried and tested and was being used in increasing numbers in some districts of the country, especially East Lothian, Fife, Kincardineshire and parts of Aberdeenshire.

The company moved out of India Buildings when the market for steam ploughing and traction engines became difficult. After 1879 there started a period of agricultural depression which was to continue into the first decade of the twentieth century. With no strong demand for its products the company focused its sales from its Leeds headquarters.

A few years ago India Buildings was open to the public at the time of the Edinburgh Festival. The photographs are of the premises at no 1. India Buildings.


The Glasgow Highland in 1897

By 1897 Scottish agriculture had been going through a prolonged recession for almost two decades. It had a profound impact on Scottish agriculture and on the making of implements and machines. In turn, that had an impact on what was being exhibited at the Highland Show and who was exhibiting. The Glasgow Show of 1897 was one of the largest that had been seen in Scotland for a number of years. It was also an important years for the dairy sector, with the development of the Murchland milking machine – and the mechanisation of milking.

An account of the implement department of the show in The Scotsman described what was at the Show. It is quoted at length for its relevance to the Scottish agricultural implement makers:

“The space set apart for the implement yard exceeds 5000 feet, and there are 2227 implements shown on 183 stands. Although not the largest show of implements that has been seen at Glasgow, it is all over a good exhibition, and embraces everything that embraces everything that enters into farm husbandry. At Perth last year the number of implements shown was 1945, and at Dumfries in 1895 they reached the large number of 2265. This year’s entry has been exceeded at only seven of the seventy shows held by the Society; and it is larger by 600 than that at last Glasgow show in 1888, but is 400 less than at the show of 1882. Although there are no absolute novelties in the implement section, there is no end of variety, and all the productions of the agricultural engineer are shown with their most recent improvements. The Society do not this year offer prizes for implements, but in connection with the show a competitive test of milking machines took place a month or two ago, when the prize of £50 was awarded to Mr William Murchland, Kilmarnock. His machine will be shown in working operation daily, and will be one of the chief attractions of the show. It was seen by the judges at work on three farms, and on each occasion samples of the milk drawn from the cows by the machine, and from the same cows by hand, were taken and set, in order to test the keeping qualities of the milk. On two of the farms the machine had been at work since 1891, and on the third for two months, and the judges stated that in each case it was found to perform the operation of milking efficiently and speedily. The time occupied for each cow was generally from four to six minutes, sometimes rather less. It seemed to cause no discomfort to the cows, and no injury to the teats or udder. It drew the milk by continuous suction, without any apparent pulsating movement. The apparatus was simple in its construction, equally simple in its working, and not difficult to clean or keep clean. The power required to work the machine was not great, At the first farm a half-horsepower oil engine milked ten cows at a time quite easily. Until this engine was put in recently, the machine was worked by one man, with an ordinary force pump. In every instance, the samples of milk drawn by the machine were found to keep satisfactorily. After a lapse of forty-eight hours they were perfectly sweet and in no respect inferior to the milk drawn by hand. The judges state that they regard this machine as a practical success, and are of opinion that in large dairies, where milkers are scarce, it may be introduced with advantage.

The exhibition of implements is the largest that has been seen at the Highland Show for the last twelve years, and in every respect the department is most complete. Every class of machine used in husbandry is on exhibition, and no more striking example of the great progress that has taken place in the economy of the farm could be afforded than the present display of machinery for facilitating the farm work of today. One of the first stands to command attention is that of Messrs George Gray & Co., Uddingston Plough Works, where a very fine assortment of ploughs of all kinds is on view. Next to this stand is that of Messrs John Drummond & Son, engineers, Cumnock, who exhibit two kinds of superior thrashing machines. A large and complete stand is that of Messrs A. Newlands & Sons, Linlithgow, where all kinds of farm machinery are on view. One of the features of this stand is the display of drill ploughs, which baulk up the drills in such a fashion as to leave no green potatoes. A particularly good implement is the potato-lifter, which so works as to lift up the tubers without injuring them. The action of the machine is the same as that of a man lifting potatoes. Its action is very natural. In most machines of this kind the action is rotary, but here the machine only describes a half-circle, with the result that the potatoes are delved out as if by manual labour. The invention, which is patented by Mr Newlands and Mr Burns, a potato merchant, has been in use this year digging out the green potatoes at Girvan. Another exhibit at this stand worthy of mention is a self-acting horse-rake of very simple mechanism.

Passing on, the next stand to call for notice is that of Mr William Elder, Berwick upon Tweed, who shows a varied and interesting group of machines. A feature is the improved mower and reaper, worked from the hinge bar instead of from the pole, thus dispensing entirely with side draught. The broadcast sowers of this firm are known all over the country, and are great favourites on many leading farms. Some improvements have been introduced into them this year, and seed box having been made larger, to mention only one improvement. The steel-board ridging ploughs are so constructed that the draught weight is reduced to a minimum. Great labour-saving implements are the drill rollers and grubbers, which are so notched as to break the clods, and can be adjusted to any size or width of the drill.

Mr A. Pollock, Mauchline, shows a very good collection of labour-saving appliances, and it may be mentioned that many of the products of this firm have already been booked, so great is the demand for the machines of this prominent Ayrshire maker. A very good substantial combined reaper and mower of a new style, with a tilting board for hay and corn, is one of the features of this stand; while a hay and straw press, which is on show, is so arranged that one person can lift it by its own lever on to its wheels in one minute after the men stop baling, making it easy for transport. Practical agriculturists should make a pause at this exhibit. The distinction of having won the gold medal at Haddington belongs to this press. A very handy rick lifter is case-hardened in the centre of the wheel as well as in the axle, thus adding to its durability. This machine only weighs 6cwt gross. A patent hay collector is also on view, as well as an improved potato digger; while there is an example of Nicholson’s patent switchback hay turner, which Mr Pollock was the first to introduce into Ayrshire. There are also shown a double cheese press and a patent curd mill, similar to those used in the Dairy School at Kilmarnock. The features of the curd mill are the round teeth and the open grating in the centre, enabling it to break up more effectively, and without getting twisted round the breaker.

Messrs George Sellar & Son, Huntly, have a goodly show of ploughs, harrows, grubbers, and binders. Messrs P. & R. Fleming & Co., Glasgow, have one of the largest stands in the implement yard. A prominent feature is the corrugated steel shed fitted with the horse fork. Beneath the shed is a large assortment of dairy and laundry utensils, while a large Bradford windmill is one of the features of the landscape. It is claimed for this windmill that the highest wind will not overcome it, and certainly it has plenty of opportunity of distinguishing its capabilities yesterday. The firm also show many of the machines for which they are the agents. Messrs John Gray & Co., Uddingtson, have on show a large display of ploughs and other agricultural implements; while Mr Charles Weir, Strathaven, exhibits rick lifters and churns.

Mr Thomas Turnbull, Castle Bank, Dumfries, has a stand on which he shows an improved Dumfries broadcast sower for grain and grass seeds, along with chaff cutters and grinding and churning mills. Weighing machines have of late been coming to the front in farm work, and the stand of Messrs Ward & Avery, Glasgow, devoted to these exhibits, is therefore all the more interesting. Messrs Henry Pooley & Son, Glasgow, also show in this department a number of weighbridges of various capacities. Mr John Scoular, Stirling, makes a large display of agricultural appliances; and the stand of Mr J. P. Cathcart, Glasgow, is also a most complete one.

The machines of Walter A. Wood are exhibited at the stands of Messrs P. & R. Fleming, Glasgow, and George Sellar & Sons, Huntly. Messrs Kemp & Nicholson, Stirling, have a large stand on which they show horse rakes, reapers, mowers, hay collectors, spring carts, farm carts, vans and lorries. The Morgan hay baler at this stand is a machine which can load 50cwt of hay on an ordinary railway wagon, pressing hay to double the density of the old-fashioned press. An improved cart turnip cutting machine is worthy of notice here. Messrs James Grey & Co, Stirling, have also a goodly collection of implements. One of the largest stands in the show is that of Messrs A. & J. Main & Co., Edinburgh and Glasgow. The chief exhibits at this stand are the Deering binders, an American make of machine which has been pushing its way to the front in Scotland. The Deering pony binder is fitted with roller and ball bearings while the Deering ideal mowers and combined mowers and reapers are also fitted in a similar fashion. The Deering Harvester Company introduced ball bearings into their machines five years ago, and since that time many other firms have adopted this contrivance. One of their pony binders is fitted with slot conveyors instead of canvasses. Their McDonald turnip topping and tailing machine won a silver medal at the Dumfries Highland Show. Shown for the first time was the one horse back-delivery reaper and mower, which is specially adapted for small farms and crofts, and which is used as a supplementary machine to the binder for opening up fields. With Brown’s Cammo cart turnip cutting machine, also exhibited at this stand, a cartful of turnips can be cut in seven minutes.

Messrs Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole, show a very nice collection of implements of general utility in the cultivation of the soil, chiefly applicable to the root crops. Mr Wm McNaughton, Stirling, shows hand presses. Messrs J. D. Allan & Sons, Dunkeld; Mr William Dickie, East Kilbride; Mr Matthew Dunlop, Glasgow, and Messrs John Turnbull & Sons, Dunmore, Larbert, have all good collections of various kinds of agricultural implements. Messrs G. McCartney & Co., Old Cumnock, exhibit a couple of thrashing mills- one of them a high speed machine fitted with riddle and fanners. An attractive display is made by Messrs Thomas Sherriff & Co., Westbarns, Dunbar. A feature of their exhibition is an improved broadcast sowing machine for grain and grass seeds, which at Haddington Show on Saturday was awarded a silver medal. This comprehensive stand also includes a collapsible sheep fodder rack of novel design.

Messrs John Wallace & Sons, Glasgow, like many other local firms, have a large display, comprising the City of Glasgow and the Thistle binders, the popular Massey-Harris cultivators, and the Champion potato-digger, with two and three horse trees. The hay “tedders’ exhibited by the firm are worth the attention of visitors. Driven by one horse, they are every day coming into greater demand. Naturally a prominent machine on the stand of Messrs J. Bisset & Sons, Blairgowrie, is the firm’s open back binder, which was shown at the trials in connection with the show at Edinburgh in 893, and obtained a favourable notice from the judges then. Among the firm’s other exhibits is the safety potato digger.

Messrs Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole, have a large stand, on which are specimens of the strong and compact Empire binder and the well-known Caledonia potato digger, which, being fitted with enclosed gearing, is capable of standing a great deal of wear and tear. The digger, which was first at the trials of the Leicester Royal Show a year ago, holds a prominent position in the market as a perfectly arranged machine. A moderately priced horse hoe and specimens of the Dux Canadian ploughs are among the other exhibits by which the firm is represented.

The motion yard is not very extensive, but it is extremely interesting, and embraces an excellent collection of machinery of the farm. Mr H. B. Fleming, Kirkliston, shows the “Bisset” reaper and binder. Messrs Carrick & Ritchie, Edinburgh, show a large collection of their improved turbines, pelton wheels, jet water motors, and other appliances for the utilisation of water for power for mills, farm machinery &c. the application of water power to country house lighting by electricity is illustrated by a combined turbine and dynamo. Another novelty is a combined jet water motor and dynamo suitable for lighting a small house containing thirty lamps. Another application of water power for the ventilation of buildings is shown. This is a very compact combination of a jet motor and ventilating fan, by which the town water supply entering a cistern may be made to yield up its power in driving the ventilating fan, and then pass into the cistern for domestic use.

Messrs Ben Reid & Co., Aberdeen, have an attractive stand, at which the show in notion five thrashing machines of the newest and most improved type, fitted with double blast and barley awner. They have also at work one of the Massey Harris Brantford binders, fitted with the original patent slat conveyer. They likewise show their well-known broadcast sowing machines and manure distributers, together with a varied assortment of useful articles for farm work. Thrashing machines and engines are the leading features of the stand occupied by Mr R. G. Morton, Errol, and these are of an excellent description, neatly designed, and well finished. Windmills are conspicuous objects on the stands of Messrs P. & W. Maclellan, Glasgow, and Messrs John S. Millar & Son, Annan. As in former years, Messrs Thos Gibson & Son, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, have one of the largest individual spaces in the yard allotted to their exhibits. Their name is so well known for ornamental iron work that little need be said on their behalf.

Mr William Sinton, Jedburgh, shows an interesting assortment of churns; and Mr John Gray, Stranraer, has on view cheese vats, presses, refrigerators, and other dairy utensils. The Dairy Supply Company, Edinburgh, exhibit a large collection of separators and other appliances of a useful character. The Sorn Dairy Supply, Glasgow, have a working dairy, which should prove a source of much attraction, the process of buttermaking being carried on daily. Messrs Watson, Laidlaw, & Co., Glasgow, show a number of cream separators in this section of the implement yard.”

Quite a show by all accounts!

The photographs were taken at the Highland Show, 2019.


The Highland Show in 1924

What would the farmers and agriculturists in 1924 see at the Highland Show?

The exhibition of implements and machines at the Highland Show was always well recorded in the local, regional and agricultural press. In 1924 the Scotsman provided a lengthy account of the Show which included reference to Scottish exhibitors. The following extract sets out a general account of the implement department and some of the well-known Scottish exhibitors.

The display of farm implements is arresting in its scope and variety of interest. All phases of agriculture are represented, and many firms noted for the character of their products have stands. Particular interest naturally attaches to the new contrivances designed to aid the farmer in his operations, while noteworthy improvements in detail are to be noted on familiar implements. The casual visitor, as well as the agriculturist, will find a round of the stands an instructive experience.

A wide range of implements and appliances is shown by Messrs Gillies & Henderson, Bread Street, Edinburgh, at stand 172. Useful types of binders and mowers are shown, as well as a manure distributor, a horse rake, hay collectors, and a hay bogie, a rick stand, a potato digger, and other implements.

At Stand 127 of Messrs A. Newlands & Son (Ltd), St Magdalene Engineering Works, Linlithgow, there is a fine display. The Newlands tractor and horse cultivators and grubbers, horse hoes, and horse rakes are all marked by superior workmanship. They have also on view a wide selection of well-known implements by other firms, including the McCormick rake and grain drill, and the “International” tractor.

A notable feature of Stand 149, Messrs J. L. & J. Ballach, Gorgie Implement Works, Edinburgh, are the patent scarifiers produced by this firm. The No. 3 patent disc drill scarifier is fitted with compensating spring levers and sidelands arrangement, and the No. 4 patent combined scarifier has hoeing attachments. Turnip sowers, a combined turnip and manure sower, grinders, a potato sorter, a vertical steam boiler, complete with steaming pans, suitable for dairies and piggeries, and an artificial manure distributor are also among the exhibits, which embrace different aspects of agricultural activities.

Besides having two new implements on view, Messrs Thomas Sheriff & Co., West Barns, Dunbar, have some of their familiar and well-made implements at Stand 155. Their drills, seeders, and sowers have a well-established reputation for good workmanship, and there are typical examples to be seen at their stand.

A large variety of iron goods, chains, and blacksmiths’ supplies are on view at Stand No. 222, occupied by Neilson & Cleland (Ltd), Coatbridge.

Among the other exhibitors of implements are such well-known firms as Messrs Robert Begg & Son, Dalry, Ayrshire; Messrs J. D. Allan & Sons, Murthly; Messrs Jas Gray & Co., Stirling; Messrs William Wilson & Son (Crosshouse), Ltd, Stirling; Messrs Wm Elder & Sons (Ltd), Berwick on Tweed; Messrs David Irons & Sons, Forfar; Messrs Alexander Jack & Sons (Ltd)., Maybole; Messrs Geo. Sellar & Son (Ltd), Huntly; Messrs John Doe (Ltd), Errol; Messrs J. Bisset & Sons (Ltd), Blairgowrie; and Messrs A. & W. Pollock, Mauchline, Ayrshire.

With such a representative list of makers and agents the implements section of the yard has many points of interest and lessons of practical value

The reporter was certainly impressed!

The photographs were taken at the Highland Show, 2019.


Some stands at the Highland Show, 1879

The year 1879 is an important year in Scottish agriculture. It marked the start if an agricultural depression that continued until the first decade of the twentieth century. It also marked the end of the “High period” of farming that had seen growth and development in Scottish and British farming. During theses decades Scottish farming had been revolutionised not only with the invention and development but also the widespread use of implements and machines, such as those relating to the grain harvest. The Scottish agricultural implement and machine making industry started to develop. A number of makers that were to continue their activities until the second half of the twentieth century became set up, grew and became well-known and well-established.

The Highland Show in 1879 was held in the Perth Show District, in Perth. An account of the show in the Dundee Courier notes the names and exhibitors of a number of implement and machine makers in central and north-eastern Scotland who were exhibiting at the show. Here is what the Courier noted of them:

Messrs Kemp & Nicholson, also from Stirling, exhibit a capital collection of agricultural implements and machines, comprising their celebrated Waverley, North British, and Caledonian reapers and mowers, horse rakes, hay collectors, farm carts, cart wheels and axles, two and three-wheeled grubbers, harrows, rollers, &c.
Specialities in turnip lifters on a greatly improved pattern are shown at Stand 89 by Messrs Auchinachie & Simpson, Keith, who have been awarded gold medals for these lifters. These gentlemen also show fine specimens of ploughs and grubbers.

Messrs J D Allan & Son, Dunkeld, exhibit at Stand 87 potato diggers, with improved spring lever lifter, and also improved reapers and ploughs and other implements, all of which are of a highly superior description.
A specimen of an American plough is to be found at Stand 135, which belongs to Mr Thomas Scott, Denny. The principal feature of this plough is that it is about a third lighter in draught than ordinary ploughs, while it is fitted with a sock which will serve a season without requiring repair. Mr Scott also exhibits a patent washing machine and an improved wringer, both of which are worthy the attention of heads of families, a wood reaping machine, and a number of other implements.
Messrs J. Bissett & Sons, Blairgowrie, exhibit, at Stalls 156 and 165, agricultural implements of every description and of the best class. Among the principal articles are the turnip lifter and a Scotia mower, fed with two speeds of knife instantaneously, and changeable improved gearing encased and apart from ground wheels.

Mr W. Macfarlane, Ardler, who occupies Stands 160 and 169, shows a great variety of agricultural implements, amongst which are reapers, horse rakes, and drill harrows. He also exhibits a new and improved threshing machine of English style, invented and made by himself, and which is a compact and handy machine for fixed or barn use. The machinery is all enclosed, so that the dust cannot get in, and farmers will find this thresher of a very suitable description. A vertical engine of 6 horse power for driving the machine is also on view, the engine and boiler being on the same base.

Mr R. G. Morton, Errol, exhibits an entirely new direct-acting, high speed threshing and dressing machine at Stand 186. This machine is suitable for either water or steam power. There are only three belts in connection with the machine, and these communicate the power direct from the engine. The machine, to which dust cannot enter, is fitted with Mr Morton’s patent lubricators, which can contain oil to serve for three days. Mr Morton also exhibits grist mills for grinding barley, Indian corn, &c. Wood’s reaper and binder, horticultural engine (fitted with patent lubricators); patent reaper, with Williamson’s back delivery, this reaper being a mower manual and self-deliverer combined, and being fitted with hinged finger-bar and double driving-wheels. The machine was commended at the Royal Northern Agricultural Show at Aberdeen.
At Stand 130 Robert Mitchell & Son, Peterhead, have a number of agricultural machines, amongst which we specially notice a couple of broadcast sowing machines for grain and grass seeds. The peculiarity of these is that the seed box is made in two divisions, and so constructed that each “swirls” round on a centre pivot at each side. The shortness of the half boxes keeps the fore end always at a distance from the horse’s head, and the whole thing is very portable and easily wrought, or stored when not in use. The boxes are of two lengths-18 and 14, the latter being specially suited for small holdings. Altogether, these sowers are likely to make their way with the farming fraternity. A number of rakes, grubbers, rollers, and ploughs at the same stand will repay inspection.

At Stand 139, George Sellar & Son, Huntly, exhibit a number of choice diggers, ploughs, harrows. Barclay & Sellar’s patent digger is now much used by the leading agriculturists in the north. It pulverises the lower part of the furrow slice, and turns over only the upper portion, leaving the roots of the weeds exposed to the winter’s frost, and the ground in a very friable condition. Stubble land cultivated by the digger does not require to be reploughed as it would do after the plough, but only requires to be harrowed in spring, and turnip land is left ready for the reception of the seed. Five of the ploughs at this stand are fitted with mould boards of an improved type, which were thoroughly tested last winter, and have proved very successful. The harrows are not fitted with bolts as usual, but have the tines driven firmly into the slots, thus forming a strong, simple, and durable article. The advantage of this style of harrow is that there is no danger of them shaking loose, and a farm servant can remove the tines when they require repair, and replace them again, without having to take down the whole harrow.

At Stand 158 (John Doe’s), Adamson & Co. of Dundee and Errol exhibit a very fine selection of agricultural drain tiles from 1 ½ inches to 14 inches in diameter, and also roofing tile, pressed brick, cut, and hardware. These are all being extensively used by agriculturists, and are entitled to practical patronage from farmers and others in want of such material, alike from their clean make and finished, yet substantial workmanship.”

These exhibitors included some well-known businesses that continued into the twentieth century. Some of their implements and machines can still be seen at rallies.

The photographs were taken at the Highland Show in 2019.


The Highland Show in 1890

What was on display at the Highland Show in 1890?

In that year the Show was held at Dundee, in the Perth Show District. This was one of the more important districts for the display of agricultural implements and machines. However, in 1890 there was an agricultural depression which was to continue into the start of the next decade. This had an impact on the farming systems used (including area under crop), the amount of money farmers had to spend, the types of new implements and machines being developed and on sale, and interest in what was being exhibited. These factors helped to shape the character of implements and machines at the Highland Show in 1890.

The North British Agriculture, the national Scottish agricultural newspaper provided a critique of the show. It includes reflection of the implement department as well as a description of the exhibitors and their stands:

“In such a busy commercial centre, it was only to be expected that there would be a good general display of farm implements. Not only have the local manufacturers and agents turned out in full strength, but there are many exhibitors from both north and south of the Tay; while a good few of the leading makers from the south side of the Tweed are, as usual, well represented.

There is, however, very little of a really new or novel character on exhibition. Various kinds of the implements such as potato diggers, harvesting machinery, &c, have been improved and perfected where this was possible since last season; but, as a general rule, there is little or nothing that will strike the visitor as radically new or much in advance of anything that has been seen for the past few years. All the exhibitors, however, have striven to make their collections as comprehensive and complete as possible; and the probability is that visitors will find this important department as well stocked, and as interesting at the Dundee Show as at most of the previous meetings of the Society. The competitive trials are this year confined to grist mills, for which prizes of £15 and £10 are offered. The price of the machine is not to exceed £25, and to be limited to eight horse power, and the mill is to be able to knibble or grind all kinds of grain. There are seventeen machines entered by the following exhibitors:-Blackstone & Co., Stamford; W. N. Nicholson & Sons, Newark; Woodroffe & Co., Rugeley; Wm Balfour, Pittenweem; Barford & Perkins, Peterborough; and R. G. Morton, Errol. The judges in this competition will conduct their operations simultaneously with those in the stock departments; and it is expected that the awards will be announced in the course of the second day of the show. Appended are a few notes of the various stands picked up in the course of a hurried walk through the implement yard on Monday-

Messrs J. D. Allan & Sons, Dunkeld, occupy as usual stand no. 1 with a large selection of their well-known farm implements. Quite a new one is a turnip cutting cart for sheep, which Messrs Allan have recently introduced to meet a growing demand. It is specially suited for the requirements of those who purchased blackfaced cast ewes for fattening on the low ground. The turnips are loaded into the cart and are cut as they are distributed by a Gardener’s revolving turnip cutter fitted underneath the cart, the power being supplied from the motion of the wheels. The turnips are cut into finger pieces and distributed with regularity all over the field. The operation is performed much more easily and expeditiously than by being cut first, then loaded and shovelled out, as by the old method.

Messrs Auchinachie & Simpson, of Keith, occupy the next place with neat collection of very serviceable implements. Besides a turnip and mangold sower, ridging plough, and broadcast sower, this firm show their steel tined keyed harrows in several sizes. These harrows have from their efficiency obtained a good reputation for their strength and firmness, while it claimed for them that they will wear about twice the time of the ordinary harrow.

Messrs Bisset & Sons, Blairgowrie, have the largest stand in the showyard in the implement shedding, and here we find the “Speedwell” reaper, which for efficient back delivery and light working enjoys a good name, and also the “Bisset” mower, a new pattern machine which has done excellent service in the hay harvest this year, Two binders are also shown, but it is at Messrs Bisset’s other stand, in the machinery in motion section, that these now famous machines are to be seen to advantage.
Mr Thomas Hunter, of Maybole, amongst a very large selection of cultivating implements, shows the “Hunter” hoe-a remarkably serviceable little implement, which can be adapted to a great many purposes. It can be used for cleaning turnip drills previous to thinning, for ridging and grubbing potato drills, or it can be adapted to serve as an expanding drill harrow, or as a five tined drill grubber. The side frames being angle steel, are very rigid; and although the general appearance of the implement is light, it is nevertheless strong enough for the stiffest soils. Although this is one of the handiest little instruments we have seen for the requirements of green crop growers.

Stand No. 8 is occupied by Mr William Elder, of Tweedside Implement Works, Berwickshire on Tweed. Prominent among his exhibits is the Brantford steel binder, made by Messrs Harris, Sons & Co, of Brantford, Ont, Canada, who claim to be the largest manufacturers of self-binding harvesters in Her Majesty’s Dominions. This machine is strongly built of steel and malleable iron, and is fitted with all the most recent improvements. Mr John Clay, of Kerchesters, Kelso, is also agent for these machines, and has for several seasons cut his entire crop with them, and speaks very highly of their efficiency. This, by the way, is the binder which did such remarkable work in cutting laid crops in Northumberland last season, of which notice was taken at the time in our columns. Now that the harvest is approaching, the labour difficulty has again to be faced. Those who find difficulty in obtaining hands should make a point of inspecting this labour saving implement. Me Elder also exhibits several beautifully finished broadcast sowing machines, fitted with adjustable swivel for going through gateways. Horse rakes, turnip sowers, reapers, and mowers complete this display.

Messrs Kemp & Nicholson, the old-established implement makers, of Scottish Central Works, Stirling, show their “Stirling Castle” self-acting back-delivery reaper, their new “Waverley” reaper and mower, and also their new “North British” reaper and mower, into which steel parts have been introduced in place of iron where strength is required. Amongst their large and varied collection we select for mention their iron sheep fodder rack, which has not been shown at a Highland Show for many years, but which is an invaluable piece of apparatus for flockmasters. The chief novelty, however, on this stand is a cart turnip cutting machine, which is fitted with a revolving slicer for distributing turnips to sheep being fed on grass land. Another very prominent exhibit of this firm’s is a varnished tipping cart of superior finished, with double self-acting lock and elevator.

Messrs Ben Reid & Co., of Aberdeen, have their usual large and important collection. One of the first things to attract attention on this stand is their “Bon Accord” back delivery reaper and rake, which has won for itself a good name all over the north-east of Scotland. Next we observe their patent broadcast sowers, with folding apparatus, and then their patent manure distributor; but the name of “Ben Reid” attached to such implements is sufficient guarantee of their serviceableness, so that further description is needless. Grubbers, pumps, draining rods, garden seats, and hay gatherers are amongst the various specialities of this firm; but a hay baling press, of a new pattern, is a decided novelty.
Messrs Geo. Sellar & Son, Huntly, have, as usual, a very striking collection of ploughs, with long mould boards, adapted for working stiff land. They also show their Anglo-American plough, which is adapted for working on lighter land; while harrows, made of steel, and driven tines, are also a prominent part of this old established firm’s display. It is shown this year with jointed finger bar and a new in-and-out of gear arrangement, for which an additional patent has been applied for. Altogether, this is one of the most efficient and approved harvesters in the market. Chaff cutters, oilcake mills, pulpers, and other food preparing machinery compete this firm’s exhibit.

Messrs Jack & Sons, of Maybole, have a prominent stand, which are to be found specimens of their Caledonian “Buckeye” mower and reaper, which we have often described at former meetings of the Highland Society. Messrs Jack are also strong in cultivating implements as well as food-preparing machinery; while their spring carts and vans, as regards quality of material and workmanship, leave little to be desired.

Messrs G. W. Murray & Co., Banff. This old-established Scotch implement firm was represented at stand No. 20. Amongst their numerous exhibits are to be found their “Victory” back delivery reaper, as designed by the late Mr Murray, who was the first to bring out a back delivery reaper of the light pattern; and it must be gratifying to his successors to see other makers adopting the same principle. Messrs Murray show also their hand lever shearing machine, which can cut a bar of iron an inch thick, owing to the powerful way the leavers are arranged.
Mr Robert Kyd, of Coupar Angus, shows his potato diggers and planters, which we have often fully described.
Messrs Newlands & Son, of Linlithgow, show several very useful general purpose and drill ploughs.

Messrs D. Paterson & Sons, Alloa, show a self-acting horse rake and set of wrought iron whipple trees.
Messrs Thomas Sherriff & Co., Dunbar, are a firm we always expect to find in full at a “Highland”. Their display this year will well sustain the credit of this firm for broadcast sowers, for which they are experiencing a very good demand. Amongst these machines, we observe their broadcast sower which took the Highland Society’s premium at Dumfries, about twenty years ago, and also their machine of more recent type, which came out victorious at the Perth trials of 1888. Their fourteen row lever corn drill, with single wheel steerage and land measuring index, is a very useful machine, so that we are not surprised to learn that Messrs Sherriff find that it has become what we may call a “general favourite”.
Mr William Ford, of Fentonbarns, Drem, shows the “Toronto” binder, which, since its introduction several seasons ago, has attained quite an unprecedented popularity amongst the class who require binders. It is the same as last season, except in one of two minor details.
Mr A. Pollock, of Mauchline, showed his improved hay and straw press and trusser, which has a very ingenious transport arrangement; also his new patent rick shifter, which is now largely used in the west of Scotland. No other of Mr Pollock’s exhibits call for special comment.
Mr John Scoular, of Stirling, shows his patent horse rake, with triple active leverage, in nine different sizes.

Mr Alexander Grant, Rothes, shows a steel single plough, and a steel drill plough of approved pattern.
Mr Wm. Davidson, Mintlaw, is again forward at the “Highland” after a few years’ absence. His artificial manure distributor, and natural manure distributor, are first class machines of their kind, and a large number of visitors to the show were highly pleased with an inspection of these machines.

Mr John Doe, of Errol, who acts as an agent for a great number of important implement makers, has a large stand replete with farm implements of all descriptions.
Messrs Flear & Thomson, of Dunfermline, show Wardlaw’s patent turnip thinner, which is the only implement of this description made on the hortizontal principle, and which, we believe, has done excellent work. In a damp season like the present, when the young plants grow so rapidly, a machine like this is a vey valuable acquisition on any farm where there is a large acreage of turnips. On this stand there is also shown a potato dresser, made by Mr Molleson, of Balwearie, Kirkcaldy, which separates the tubers in various sizes by means of a revolving screen with graduated apertures.
Messrs John Wallace & Sons, Graham Square, Glasgow, exhibit at stand 31 a large and interesting collection of reaper and mowers, food preparing machinery, horse rakes, cultivators, &c. Prominent amongst their harvesting implements are their well-known the “City of Glasgow” and “Thistle” reapers, both of which have acquired a wide reputation, and have been largely used for several seasons in both England and Scotland. There also exhibit a combination mower and reaper which is so constructed that it can be either used for back or manual delivery. The famous “Oliver” chilled plough is also seen to great advantage on this stand, the firm having the sole agency in Britain for the sale of this valuable implement.

Messrs John Turnbull & Son, Carnock, Larbert, exhibit at the adjoining stand (30) two specimens of the portable hay or straw trusser with which they won the Society’s prize at the Melrose Show last year. This is a most useful implement on all farms, and it is not only light and simple in working, but exceedingly cheap.
Mr David Williamson, Carron Bridge, Thornhill, has brought all the way from Dumfriesshire, and exhibits at stand 32, several samples of his manufactures, such as farm carts, gardeners’ barrows, navvy’s barrow, and a Laide barrow. These useful articles appear to be substantially made, and are admirably finished.

Messrs Alex Wood & sons, Stockwell Street, Glasgow, make a speciality of farm and other weighing machines, several samples of which they exhibit at stand 53. These machines are made in great variety, and are fitted with all the latest improvements. This firm have recently invented and patented a process which completely removes the difficulty that has often been experienced in registering the exact weight of an article, owing to the vibration of the needle of the dial. By a simple process, the needle is made fast the moment the full weight is attained.

How many makers and their implements do you recognise?


The Highland Show in 1865

As it would have been the time of the Highland Show, let’s look back at past shows and the implements and machines exhibited at them.

The Highland Show was an important forum for the exhibition of implements and machines made by Scottish and other makers, usually from England. It gave makers an opportunity to see what they were making, what was their latest developments and innovations. It allowed makers to reach a large audience, especially if they were coming from a distance to the show.

Before 1860 the Highland Show travelled around Scotland in turn to each of the teight show districts. In1865 the Show was at Inverness, the Show District for the north of Scotland and surrounding area. The largest number of the implement and machinery exhibitors were from this and neighbouring Show Districts. However, there were also others who came from a much wider area of Scotland, looking to expand their customer base and show what they had to offer. These makers included some of the well-known and renowned makers who had a reputation throughout Scotland. There were some English makers, but they had a considerable distance to travel to the show.

The exhibition of implements and machines at the Highland Show was widely reported in the local, regional and agricultural press. This is what the North British Agriculturist, the major Scottish newspaper wrote about the Inverness Show in 1865:

“Implement department
The implement department is not imposing, there being none of the complicated and more expensive machines which are so attractive to the ordinary visitor. There is no machinery in motion. The articles are arranged in rows, part being displayed under wooden sheds, and part without any protection. The more eminent English makers are not patronising the present exhibition of the Highland Society. Doubtless the distance from the seat of their manufacturers, and the number of orders which still remain unexecuted, are the causes which have influenced implement makers in withholding contributions to the present show. There are, however, in several of the stands implement and machines from English manufacturers. It does not argue well for the estimation in which the farming of the north of Scotland is held that there is only one portable steam-engine in the yard, exhibited by Williamson Brothers, Canal Iron Works, Kendal, who also exhibit a combined thrashing machine, a turbine water wheel, and a centrifugal pump. The implements which are shown in the greatest numbers are ploughs, harrows, and reaping machines. Mr Allan, Culthill, Dunkeld, shows several well constructed ploughs and horse shows, with two turnip sowing machines.
Messrs Brigham & Bickerton, Berwick, exhibit several of their well-known excellent reaping-machines. Messrs Jack & Son, Maybole, show a Hussey’s reaper, a Buckeye combined reaper and mower, and other articles. Messrs Law, Duncan & Co., Shettleston, have a potato-digger, a patent reaping-machine, a subsoil plough, &c. Sir John P. Ord of Kilmory, Bart, shows a horse collar made of bent grass, and matting of the same material-both very cheap and good. Mr Rawdin, Jedburgh, exhibits dipping tubs for dressing sheep. Mr John Richardson shows specimens of his well-known fanners. Riches & Watts, Norwich, an American grist and corn-grinding mill. Messrs Richmond & Chandler, Manchester, have an excellent assortment of chaff-cutters and other food-preparing machines, which are now, we are glad to say, being better understood and appreciated by farmers in Scotland. Mr Ross, Cullen, shows a very good plough and turnip-sowing machine. The Singer Manufacturing Co., Dundee, exhibit several sewing machines. Mr W. Kennedy, 182 Princes Street, Edinburgh, shows a splendid collection of these useful and popular articles.

Messrs J. & T. Young. Vulcan Foundry, Ayr, exhibit good combined reaping and owing machines; one, being adapted for one horse, is said to have proved a very great success. The same firm has also several other articles useful in the farm and the dairy. Messrs Kemp, Murray, & Nicholson have an extensive collection of food-preparing machines, reapers, horse-rakes, rollers, grubbers, harrows, garden seeds, &c. Messrs Morton of Liverpool have a varied and extensive collection of galvanised iron and wire fencing, along with models of buildings in corrugated iron. Messrs Picksley, Sims, & Co., Leigh, show an unusually large collection of food-preparing machines, troughs, bone-mills, rakes, reaping machines, lawn mowers, garden seats, &c; along with an excellent collection of superior American cast steel hay and manure forks.
Mr John Pringle, Berwick, Kelso, and Edinburgh, has a very extensive and well-assorted collection of implements, consists of several patent reaping and mowing machines, food-preparing machines, harrows of various forms, a number of corn-screws, wire netting, sheep troughs &c. Mesrs Benjamin Reid & Co., Aberdeen, exhibit their 4-inch row drilling machines, a number of food-preparing machines, Howard’s ploughs and rakes, Cambridge’s clod crushers, Shank’s mowing machines, Jebb’s patent tubular churn (a new invention which is attracting a considerable amount of attention from the short time in which butter is produced), &c.
Messrs Davie, Brown, & Young, Stirling, exhibited reaping machines, a land roller, and a turnip slicer. Mr Forbes, Inverness, shows reapers, turnip cutters, and corn crushers. Mr Finlayson, Arbroath, exhibits a large self delivery reaper, which is stated to be of radical improvement. Captain Fraser of Balnain, shows a cumbrous looking machine for making peats, a primitive plough for clearing snow off hill pastures, and a still more primitive looking harrow for the same purpose. Messrs Hudspith & Co., Motherwell, show pipes and collars, bricks, &c. Mr Hunter, Maybole, displays a new turnip cleaner, ploughs, grubbers, harrows, &c. Mr Kirkwood, Tranent, has an ordinary two-horse plough, the Tweedale ploughs, grubbers, harrows, &c. Mr William Kirkwood, Duddingston Mills, Edinburgh, exhibits a new two-horse grubber, a potato lifter, a Norwegian harrow, horse rakes, &c. Messrs Mcgregory & Humphreys, Aberdeen, exhibit their well-known ploughs, besides horse rakes, harrows &c. Messrs Main, Kempt & Co., Glasgow, have an extensive collection of rick stands, fencing, hurdles, field gates, sheep netting, field gates, chairs &c. Messrs Middleton & Co., Edinburgh, exhibit their wire fencing with pillars and stays, garden stats, galvanised wire netting, hurdles &c. Mr Mitchell, Peterhead, has in his stand a one-horse cart, drill sowing machines, harrows, and rollers. Mr Robson, Glasgow, exhibits a number of articles made of fireclay, such as cattle troughs, wall coping, ridging, sewage pipes, &c. Messrs Sellar & Son, Huntly, have a large assortment of ploughs and harrows.

Mr Wilson, Loanhead Works, Dunfermline, shows a number of excellent troughs and other articles made of fire clay. Mr Wingate, Alloa, exhibited his iron meat coolers, corn bins, and other articles. Messrs W. D. Young & Co., George Street, Edinburgh, have wrought iron gates, hurdles, fencing, garden seats, chairs, and a large number of articles made of galvanised iron.”

It provides a lot of information about who was exhibiting; where they came from; their manufactures; developments in implements and machines from former years; the key implements and machines in use at the time as well s other information.

How many of the names of the exhibitors do you still recognise?

The photographs were taken at rallies in recent years.


What was new in Scottish implements and machines in 1920?

What was new in Scottish implements and machines in 1920?

If you were a farmer in 1920 (as today) and wanted to see the latest agricultural implements and machines you would have a good look around the Highland Show. The Highland Show in 1920 was the 89th Show of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. It was held in Aberdeen, one of the smaller show districts, where there were generally fewer exhibitors from the south of Scotland and England.

At the Show The Scotsman newspaper reported that “Most of the leading manufacturers and agents have their usual stands, and agricultural visitors to the show will find much to interest them, while a tour of this section by townspeople will serve to demonstrate to them the great variety of labour-saving machines now in use in the cultivation of the soil.”

Particular implements and machines at the show included, according to The Scotsman:
Scottish Motor Traction Company’s Display. The Scottish Motor Traction Company (Ltd), Edinburgh and Glasgow, have an attractive exhibition of farm tractors and engines. The agricultural tractors shown are the well-known “Titan” and “International Junior”, two of each variety being on view, the former of 23b.h.p. and the latter of 25.6hp. Both machines have proved their worth during recent years, and their versatility is displayed in various forms. These tractors are manufactured by the International Harvester Company of Great Britain (Ltd), whose paraffin engines and other agricultural implements are also on view. Two specially interesting productions are the “International Hamilton”, three-furrow and two-furrow power life tractor ploughs fitted with general purpose boards and rolling disc coulters. There is also a tractor trailer with plain platform and a tool-box trailer for tractors, with drums for fuel and water, large tool box, and seating accommodation for two persons. The Company hold numerous agencies for private motor cars of first class design and manufacture, and also supply commercial motor vehicles of the latest and most approved models.

Messrs Barclay, Ross & Hutchison Ltd, Aberdeen, have an extensive collection of agricultural implements forward, such as oil engines, mowers and reapers. Cultivators, potato diggers, horse rakes and spraying outfits. A specimen of the “Austin” tractor is also on view, as well as a portable thresher specially suited for tractor use, and a double sack lifter, which is entered as a new implement.

The display of implements by Mr James H. Steel, Edinburgh, is one of the most attractive and comprehensive in the yard. Over 50 separate articles are on view, comprising the productions of such noted firms as Messrs Ruston & Hornsby (Ltd), Harrison, McGregor & Co. (Ltd), Ransomes, Sims, & Jefferies (Ltd), and others. Tractor owners will no doubt be particularly interested in a new patent expanding tractor land roller, made by Messrs Ogle & Sons, It is the only one of the kind on view, and is an implement which should fill a long felt want. To mention only a few of the other outstanding exhibits, there is also a Cooper-Stewart two unit sheep shearing machine for power, a Phoenix potato sorter driven by a small petrol engine, with elevator, attached for delivering cut roots into boxes, and a portable turnip cleaner and cutter. The latter is entered as a new implement, an is produced by Mr Kenneth McKenzie, engineer, Evanton, Ross-shire.

The well-known form of Messrs John Wallace & Sons (Ltd), Glasgow, are exhibiting a large assortment of farm implements. For potato growers, Messrs Wallace have several labour-saving machines, including the Richmond two row potato planter, a one row potato planter and manure sower, and a potato digger with eight adjustable graipes. Specimens of the “Thistle” mower and reaper are shown, as well as many other items of proved efficiency, including the famous “Oliver” chilled ploughs, of which there is a specially attractive display.
The “Glasgow” tractor. The “Glasgow” farm tractor, manufactured by the Wallace Farm Implements (Ltd), Cardonald, is on view at the stand of the British Motor Trading Corporation (Ltd), 50 pall mall, London. This tractor has rapidly gained the confidence of farmers, and it is in exceptional demand. Two new features are embodied in the equipment of the specimens forward-viz,-a paraffin vaporizer and pressed steel front wheels. One of the main points in the tractor, and on which its success depends to a great extent, is the fact that all three wheels are drive wheels, which prevents skidding. The stand also contains “Oliver” ploughs, disc harrows, and grubbers, also manufactured by the Wallace Farm Implements, and adapted for tractor work.
Other Scottish exhibitors.

Messrs C. F. Wilson & Co., Aberdeen, show a number of the noted “Wilson” oil engines of varying horse power. Oil engines of the latest improved lampless type, and especially designed for agricultural purposes, form the chief feature of the stand occupied by Messrs Allan Brothers, Ashgrove Works, Aberdeen. Messrs Wm Dickie & Sons, East Kilbride, have a representative display, rick-lifters and windmills being as usual the outstanding features. On the adjoining stand will be found a large assortment of engines and farm machinery, shown by Messrs H. W. Mathers & Son, Perth. A new implement can be seen here in the form of a portable engine driven turnip cutter of the horizontal type. Three stationary oil engines are exposed by Messrs Alex Shanks & Son (Limited), Arbroath; while Messrs Fleming & Co., Robertson Street, Glasgow, have a fairly extensive display of accessories for tractors and steam road rollers, and road-making plant, a five ton-tripping tractor wagon, stone-breakers, concrete mixers, rock drills, air compressors, and blasting outfits.

A new implement in the form of a self-lifting cultivator suitable for tractor or horse power is entered by Messrs McBain Bros (Limited). Berwick on Tweed. Messrs J. & R. Wallace, Castle Douglas, show three of their motor productions, including two specimens of the “universal” artificial manure distributors, and the “Royal Medal” milking machine, which won the RASE Silver Medal in 1905, which is now fitted with an improved pulsator requiring no oil. Portable and stationary threshers and oil engines are compassed in the exhibit of the Bon Accord Engineering Company, Aberdeen, and in that of Messrs W. & S. Pollock, Glasgow, oil engines are the chief feature. The noted firm of Messrs P. & R. Fleming, Glasgow, have their customary extensive display of farm implements, as also have Messrs Garvie & Sons, Aberdeen, who make feature of their threshing outfits. Messrs John Millar & Son, Annan, display their well-known “Samson” windmill, also engine, pumps, and churns. Articles of the same nature are on view at the stand of Messrs John McBain & Son, Chirnside. Messrs R. Tough & Sons, Aberdeen, have a varied collection of implements, while oil engines in great variety are shown on the stand of Messrs Vickers-Petters (Limited) and Petters (Limited), Glasgow.

The photos show forms of motive power from 1917 and 1918 at the Fife Vintage Rally, June 2017.