A Lanarkshire name: Charles Weir, Strathaven

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.

There 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.

Next time you are passing through Strathaven, think about the long tradition of agricultural implement and machine making that was carried on there. From the mid 1930s, it was carried on at the Town Park Works.

The photograph of the nameplate was taken at the Ayrshire vintage rally, July 2016.