A network of combine harvesters: Claas in Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s

13923531_506436952882943_8185584833996642234_oClaas combines were already being sold in Britain in 1952 through J. Mann & Son Ltd, Saxham, Bury St Edmunds.

By 1958 these combines were being distributed by a number of agricultural implement and machine makers scattered throughout Scotland.  The Scottish distributor was R. G. Garvie & Sons, Aberdeen, the well-known and leading threshing mill maker. In addition, there were county agents in six 13913546_506437519549553_4637394954754671209_ocentral localities to ensure a geographical reach of the eastern arable area.  These were: 

A. M. Russell Ltd, Sinton Works, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh
T. Cochran & Co. Ltd, Sword Street, Glasgow
Peter Small & Son Ltd, Kirriemuir Road, Forfar
Mark Goodson Ltd, High Street, Jedburgh
Wilkes Bros, Murthly, Perthshire
William Reid (Forres) Ltd, Forres.

13909177_506437446216227_2647090502449283187_oBy 1961 that network looked very different.  It was rapidly expanded, providing greater local support for owners and for prospective customers; it also facilitated the spread of Claas machines throughout the country.  There were 14 local agents, some of which had a number of branches. These were:

13995563_506437569549548_3139723863071308793_oAnderson & Munro Ltd, High Street, Elgin
Thomas Cochran & Co. Ltd, Sword Street, Glasgow
Cumming & Dempster, Banchory
Robert Dykes, Burnside Works, Thornhill
Mark Goodson Ltd, High Street, Jedburgh
James Gordon (Engineers) Ltd, New Market Street, Castle Douglas
Grassick’s Tractors Ltd, Crieff Road, Perth (also Grassick’s Garage Ltd, Blairgowrie)
13923633_506437636216208_3631737379584974923_oWilliam Munro (Invergordon) Ltd, Royal Garage, Invergordon
A. M. Russell Ltd, Sinton Works, Gorgie Road, Edinburgh (also at Goatfield, Haddington)
Geo. Sellar & Son Ltd, 30 Great Northern Road, Aberdeen (also at Granary Street, Huntly, Victoria Road, Maud, and Station Road, Laurencekirk)
Peter Small Ltd, Kirriemuir Road, Forfar (also at Commerce Street, Brechin)
13909042_506438106216161_6298129912637131747_oJ. B. W. Smith Ltd, Bonnygate, Cupar
Wilks Bros, Murthly, Perthshire (also at Stanley).

By 1965 Class had opened a Scottish depot at 477 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh.  By 1968 it had 17 local agents throughout the country who extended as far north as Kirkwall, and as far south as Castle Douglas.  They included some new names as well as established ones. New names included Jas Mackintosh (Friockheim) 13920371_506438159549489_3256249192097590855_oLtd, Friockheim, J. & G. Sutherland Ltd, Halkirk, Caithness and J. & W. Tait Ltd, Kirkwall.

Next time you see a Claas combine around the rally fields, consider the very effective local network that was established in the 1950s and 1960s to introduce and spread the use of these combines throughout Scotland.

The photographs of the early Claas combines were taken at the Fife Vintage Machinery Rally, June 2015, and B. A. Vintage Stores, May 2016.

© 2016 Heather Holmes