A new premises at Greenbank, Blairgowrie, for J. Bisset & Sons in 1877

There are a small number of accounts of new premises of implement makers in the newspaper press. One of these relates to the erection of the works of J. Bisset & Sons, Blairgowrie, well-known for their reaping machines and potato diggers. The company had rapidly expanded in the 1860s and 1870s. It needed new premises to undertake its increased manufactures and extend its business. 

The Huntly Express provides a detailed account of the erection of Bisset’s new premises in May 1877. This also explains the advantages of the works over its existing premises. It is worth quoting at length: 

“New agricultural implement works at Blairgowrie
Messrs J. Bisset & Sons, the well-known manufacturers of reaping machines at Marlee, near Blairgowrie, have this spring been erecting extensive works at Greenbank, close on the west of the town. These new works, which have been started this week, form a conspicuous feature of the towns as approached from the Perth and Dunkeld Roads. The building is a handsome and substantial structure, 100 feet long by 75 feet wide, and has three roofs, each of 25 feet span, and supported on pillars. It is lighted entirely from the roof. 

Although at Marlee, where they have been established for over 40 years, the Messrs Bisset had premises where during summer they turned out four finished self-delivery reapers a-day, they were obliged to decline many orders for want of the means of executing them. The new premises will not only meet this want, but also save an immense amount of cartage to and from the station, and their proximity to the town will also be advantageous to the workmen, who will more easily find house accommodation here than at Marlee.

A visit to this spacious workshop will show that the firm, who confine their manufacture to reaping and mowing machines and potato-diggers, have brought to bear o their business improved machinery and mechanical skill such as have hitherto been employed only in the construction of the higher and more complicated classes of machinery. Eight forges on the south side of the works are supplied with wind from a fan-blast. Among the more noticeable machines to be seen in the works are a more powerful self-acting steam hammer, a punching and shearing machine which goes through a ¾ inch plate of iron as easily as if it were cutting putty, several heavy self-acting turning-lathes, a machine for planning iron drill machines, a tool-grinding machine of the most improved construction, besides circular saw benches, &c. Both inside and outside are to be immense quantities of the raw or partially-manufactured material, in the form of timber, metal castings, and iron and steel forgings. 

Such extensive and well-appointed works-which are certainly the finest agricultural works in Scotland-must be of great advantage to agriculturists throughout the country, and to this town, and will, we trust, be a source of profit and pleasure to this enterprising firm, whom we wish every success in this fresh start in a business which has already made the name of Blairgowrie familiar to agriculturists throughout the country.”

Did you ever visit Bisset’s new works at Greenbank?