By 1844 the company of P. & R. Fleming described itself as an iron merchant and ironmongers 29 Argyll Street and 18 Stockwell Street, Glasgow.
The company’s base remained firmly in Glasgow. By 1874 it had a branch establishment at 1 Downhill Place, Patrick. It opened its works in Kelvin Street, Patrick, by 1889. Premises were opened up in Edinburgh, in the Grassmarket, by 1896. It had stands at the Edinburgh and Cupar Corn Exchanges in 1928 – as had a number of the leading implement and machine makers in Scotland.
The company developed a specialist range of trades and manufactures. By the mid 1850s it described itself as smiths and weighing machine makers. The company continued to develop its expertise and trades. By 1889 it described itself as wire fence and gate manufacturers and as having an agricultural implement warehouse. It was to become renowned as a structural engineer. These were to form its major activities until the company passed a special resolution to voluntarily wind up its affairs which it passed on 11 August 1982.
In 1940 the company described itself as an agricultural implement manufacturer, anvil manufacturer, axl maker, belt and screw maker, colliery plant merchant and furnisher, corrugated iron merchant, constriuctional engineer, engineers’ furnisher, engineer and mill furnisher, felt manufacturer, fencing contractor, galvaniser, also iron house and roof constructor, grindstone maker, hoop merchant, horse-shoe nail manufacturer, house furnishing ironmonger, iron church builder, iron door maker, iron fence maker, iron founder and iron forger, iron house and roof instructor, iron merchant, retail iron founder, iron and steel bridge builder, lawn mower maker, nail maker, plough maker, roofing, scale-beam maker, screw maker, smith, spade and shovel maker, steel manufacturer and merchant, steel roof builder and structural engineer, wire merchant, and wire netting manufacturer. Quite a list of specialisms, trades and activities.
The company actively promoted its manufactures at the Highland Show from 1867, though it was a sporadic exhibitor until the early 1890s. Thereafter it was a regular exhibitor until 1954. It was awarded a minor silver medal for its collection at the 1875 show. It also entered machines to the Society’s trial of binders in 1893 and swathe turners in 1905. It was a regular advertiser in the agricultural press, especially the North British Agriculturist, from 1863.
The company was a major agricultural implement agent from at least 1867. In that year it acted as an agent for Richmond & Chandler, Manchester, and Samuelson & Co., Banbury. By 1896 its agencies included ones for R. Hornsby & Sons Ltd, Grantham, Walter A. Wood Mowing & Reaping Machine Co., London, Harrison, McGregor & Co. Ltd, Leigh, Blackstone & Co. Ltd, Stamford, T. Bradford & Co., Manchester, Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Ltd, Ipswich, Richmond & Chandler. These agencies ensured that the Scottish farmers had implements and machines from the leading English makers.
Look out for the Fleming name at rallies and other events – though most of their manufacturers were found as structural elements of the farm, in fencing and buildings.
The photographs of the P. & R. Fleming weighing machine were taken at the Scottish National Tractor Show, September 2015.