An episode in the history of an old established Ayrshire business: Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole

On 24 June 1922 The Scotsman published the following advert in its columns:

“Agricultural implements. For sale, as a going concern; that old established business of Thomas Hunter & Sons (Maybole), Limited, in liquidation, agricultural implement makers, Maybole; the buildings are modern, and were specially erected for the trade, but are suitable for other purposes. Offers for the whole concern, or for (1) the land, buildings, and machinery, and (2) the stock, will be entertained; good opportunity for acquiring at moderate price a made business with valuable connection extending over 60 years.

For further particulars apply to Reid & Campbell, accountants, 49 West George Street, Glasgow; or to Templeton & Granger, 157 West George Street, Glasgow.”

The name of Thomas Hunter & Sons, later from 1914, Thomas Hunter & Sons (Maybole) Ltd, was associated with the Implement works, Alloway Road, Maybole, Ayrshire. It was first recorded in the agricultural press of 8 May 1961. For a short period around 1878 the business was known as Thomas and Andrew Hunter. By 1895 Thomas was joined by his sons. From the 1870s the business was an agricultural implement maker, and a smith and later a mechanical engineer.

The business was well known from the 1880s for its turnip drills, ploughs, harrows, mowers, reapers, and turnip thinners. From 1909 they were described as drills and cultivating tools. It was especially noted for the “Hunter Hoe”.

The business attended the Highland Show from 1864 and was a regular attender throughout all the different show districts. It also won a number of awards at the show. These included in 1870 a medium silver medal for Armstrong’s harrows. In 1873 it was awarded a silver medal for 2 patent turnip thinners and in 1875, a minor silver medal for its collection.

It entered the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s trials and competitions in later years. These included turnip thinners in 1883 and 1886, manure distributors in 1886b and 1894 and turnip lifters in 1895. It was one of only a small number of Scottish makers to gain success at the competitions of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In 1870 it was highly commended for Dickson’s patent double drill turnip cleaner. In 1872 it was also awarded a prize of L5 for Dickson’s patent harrows for harrowing turnip drills.

Thomas had a number of patents. These included ones for the invention of ‘improvements in implements for lifting potatoes’, and ‘improvements in apparatus for topping and tailing turnips and root crops’

In 1924 the proprietors of the business was another Maybole agricultural implement and machine maker: Alexr Jack & Sons Ltd. It was associated with this business in its adverts, until at least 1934.