The business of Alexander Newlands & Sons is recorded in Linlithgow from 1880, having previously been set up in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.
From the 1880s onwards it specialised in the making of ploughs, grubbers and harrows. Later it ventured into horse rakes. In 1900 its manufactures included a two horse swing plough; medium drill plough with marker; baulking drill plough; combined drill and potato plough; one horse drill grubber; horse or drill hoe as a drill grubber; house or drill hoe as a ridging up plough; field grubber; diamond harrows; and drill scarifier.
During its life time, the business underwent a number of significant changes. These included its incorporation as a company limited by guarantee on 6 May 1920. This allowed Alexander to reorganise his business and prepare it for the future. The memorandum and article of association of the new company provide information on the transformation of the company and also the activities it could undertake:
“The objects for which the company is established are:
(1) Primarily and without prejudice to the other objects of the company to take over (and purchase) from Messrs Newlines & Sons, agricultural implement makers and engineers, the business of implement makers and engineers, carried by them at Linlithgow and Stirling, together with the goodwill of such business and the whole or any part of the heritable and moveable property, leases, and rights, patents, and others, held and enjoyed in connection with such business and to undertake all or any of the burdens and obligations of such business.
(2) To carry on in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, all or any of the following trades or businesses, viz, implement makers, mechanical and manufacturing engineers, electrical engineers, maritime, locomotive, and other engine builders, machine and engineering tool makers, boilermakers, shipbuilders, ship repairers, shipwrights, shipowners, ship equippers, ship chandlers, barge owners, warehousemen, iron masters, colliery proprietors, miners, farmers, metalurgists, smelters, steel converters, founders of iron and brass and of metals of all kinds, smiths, plumbers, electricians, suppliers of electricity for purposes of light, heat, motive power, or otherwise, manufacturers, repairers, dealers, importers, and merchants, of motor cars, motor cycles, motor engines, motor ploughs, tractors, and implements, or any part or parts thereof, waggon builders, and repairers, timber merchants, carpenters, joiners, coach builders, and repairers, contractors for public and private works, builders, commission agents, forwarding agents, carriers, merchants, and dealers in timber, rubber, iron, steel, metal, granite, and whinstone, brickmakers and manufacturers of products from iron, steel, granite, whinstone, and other metals and minerals, and to act as traders, merchants, and dealers in relation to all or any substances or products produced in such trades or businesses, or any of them.
(3) To manufacture products from timber, leather, rubber, metals, minerals, and clays, and to dispose thereof, and to manufacture into marketable commodities, and to sell, dispose of, or use all residual or by-products resulting from the manufactures or operations in which the company may be engaged. …”
The company had a share capital of £16,000, divided into 16,000 shares of £1 each. A total of 7,000 of the shares were preferential shares; the remaining 9,000 shares were ordinary shares. The first directors were all members of the Newlands family – Alexander, George and Peter.
The governing document of the company allowed it to undertake a wide range of activities, and to diversify where this was found to be necessary. It is very unlikely that the company would have used all its powers.
The company continued in business until 9 September 1986 when it was dissolved.