Implements in the North in 1862

The Scottish agricultural and provincial press sometimes includes discussions of the state of agricultural implement making in specific districts of Scotland. These accounts are sometimes critical of what was being made – or not being made. They can provide details of the main makers and their manufactures.

One account that was published in the Scottish farmer in 1862 was reprinted in the Aberdeen press and journal, in September that year. It provides an account of implement making in the north-east, using the exhibition at the Royal Northern Show as a showcase to view the industry. It reads:

“The exhibition of agricultural implements at the late meeting of the Royal Northern Society at Aberdeen presents an opportunity for offering few remarks on the implements and machines used in the northern part of Scotland-of which Aberdeenshire may in most respects be held to be the representative county-as compared with those used in the South, and especially for calling attention to such of them as appear to possess any superiority in form or construction.

It stated that the exhibition of implements at Aberdeen on the 31st July, limited as it was, may be reckoned the largest that has appeared at any local northern show. The northern societies and clubs have confined their attention almost exclusively to the exhibition and improvement of cattle and horses, more especially the former; and the success that has attended their persevering efforts in that direction us now well-known and appreciated.

With respect to implements, they seem to have been content to obtain two or three of the principal articles used on the farm sufficiently well, and certainly substantially, made by the local wrights and blacksmiths; and those tradesmen deserve great credit for the excellent specimens which they turn out of the two main articles required by their customers-namely, the cart and the two-horse swing plough. No better samples of the one-horse Scotch part, or “box cart” as it is called, need be desired than those made by Messrs Mitchell & Son of Peterhead, and by Mr Simpson of the same place; and both of these firms had samples of their workmanship on the ground at Aberdeen. At the same time, it may in justice be allowed that not a few other local tradesmen supply their customers with articles scarcely, if at all, inferior to those made in Peterhead. These carts are provided with very light hay-tops or frames, as they are locally called, for use in harvest or at other times when required. In a district of country in which stones, great and small, have frequently to be carts, “stone carts” are not seldom in requisition; and these are provided by strongly-made shallow boxes which, where required, fit upon the same wheels, and to the same “shafts”, as the common or box carts.

The swing plough (always now made of iron) is in universal use. A good deal of uniformity prevails as to its construction, the chief differences being in the form of the mould-board. In the case of some makers, there seems to be tendency to approach, more or less closely, to the form of mould-board adopted by Howard and other English manufacturers. Messrs Sellar & Son, of Huntly, have obtained a wide reputation for ploughs, the result not only of their superior skill, but of their enterprise in forwarding their implements to the Highland Society’s shows, and to the International Exhibition in London. There are very far, however, from monopolising the making of ploughs in they own county; for ploughs of excellent construction and workmanship, and which in the various localities, in which they are made are deemed equal to any that can be obtained, were exhibited from Tarves, Monymusk, Keith, Aberdeen, and Broughty Ferry, and varying in prices from £3 15s to £4 15s. Most if not all the articles exhibited in the class seemed excellent specimens of the two-horse swing plough.

Another article which seems to be manufactured of very excellent and substantial quality in Aberdeenshire is the broadcast sowing-machine for grain or grass seeds. The machines for these purposes exhibited by Messrs Simpson & Son, of Peterhead, and by Messrs Mitchell & Son, of the same place, the one at £14 10s, and the other at £13 15s, seem to leave little to be desired; and we know that for many years they have been found to work remarkably well in practice.The drill sowing-machine has to found very much acceptance in Aberdeenshire. The three articles of this class exhibited did not appear to possess any superiority over the well-known East Lothian, or those made by Garret & Son, and several other English implement makers. We found no mention made in the Society’s catalogue of drill-grubbers, or drill horse-hoes-certainly a remarkable omission in a part of the country so distinguished for the cultivation of turnips. Nevertheless, there were some five or six implements on the ground, which appeared to be intended to effect the important operation of drill hoeing by horse power. A suitable and efficient implement for this purpose is, or ought to be, one of the most important articles on the farm; and it is matter of surprise that so little attention seems to have been given to it-that nothing like an established or fixed form go drill-grubber or horse-hoe seems to be recognised in any part of the country. To this Aberdeenshire is certainly no exception; for some of the articles exhibited were very far indeed from being well-fitted to perform the operation in question; and in passing through the county at this season of the year, all sorts and forms of implements-some of them very primitive indeed-may be seen at work as drip-grubbers in the turnip fields.

A drill grubber should have its tines and cutters so formed as to keep sufficient hold of the ground in clay or heavy soil, and should at the same time be so provided with wheels as prevent it from sinking too deeply in light land. Its guiding or front wheel should be so fixed as to keep steadily forward in a straight line. (A wheel fixed in the manner adopted in Wilkie’s drill-grubber, figured on page 64, vol Ii, of Stephen’s “Book of the Farm”, 2nd ed, seems to be the best). Its tines and cutters should be of such form and placed at such an angle with the horizontal bars as not to carry weeds, but bring them to the surface, shake, and throw them off. Its cutters should have their edges of such form and position as not to slip harmlessly past thistles and other tenaciously rooted weeds; and it should be of such strength, and have tines (two of the cutters to be replaced by tines as occasion requires) of such form, as to stir up and loosen the soil between the drills in the same way, though not of course to the same depth, as is done by Tennant’s grubber on the flat surface. It should, in fine, combine the operations of the hoe, grubber, and harrow, so far as these can be combined in one implement. All these requisite points or qualifications we found combined in a higher degree than we have been elsewhere in an implement exhibited at Aberdeen by Mr George Mackie, Dudwick, Aberdeenshire; and we believe we are doing the farmers of that turnip-growing county, as well as those in other districts, a service in calling their attention to it. We have excellent authority, moreover, for saying, that its operation in practice has been found highly efficient.

The farmers of the north only just seen beginning to find out the value of the horse rake for hay and stubble. Some of the well-known English-made horse-rakes were exhibited by Messrs B. Reid & Co., Aberdeen; and the local implement makers of Peterhead and Keith are prepared, it seems, to supply similar articles. Neither are the very excellent hand-rakes, mounted on two light wheels, and having spring steel teeth (each tooth acting independently), as made by Smith & Ashby, of Stamford, and others, sufficiently known in the north. Some good articles of the kind were, however, exhibited; one, very light, and, so far as we could judge, likely to be found efficient, by Mr J. Anderson, of Monifieth, Broughty Ferry. The well-known turnip cutters of Samuelson, of Banbury; the excellent grain-bruisers of Turner of Ipswich; the straw-cutters of Samuelson, and of Richmond & Chandler, and a considerable number of other English-made implements and machines, all known to be the best of their kinds, were exhibited by Messrs B. Reid & Co., of Aberdeen. These gentlemen have, it seems, formed a sort of depot of English and Scotch made agricultural implements and machines-an undertaking which, it may be hoped, will turn to their advantage; for it is eminently calculated to be of service to the farmers of the district.

The Scotch thrashing mill was very early adopted, and has long been in almost universal use in Aberdeenshire. In very many cases the physical transformation of the county is such as to provide the farmers with wind-power for driving the threshing mill. Where that is not available, horse power is still in general use for thrashing. It is rather remarkable that men of som much energy and intelligence as the Aberdeenshire farmers should not have more readily seen the propriety of substituting the steam-engine for horse power. Cannot some of those firms in Aberdeen or Peterhead which turn out such excellent carts and ploughs, and afford also metal gearing for horse powers and threshing-mills, supply the agriculturists of the district with compact and well-made steam engines at moderate cost?

We could have wished to see a neat fixed horizontal steam-engine of four or six-horse power (such as is, or had won’t to be, shown at the English Society’s meetings by Clayton & Shuttleworth, and Hornsby & Son) at work-provided steam could have been supplied from a portable boiler or otherwise-on the Links at Aberdeen. Such an addition to the Royal Northern Society’s Show would have tended to draw the attention of the farmers of the district to what is perhaps the only department in which they are behind.”


An eminent implement and machine maker in Banff: G. W. Murray

If you were in north-east Scotland before the mid 1890s you would have been familiar with the name of G. W. Murray & Co. Banff Foundry, Banff.The company was already in business by 1868. It undertook a range of trades as an agricultural implement maker, iron founder, engineer, mechanical engineer, iron merchant, pump manufacturer and smith.

In 1868 the company sold a wide range of manufactures. These included corn drills, turnip sowing machines, two horse ploughs, drill ploughs, horse rakes, turnip hoeing machines, rick stands, iron troughs, zig zag harrows, grubbers, chain harrows, Norwegian harrows, land rollers, turnip cutters, corn bruisers and potato diggers.The company was an innovative one: in 1895 one trades directory described the company as “

G. W. Murray & Co., patentees of potato planters and manufacturers of crown threshers for hand and foot power and also for pony power, Banff.” A patent from 1870 was for “improvements in means of apparatus employed in ploughing or tilling land”. Another from 1871 was for “improvements in apparatus for ploughing or tilling land”. It also entered its implements and machines for the highly prestigious trials of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. They includes the trials of potato planters in 1883, ploughs (1883), grubbers (1883), implements for autumn cultivation of stubble (1885), and implements for spring cultivation (1885).The company undertook significant publicity work, allowing it to reach a Scotland wide as well as an international market for its manufacturers. It exhibited at the Highland Show from 1868 until 1896. It exhibited in all the Society’s eight show districts, giving it a reach throughout al of Scotland. It advertised in the North British Agriculturist from 1868 until 1897.

The company was highly regarded for its manufactures, winning a number of national and international awards. From the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland it received a commendation for fencing in 1868, a silver medal for a collection of ploughs in 1870, a medium silver medal for a collection in 1872. a silver medal for a chain pump in 1873, a medium silver medal for a turnip sower in 1875, a medium silver medal for a turnip sower in 1876, a silver medal for a thrashing machine in 1876, a minor silver medal for collection in 1876, and a first and second prize for a turnip lifter in 1881.

The company was one for the few Scottish companies to have received an award from the Royal Agricultural Society of England – for a double furrow plough in 1870. In 1872 it was awarded a first prize of 10L for a double furrow plough not exceeding 3.5cwt a highly commended for a double mouldboard or ridging plough not exceeding 2.5cwt. In 1874 it was awarded second prize of 5L for drill,. without manure box, for turnips and other roots on the ridge. In 1880 it received a silver medal for a two row potato planter.

One of the key figures in the company was George A, Duncan. In 1893 the North British Agriculturist provided a short account of him:

“Mr George A. Duncan is proprietor and manager of the well-known engineer and iron foundry business which has long been carried on in Banff under the style of G. W. Murray & Co. Mr Duncan, who is only in his thirty-third year, spent a good few of his earlier years in Australia. On his return to this country in 1886, the late Mr G. W. Murray, who formerly owned the business, appointed Mr Duncan manager of the Banff Foundry, as well as of the iron merchant’s business, which he also carried on under the name of Murray & Blake. Mr Duncan held these joint offices till June 1887, when Mr Murray died, but he had given so much satisfaction with the management of the business that he was immediately appointed to the same offices by Mr Murray’s trustees. In April 1888, Mr Duncan purchased the premises, plant, and goodwill of the Banff Foundry, and ever since he has on his own account carried on the works, as well as an iron merchant’s business, with marked success. The firm manufacture all kinds of agricultural implements-harrows, turnip sowers, turnip sowers, broadcast sowing machines, grubbers, ploughs, &c all of which have a large sale. In the end of last year the works were completely destroyed by fire, and operations have consequently been carried on at a great disadvantage since, but everything is now in a fair way to being completed, and full work resumed.

The company continued in business until 1897. An auction sale was held on 18 August of “engineers’, iron founders’, and agricultural implement makers’ plant” “owing to the proprietor giving up business.When G. W. Murray gave up his business, the Banff Foundry was taken over by Watson Brothers. Their business referred to itself as “Watson Brothers (successors to G. W. Murray & Co), Banff Foundry”. Like George W. Murray, Watson Brothers also continued to make a range of agricultural implements and machines including reapers, turnip drills, field rollers and harrows. William Watson, one of the brothers, died in 1924, after which the Foundry changed ownership to become Banff Foundry & Engineering Co. Ltd. It continued in business until 1951 when a new company was proposed Banff Foundry & Engineering Co. (1951), Ltd which continued until 1954.

A letterhead from 1951 sheds some light on the earlier history of the company. It states “Banff Foundry & Engineering Co., Ltd, agricultural implement makers and engineers, incorporating G. W. Murray & Watson Bros. est. 1820.”There are still a few implements and machines from the Banff Foundry that can be seen around the vintage rallies today. When you look at them, you are reminded of a long-established and well-renowned Scottish business with an international reputation.

The photographs were taken at the Daviot Vintage Rally, October 2018.


Farm Mechanisation Co. Ltd – a dealer associated with Ferguson and Massey Ferguson

One of the well-known names of agricultural implement makers and agents in Fife was Farm Mechanisation Co. Ltd, of Ladybank, established by Gavin Reekie in 1947.
From its earliest days its name was closely associated with Massey Ferguson. Indeed, the company was set up to market the Ferguson TE20 tractor with its revolutionary three-point linkage.

In 1958 its strapline was “The Massey Harris and Ferguson people”. You will see the Farm Mechanisation badge on many Fergies and MF tractors round the rally fields!

By 1953 the company was associated with Reekie Engineering Co. Ltd, Arbroath, and Stirling Tractors, St Ninians, Stirling. In 1965 an advert in The Scottish Farmer recorded it as a member of the G. Reekie group of companies.

It extended its activities in Fife. By 1955 it had a premises at Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, and in 1959 a further one at South Road, Cupar.

It was not until 1951 that the company started to exhibit at the Highland Show, doing so until 1964. It entered a number of its implements for the prestigious new implement award. In 1951 it entered its “Farmec” 3 row fertiliser unit (invented by G. R. Reekie); in 1953 the Farmec universal elevator as well as its improved 3 row fertiliser unit for mounted riders; in 1962 a pressure kiln dryer and the Farmec power drive 3 row fertiliser unit. The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland awarded a silver medal in 1953 for its fertiliser unit for mounted riders.

The company was a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press, both the Farming News and The Scottish Farmer from 1948 onwards.


Some implement makers in the north-east of Scotland

The north-east of Scotland had some prominent implement and machine makers that were known well-beyond the boundaries of that district; some were known world wide as well as their manufacturers.

We can meet the makers and their manufacturers through a range of evidence, including show reports, business records. Obituaries also provide a range of evidence, and give us a good opportunity to meet the men and women behind their companies, their achievements as well as their role within their wider communities.We have looked through a number of newspapers to find obituaries of a number of prominent implement and machine makers from the north-east of Scotland before the end of the First World War. Many of them would have been known to one another.

The late Mr J. W. Barclay, CA (died November 1902)

The Aberdeen press and journal notes: “A cablegram, received by his father on Saturday, announces the death, on 10th November, of Mr James W. Barclay, CA, only surviving son of Mr Morison Barclay, of the well-known firm of Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Tough, agricultural implement makers, seed merchants, etc, Carmelite Buildings, Aberdeen, a nephew and namesake of Mr J. W. Barclay of Glenbuchat, formerly MP for Forfarshire. Mr Barclay died at sea on his way home from Buenos Ayres, and the cablegram was despatched from the first telegraph station passed in the Pacific. He was on the way home to see if the change would restore him to health, which had broken down under a recent strain of work in Buenos Ayres. He had been there for about four years, and had kept his health wonderfully well, although formerly he had been far from robust, it was after his health had broken down in London that he was induced by medical advice to go to Buenos Ayres.

Mr Barclay, who was about 33 years of age, served his apprenticeship as an accountant with Messrs James Meston and Co., CA, Aberdeen, and after he had himself qualified as a chartered accountant, set up business in London, where he met with remarkable success. The strain proved too great for him, however, and, as stated, he was induced to go to South America, where he held a good appointment in connection with one of the railways. Deceased was a genial, clever, and capable business man, who made many friends by his hearty manner. While in Aberdeen he took a great interest in athletic sports. He was not married.

Much sympathy will be felt for his relatives in their unexpected bereavement. It may be mentioned that Mr Barclay’s other son, who was an engineer on board a steamer, died at sea about four years ago when crossing the line.

Death of Mr George Bruce, Tochineal (died October 1909).

The Banffshire advertiser notes: “Widespread regret was caused when it became known that Mr George Bruce, Tochineal, had died on Tuesday, following a seizure. Mr Bruce had been in failing health for a considerable time, but the will be much missed along local agriculturists. Mr Bruce, who was a son of Mr Alexander Bruce, merchant, Keig, afterwards farmer at Wealthiton, was able to attend to his duties until Monday, when he had a sudden seizure from which he never recovered.After he had assisted his father for some time, Mr Bruce started business in Aberdeen as a seed merchant and implement maker, under the name of Messrs George Bruce and Company. Through his energy and capacity the business quickly developed, until it became one of the most extensive of its kind in the north of Scotland. For several years Mr Bruce acted with much acceptance as secretary to the Royal Northern Agricultural Society. Under his care and judicious management, the society greatly prospered. Having disposed of the business with which he was connected in Aberdeen, Mr Bruce became tenant of the desirable farm of Tochineal. For many years he took a leading part in connection with agricultural affairs in the north. He was a well-known breeder and judge or Aberdeen-Angus cattle, and also a most successful breeder and exhibitor of pure-bred sheep. Representatives of Tochineal stock have for long taken leading places in local and national showyards. Mr Bruce was a member of the committee of management of the Scottish National Fat Stock Club, and he also took a keen interest in the welfare of the Aberdeen Fat Stock Club.Of a kindly disposition, Mr Bruce was greatly esteemed in the district.

He is survived by a widow-a daughter of the late Mr Wilson, Noth, Rynie-and a young family. Mr Bruce’s brothers are Dr William Bruce, Dingwall; Dr John Mitchell Bruce, medical specialist in London; Mr Robert Bruce, agricultural superintendant of the Royal Dublin Society, and Mr Charles Bruce of Auchenzeoch, Fordoun. The funeral, which will be a public one, takes place from Tochineal on Saturday to Allenvale Cemetery, Aberdeen.”

Death of Mr William Anderson (died June 1911).

The Aberdeen press and journal notes: “Mr William Anderson, of the firm of Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Tough, seedsman, implement makers, etc, Balmoral Buildings, Green, died at his residence, 24 Leadside Road, Aberdeen, yesterday. Mr Anderson, although 83 years of age, and in somewhat failing health for the last years or so, continued to take a keen interest in the business of the firm with which he had been associated since its commencement in 1871. Prior to that he had been with Mr Morrison Barclay, and also with the late Mr J. W. Barclay when the latter gentleman had an agricultural business in the city before his election as MP for Forfarshire.Mr Anderson’s great hobby was Arctic exploration, and so keen was he on this that he took part in three expeditions to Greenland aboard whaling and sealing vessels. At one time he was there when the vessels Lady Franklin and Eric went to look for Franklin, the intrepid searcher for the North-West passage. Mr Anderson was a well-educated man. He received his early education in the Strichen School, having been a native of Lonmay. Early in life he acquired a knowledge of drawing, and this proved of considerable advantage to him in later years with agriculture, however that his chief interests were concerned. He was very keen in business, and proved himself an intelligent and active servant to the firm.

Mr Anderson is survived by a family of two sons and three daughters. All are in Aberdeen, with the exception of one daughter, who is in Glasgow.”

Death of Mr James Reid, engineer, Peterhead (died April 1914)

Buchan observer and East Aberdeenshire advertiser notes: “Many kindly memories will be stirred by the announcement of the death of Mr James Reid, retired engineer, Peterhead, which took place on Friday last at the residence of his sister, 10 Castle Street. Mr Reid, who was 77 years of age, retired from active work about six years ago, and enjoyed excellent health for a few years, but latterly he suffered from a cancerous trouble in his throat, which ultimately caused his death. Mr Reid was a son of the late Mr Peter Reid, builder, Peterhead, and served his apprenticeship as an engineer with Messrs Robert Mitchell & Son, of the Peterhead Foundry, and he remained with the firm until it gave up business over thirty years ago. Since that time up to his retirement he worked continuously with the firm of Messrs James Simpson & Son, agricultural engineers and implement makers, Peterhead, by whom he was held in the highest esteem and respect, both for his capabilities as a craftsman and for his personal character. He was a skilled tradesman, careful and thorough, and his workmanship could always be depended on for soundness and durability. Many men now occupying responsible and important positions as engineers in some of the leading steamship lines, notably the Orient and Pacific, and in other engineering capabilities, readily express their great indebtedness for their success in their craft to the thorough training given and the kindly interest shown in them by Mr Reid in the engineering shop at Peterhead, and the kindliest of thoughts of the old man will mingle in their hearts with the sincerest of regrets at his decease.For many years Mr Reid was a leading spirit in the musical affairs of the town. Well versed in music, and possessed of a splendid voice of very extensive range, he and his brothers, John, Peter, and David, each of whom was musically gifted, formed a quartet of singers such as is seldom met with in one family. He and his two elder brothers with a few others were the originators of the Peterhead Choral Society, and he maintained his connection and interest in that body for a lengthened time, and he was a not infrequent soloist at the concerts. In the ‘seventies he was leader of psalmody in the Free Church, St Peter Street, and his choir of those days is still spoken of with admiration by elderly people. He was also for some time psalmody leader in the Parish Church. In disposition Mr Reid was quiet and retiring, but with friends he was genial and affable, and he had a vein of humour which his associated enjoyed.

His death will be regretted by all who knew him. He was predeceased by his wife a number of years ago, and is survived by a grown-up family of four sons and four daughters. The funeral took place to the Old Churchyard yesterday in presence of a large and representative attendance.”

Robert Tough (died April 1918)

Aberdeen press and journal writes: “The death took place last night at his residence, 14 Whinhill Road, Aberdeen, of Mr Robert Tough. Mr Tough was well known in agricultural circles throughout the north of Scotland, his firm of Messrs R. Tough and Sons, seed and implement makers, Imperial Place, Aberdeen, having a large connection throughout Aberdeen and the north-east.”On 1 May 1918 the Aberdeen press and journal provided a more extensive obituary: “As briefly reported yesterday, the death of Mr Robert Tough, of the firm of Messrs R. Tough and Sons, seedsmen and implement makers, Imperial Place, Aberdeen, occurred on Monday night at his residence, 14 Whinhill Road, Aberdeen. He was a native of Foveran, and before joining the well-known firm of Messrs Barclay, Ross, and Tough, Aberdeen, he represented Messrs Ben Reid & Co., and Messrs John Milne and Co., Dyce. About three years ago he started business on his own account. Mr Tough, who was of ine physique, had an attractive personality. In agricultural circles in the northern-eastern counties and in a much wider area he was exceedingly well known. He was an expert salesman, and was always ready to give the very best advice to his customers.

For many years Mr Tough represented Messrs Barclay, Ross and Tough at the national shows of England, Ireland, and Scotland, and he did much to extend that firm’s business ramifications among farmers in the United Kingdom for threshing plants and certain kinds of farm machinery. He was predeceased by Mrs Tough about two years ago.”

R. H. N. Sellar, Huntly (died July 1918)

The Aberdeen press and journal writes: “Vice-Convener of CountyActive business and public lifeWe deeply regret to announced the death of Mr R. H. N. Sellar, Vice-Convener of Aberdeenshire, and senior member of the well-known form of Messrs G. Sellar and Son, agricultural implement makers, Huntly and Alloa. The sad event took place at his residence, Battleby, Huntly, at a quarter to ten o’clock last night. Mr Sellar had not been in robust health for some time, his illness taking a serious turn about three months ago, but after an operation in a nursing home in Glasgow he was able to be removed to Bridge of Allan. After a short residence there he returned north about five weeks ago. He was 58 years of age. Mr Sellar had lived a very active business and public life, and the sincerest sympathy of a very wide circle of friends will go out to his widow and family in their great sorrow.Mr Robert Hunter Nicol Sellar was the eldest son of the late Mr George Sellar, and was born in Huntly in 1857, the other members of his father’s family still alive being-Miss Sellar, Polwood, Huntly; Mr James Sellar, solicitor, Penang; and Mr John Sellar, who is in business in South Africa. He was educated at the Huntly Parish School, under the late Rev John Macdonald, best known and still remembered as Dominie Macdonald, and afterwards at Aberdeen University. Returning to Huntly to join his father in business, he received a thorough training in all its departments. On the death of his father in 1884 he became head of the firm, and by his personal energy and enterprise extended its ramifications and added to his high reputation in the agricultural world. Implements, designed, patented, and manufactured by the firm, have long enjoyed a high reputation. Indeed, not only in the north, but in the home and colonial markets, and in many countries abroad, “Sellar, Huntly”, is a name that stands everywhere for merit.

Mr Sellar was also himself personally well known, having travelled extensively to further the interests of his business. About five years ago a considerable part of the Huntly establishment was transferred to Alloa, where a large business was successfully established. The war has brought with it many improvements in agricultural machinery, and the Sellar centres have been prominent in war-time features of the industry.Besides attending closely to the demands of his business, Mr Sellar found time to play an active and acceptable part in public life, which, in certain spheres, was by no means confined to the district of Huntly and the county, but was of a national character. In his native town he served on the School Board for nearly 30 years, and sat for five years at the Town Council, being elected a Councillor and Baillie in 1898, and retiring in 1903 owing to the pressure of business. His deepest interest undoubtedly lay in the domain of education. Soon after his father’s death, he was elected a member of Huntly School Board, and on the retirement of the late Mr John Wilson, factor, in 1902, he was appointed chairman, a position he occupied to the last. The extension and development of the local schools were greatly due to his personal efforts and initiative; and the handsome Gordon schools, in their present splendidly equipped state, might almost be said to be a memorial to his educational service to the Huntly district.In 1898 Mr Sellar entered the Aberdeen County Council as representative of the burgh of Huntly in succession to Colonel W. A. Mellie, but latterly he represented the electoral division of Cairnie, Glass, and Huntly. In 1902 he was appointed Chairman of the Huntly District Committee in succession to Mr John Wilson, and continued in that post until his death.

The interest he showed in, and the grip he was able to take of the business which came before the Council gave him an assured position amongst the members, and in July, 1909, following upon the death of Provost Hutcheon, Turriff, he was elected Vice-Convener of the County. The duties of that office, as, indeed, those of every post he was placed in throughout his public career, were discharged with zeal and acceptance, while making himself conversant with all phases of local government, he showed himself invariably to be a man of prescience and broad outlook. Mr Sellar, who was also convener of the Lands Valuation and Finance Committees of the County Council, was elected Chairman of the County Committee on Secondary Education, and also Chairman of the Aberdeen Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers-selections which testify to the confidence of those with whom he was associated. Not without cause was it humorously suggested that the Secondary Education Committee and Mr Sellar were practically synonymous terms, and his energy, tact, and business capacity in dealing with the difficult and complex questions which came before those bodies were readily acknowledged. He held those offices throughout important periods of educational development, and in each revealed an enthusiasm and foresight worthy of the best educational traditions of the north-eastern area of Scotland. His six years’ tenure of office was marked by the erection of the magnificent new Training Centre at Aberdeen. He was a member of Sir Henry Craik’s Committee which reported upon the salaries of Scottish teachers several months ago.

The North of Scotland College of Agriculture was another institution in which Mr Sellar rendered useful service. He was one of the original governors, had been vice-chairman for some years, and was chairman of the Central Studies and Staff Committee, whose work has much to do with the success of the College throughout the north. He manifested a deep interest in the promotion of the educational side of the various branches of forestry, and in 1911 he was appointed to a Forestry Committee of Inquiry for Scotland. This Committee recommended the purchase of Ballogie as a forest area for the north of Scotland. That the scheme was not gone on with is matter for regret, as the purchase price of the ground would have been more than met by the timber which it has yielded during the past four years.Amongst Mr Sellar’s most recent appointments was that of chairman of the County of Aberdeen Local Food Control Committee. He was a Justice of Peace for the County and a Hon. Sheriff Substitute.A specially warm corner in his heart was reserved by Mr Sellar for Huntly and its institutions, and his untiring educational services for it have already been alluded to. He was Chairman of the jubilee Cottage Hospital Managers, and Chairman of the District Nursing Association.

He took a deep interest in the welfare of Huntly United Free Church, and for over thirty years had been its treasurer. In politics he was a Moderate Liberal, and held the office of President of the Huntly Liberal Association. Mr Sellar leaves a widow and a family of three sons and one daughter, one son-Lieut J. M. Sellar, of the K.O.S.B.-having been killed din the war. Mrs Sellar is a daughter of the late Mr Thomson, of Messrs Glegg and Thomson, Aberdeen. The eldest son, Mr Robert Thomson Sellar, after being in Canada for some years gaining business insight, returned home a few months ago, and has been associated with the management of the firm.”


Displenishing sales in Perthshire in late 1950s

Displenishing sales provide an insight into the implements and machines that were being used on a farm when the tenant was leaving a particular farm. They can show the type of agriculture practiced as well as the range of implements and machines used. They can also show whether the Farm was using new and innovative ones or were relying on older ones.

By the late 1950s farm mechanisation had made significant in-roads into Scottish farms. There was an emphasis on tractor power and using a wide-range of implements and machines for crop and animal husbandry. Some farms invested in tractors with their associated name-sake implements and machines, such as the Ferguson system. Others were starting to make greater use of the new grain harvesting technologies of the combine harvester with its accompanying changes in grain handling and storage.

In the Strathearn district of Perrthshire in the late 1950s a number of farms were having their displenishing sales. These show what the individual farms were using on their farms by way of implements and machines as well as the rate of mechanisation that was on the farms. While this varied from farm to farm, the farms showed that some very up to date technologies was being used, including new tractors and combine harvesters. They were also working with implements and machines made by leading Scottish, English and international makers such as Ferguson, Ford-Ferguson, Fordson, International, Farmall, Massey-Dickie, Massey Harris, Sellars, Taylor, Ransome, and Wallace, amongst other names.

So what implements and machines were being used on farms?

Adverts in the local newspaper, the Strathern Herald, provide full accounts of what implements and machines were being used on a number of farms in the district). These include:

Gannochan, Braco (advert from Strathearn herald, 26 April 1958)

Implements – Ferguson diesel tractor (September, 1954), Ferguson T.V.O. tractor (May, 1951), tipping trailer with flakes and high sides, tractor trailer, tractor box cart, horse box cart, corn cart body, Taylor rick lifter (for Ferguson), hay sweel (power lift for Ferguson), Ogle horse fork and Fleming grab, Ferguson mower, hay rake, two horse hay sweeps, swathe turner (Massey-Dickie), hay knife, saddle harrows, heavy tractor harrows, Ferguson harrows (power lift), chain harrows, Ferguson spring-tooth grubber, Ferguson ridger, tractor rollers, Sellar’s single and double furrow plough, 110A horse plough, horse ridge plough, 110A tractor plough, sheep netting stobs, sheep netting, barbed wire, sheep haik (Ritchie), troughs, corn bins, 5ft cut Bisset binder and canvasses (as new), two Massey Harris binders, corn seeder, Tamkin potato digger, corn lifting fingers for binder, Tullis manure barrow (horse and tractor shaft), chemical sprayer (power driven) for Ferguson, Ferguson pulley, Ferguson stabiliser, ladders, paraffin containers on stands, grass seed barrow, oil drums, weights, Ceresan mixer, metal and wood stack bosses, stack props, two visi-chick brooders, large hen hut, four Millar ark hen huts with slatted floors, turnip seeder, scarifier for turnips, two hand barrows; sack barrow, two stack covers (18ftx18ft, 15ftx15ft), rig marker, cattle troughs, two large pig self-feeders, pig creep feeder, fire extinguisher, 400-500 1cwt and 1 ½ cwt corn and potato bags, sparky rope and all the usual barn, byre and stable utensils etc.

Greenwells, Auchterarder (advert, 9 August 1958)

Implements- Massey-Harris combine harvester (6ft cut, as new, having cut only 60 acres), Holland pick up baler (as new), Ferguson tractor, Ford-Ferguson tractor, Fordson major tractor, Wallace binder, Massey-Harris binder, Wallace mower, Wallace potato digger, tractor trailer, tractor roller, horse roller, three furrow Ransome plough, deep digging dual purpose plough tractor sweep, hay rake (suitable for horse or tractor), Ferguson turnip sower, Hoosier, henhouse, hut, chicken brooder, two meat coolers (one as new, R. T.), corn and feed bins, 6hp Petter diesel engine, and all the usual barn, byre and stable utensils.

Loanhead, Auchterarder (advert 25 October 1958)

Implements- Ferguson diesel tractor (1955), Ferguson S. F. plough, Ferguson D. F. plough, Ferguson toolbar, D. B. ridger, tractor bogey, Ferguson pulley, Bamlett hay mower (new), potato digger, M. H. binder, turnip sower, 3 barrel roller, 2 sets spring tooth harrows, 2 manure barrows, set 4 leaf harrows, hay rake, hay sweep, hay turner, F. U. plough, R. T. coup cart, corn driller, car trailer, saw bench, set fanners, cake breaker, hay chopper, steelyard and weights, 2 hen houses, brooder, potato baskets, 2 iron pig troughs, extending ladder, potato hopper, Ferguson top link and stabilisers, stack cover, paraffin infra red heater, 3 corn bins, fire extinguisher, sack barrow, R. T. wheel barrow, guddle and mell, shovels, picks, rakes &c, barb wire, quantity lubricating oil, 40ft rubber hose, and the usual barn, byre and stable utensils.

North Ardbennie, Madderty (advert 24 October 1959)

Implements- 2 David Brown tractors (1953-54), 1 International Farmall H tractor, 2 flat top trailers, R. T. for tractors, 2 box carts R. T, 1 D.B. single furrow plough; 2 D. B. double furrow ploughs, D. B. ridger, D. B. front coverer, potato digger, McRobert potato dresser, grass seed barrow, Albion 5A binder, Bamlett tractor mower, International semi-mounted mower, horse rake, hay sweep, Blackstone elevator, 3 barrel roller, grubber, turnip pulper, set four leaf harrows, 3 iron feeding bins, 2 metal sheep haiks, turnip barrow, cattle catching crate, power turnip cutter (as new without engine), turnip cutter to fit cart (as new), set fanners, pressure grease bucket, electric fencer, 200 fence stobs, 150 sheep net stakes, 200 stack props, 16 rolls sheep netting, 20 sheep troughs, 400 gal water tank, various sizes drain tiles, 2 hen houses 10ftx7ft, 2 hen houses 8ftx6ft, 1 hen house 9ftx6ft, brooder etc, 2 incubators, forks, graips, shovels, etc, usual barn, byre and stable utensils.


What was new Scottish agricultural implements and machines in 1920?

If you were a farmer or agriculturist in Scotland in 1920 you may have been interested to see what the implement and machine makers would have new on the market. Tractors were starting to make an appearance on farms and with them their associated implements. Some of the makers were getting their heads around the changing technologies and seeing what new implements they could invent. Existing implements and machines were also being improved.

The Highland Show was an important showcase for these new implements and machines and in 1920 the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland introduced its new implement awards. In that year six Scottish implement and machine makers entered manufactures for this new award: John McBain & Son, Churnside, Berwickshire; H. W. Mathers & Son, Perth; Alexander Newlands & Sons Ltd, Linlithgow; James H. Steele, Edinburgh; David Wilson, East Linton; and Barclay, Ross & Hutchison Ltd, Aberdeen. By 1920 all these companies were well established and well known to Scottish farmers.

John McBain & Son, well-known for its windmills, entered an improved version of the Monarch Windmill for pumping. It was fit with Hyatt roller bearings, giving improved performance and relieving friction. It had double gear wheels which gave for smooth and steady running.

H. W. Mathers & Son entered a self-propelled engine driven turnip cutter or the barrel type. This could be used for cutting turnips into finger pieces for sheep and slices for cattle. This self-propelled machine was geared to the road wheels by a chain and sprockets which allowed it to be moved from place to place by its engine power. The barrel cutter, of single or double action, was by Messrs Bentall. It had an air-cooled engine, made by the Associated Manufacturing Co. which was not liable to be damaged in frosty weather.

Alexander Newlands & Sons Ltd. entered a new “self-lift” attachment for its tractor cultivator. This was an improved design which was designed to operate the tractor cultivator from the seat of the tractor. The motive power was transmitted from one side-wheel and through a chain drive to the operating crank. This could also be attached to any of the old cultivators.

James H. Steele, an extensive agent, exhibited a machine made by another implement and machine maker: Kenneth McKenzie, engineer, Evanton. This was its portable turnip cleaner and cutter. This comprised a root cleaner with two revolving barrels put in motion by chain-drive. The turnips were put into the hopper where they were cleaned and then conveyed to the cutting disc, which was horizontal. McKenzie stated that the cutter was guaranteed not to choke, and would cut as much as “any other machine on the market”. It was claimed to cut in seven different sizes for cattle or sheep. The machine was portable and could be taken to wherever the turnips were to be cut. It was driven by a 2 1/2hp Amanco oil engine which could be used for various purposes such as chaff cutting and corn crushing.

David Wilson entered a potato raiser. Its function was to raise the tubers an leave them directly behind the machine, thus saving labour in gathering the crop. It was claimed to cause no damage to the tubers and did not bury them. Barclay, Ross & Hutchison Ltd entered a twin sack lifter made by G. L. Weir.

All of these implements and machines demonstrated the Scottish implement and machine makers taking steps to improve the work practices on the farm. The new implement awards are still awarded by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, and a silver medal provides recognition of engineering excellence for the Scottish farmer, as indeed farmers throughout the world using Scottish implements and machines.

The photographs were taken at the Scottish National Tractor Show, Lanark, September, 22015, and Daviot vintage rally, October 2016.


What was new for the Ayrshire agriculturist in 1888?

The Ayr Show of the Ayrshire Agricultural Association was an important forum for the display of agricultural implements and machines. In the second half of the nineteenth century it was a place where local makers as well as some national makers exhibited. So important was it that some key English makers, such as John Fowler & Co. Leeds, came to the show on their national circuit of agricultural shows. 

The 1880s was a difficult time for Scottish agriculture and also for the agricultural implement makers. However, it was still important for them to be seen at the show and to exhibit their latest manufactures. 

The Ayrshire Advertisier printed an extensive account of the implement stands at Ayr in 1888. It is worth quoting at length for the names of makers and their manufactures, as well as the state of the trade: 

“Notwithstanding the long depression of trade, and the too well known want of money among farmers, the exhibition of implements and machines is fully up to that of any previous year. We were afraid at one time that the attraction of the International Exhibition at Glasgow would have taken away many who have hitherto attended at Ayr, but no such falling off is visible. It is true there is nothing specially new, but before hearing the judges’ report we are inclined to think that improvements of considerable value are generally to be found in many of the stalls, and the walk round the sheds containing the machines and implements is quite as attractive this year as in any one previous. Among the first in number, and, we may add, in importance, we find as usual the great stand of Jack & Sons, Maybole, with the genial Mr Marshall in attendance, and nearly 100 entries. Mowers and reapers in endless variety, carts and barrows, chaff cutters, turnip slicers and pulpers, all of the newest make, and too numerous to particularize. Indeed, Mr Marshall makes a first-rate show of his own.

Next to this stand we have Thomas Bradford’s exhibition of churns and washing machines, which is specially attractive this year. Ladies especially would do well to visit this stand, for it may well be called the domestic stand of the show-yard, and many of the articles must be seen-a description only can give a very imperfect idea of the exhibits. Passing over several stands of more or less importance, but all deserving of some attention, we come to another Maybole exhibitior, Thomas Hunter, whose display is certainly as attractive this year as formerly, new ploughs, rollers, grubbers, scarifiers, turnip cleaners and cutters, make up 70 exhibits, many of them deserving careful attention Ayr Show seems to be also improving in its turn out of carriages, gigs and dogcarts. Mr Robertson and Mr Bryden, Ayr; Messrs Smith and Duncan, Kilmarnock; Mr Holmes, Irvine; Wm Goudie, Whithorn; Sloan & Lonard, Penman & Son. Dumfries, have all stands, and exhibits very neat machines of various kinds. They certainly are elegant, seemingly strong, and considering the high finish are much cheaper than formerly. Mr J. P. Cathcart’s stand as usual deserves a special notice of Wood’s improved Binder, and various other agriculture implements which Mr Cathcart has always kept well to the front. 

Cumnock is represented with stands occupied by John Andrew, chemist, and George McCartney & Co., and John Drummond & Son, millwrights. Kilmarnock by W. G. Highet, with a good lot of dairy utensils, and D. Proctor & Co., engineers. Among local exhibitors we notice Mr Thomas Brown, cooper, with an excellent lot of butts and chissets. Mr James Mackie, millwright, has churns and cheese presses of improved quality, and other articles, which makes up an attractive stand. Daniel Wyllie & Co. as usual exhibits samples of their manures. Mr T. L. B. Robertson shows some famed bee keeping appliances. Mr Walsh, brassfounder, has some very fine specimens of his workmanship. 

Whitletts, near Ayr, is well represented by Mr Robert Cook and Mr Robert Wallace. The former has carts, and the latter a splendid selection of agricultural implements. Other well-known firms deserving of special mention are Mr John Young, Jun, New Cumnock, with reapers and mowers, potato diggers, and land rollers. And Mr Andrew Pollock, Mauchline, has a first-rate thrashing machine and other useful implements. It is matter of much regret to us to miss the appearance of Messrs J. & J. Young, so long one of the best of our exhibitors, but we hope soon to see their works started again. We leave the judges’ report a fuller notice of what, taking together, is an excellent implement show.”


Mr Andrew Pollock of Mauchline

Readers of this blog post will be familiar with the name of Pollock of Mauchline, one of the oldest agricultural implement and machine makers in Scotland. The firm of Andrew Pollock of Mauchline (later A. & W. Pollock of Mauchline and now Pollock Farm Machinery). The business was well-known for its potato diggers, carts as well as a range of food processing machines. 

The business was started by Andrew Pollock in 1867. This is how the Ardrossan and Saltcoats herald described Mr Pollock and his business on his death in early October 1904: 

“Death of a prominent agricultural engineer
On Saturday morning last the public of Mauchline were startled when it became known that early in the morning Mr Andrew Pollock, agricultural engineer, had suddenly expired. On Friday he visited Kilmarnock, and when he got back he attended to his duties apparently in his usual health. Mr Pollock was born at Tarbolton upwards of sixty-three years ago. Like most of the Tarbolton boys of that date, he for a short time wrought as a weaver, but not having any liking for that work, he engaged himself with Mr Carenduff, blacksmith, Millburn, as an apprentice. Shortly after he had finished his apprenticeship he commenced business on his own account at what was known as Coilsfield Smithy. Being rather out of the way here, with little prospect of much increase in trade, about thirty-six years ago he removed to Mauchline, where he started business in premises situated at the head of the Cowgate which had been occupied by the late Mr John Meikle. Very little business was doing in the smithy when Mr Pollock took it over, but by industry, enterprise, and perseverance he built up a splendid business. He rebuilt the old premises and extended the workshops, adding up-to-date machinery. His stand of agricultural implements has, for a number of years, been a feature at all the leading shows in the country, and at every centre of agricultural enterprise Mr Pollock’s tent could be seen. He also, since coming to Mauchline, has accumulated a large amount of house property. He was, at the time of his death, an honoured member of the Parish Council and an elder in the Established church. His funeral took place on Tuesday, and was private, with the exception that his workmen and the members of the church session were present. He leaves a widow and a family of three sons and three daughters to mourn their sudden bereavement.” 

The business was continued by his widow, Martha Pollock, until Andrew’s sons were old enough to run it. On 31 December 1912 the business was transferred to Andrew Pollock and William Pollock, under the name A. & W. Pollock, agricultural implement works, Mauchline.


Scottish ploughs for early tractors

If you were a farmer at the end of the Fist World War you may have had an interest in tractors that were starting to be used on Scottish farms, or had used one of them. The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland was also interested in the tractors and tillage implements, running a series of trials from 1915 into the early 1920s.

The Society’s trial held between 17 and 20 October 1922 was provided an important forum for the exhibition of tractors – including the Glasgow tractor – and implements, especially ploughs, made by Scottish and other makers. The Scottish ploughs were made by some of the leading plough makers of the day, showing their recognition that tractor ploughs were the way forward for the Scottish agriculturist. The ploughs included ones from Robert Begg & Son, Implement Words, Dalry, had a double-furrow self-lift tractor plough which was described as “strongly constructed”. The committee described it as “a well-constructed, easily adjustable plough, readily adapted for either stubble or lea, and suited for all classes of soil. It did good work both on stubble and lea, and the plots ploughed by it were considered to be amongst the best on the ground.”

Morton Engineering Company, Ladylands, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, had a new combined utility implement for general purpose tractor work which embraces a 2-furrow adjustable plough and subsoiler, 9- or 11- tine cultivator, 9-tine stubble scarifier, 5- or 7- tine grubber. The committee described this new plough, convertible into a grubber or cultivator” as being “well designed, simple in construction, and readily adjustable. It did very good work on stubble and excellent work on lea, where its performance reached a very high standard. The Committee are of opinion that a combined implement of this description is a creditable production, and one likely to commend itself to farmers”.

A. Newlands & Sons Ltd, St Magdalene Engineering Works, Linlithgow, demonstrated a self-lift 7-tine grubber, constructed on the same principles as the old Scotch parallel frame grubber, but made specially strong for work with a tractor, as well as two self-lift cultivators, one with 9 tines, the other with 11 tines, and a self-lift brake harrow to work in conjunction with a cultivator.

G. Sellar & Son, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, demonstrated its Sellar B.D.F. type, 2/3-furrow self-lift tractor plough which had a main frame of simple construction combined with strength; it was made of best quality Bessemer steel. It also had a self-lift tractor grubber. The Committee described the 3-furrow, convertible to 2-furrow plough as a “good plough”. It was “easily and quickly adjustable to varying widths and depths. Its work did not reach the highest standard at the demonstration, the principle objection noted being that it did not sufficiently bury the surface vegetation.” The grubber was described as “a well-made powerful 5-tine self-lift grubber, wich broke an unploughed stubble to a depth of 7″ or 8″, and did its work in a first-rate manner”.

A number of Scottish implement and machine makers demonstrated implements from other makers, usually from companies outside Scotland. For example, Henry Alexander & Company, Nottingham Place, Edinburgh, a Fordson dealer, had an Oliver no. 7 2 furrow 10″ to 12″ adjustable plough. Henderson Brothers, 29 Barnton Street, Stirling, had a Massey-Harris 2 furrow adjustable plough, a Massey-Harris 9-tine self-lift cultivator, a Massey-Harris tandem disc harrow and a Massey-Harris spring-tooth harrow. Alexander Jack & Sons, Maybole, had a Dux- self-lift tractor plough with subsoiling attachment. Wallace (Glasgow) Limited, 34 Paton Street, Glasgow, had an Oliver no 78 3-furrow self-lift tractor plough, 10″ wide.

The Committee considered that there had been a significant advance in ploughs since the earlier trials of the Society. It reported that “much good work was performed. All ploughs are now fitted with a self-lift attachment. Many of them are also provided with and efficient means of adjustment to different widths and depths. In view of the varying conditions of soil in Scotland and the variety of work to be undertaken, a plough that is not adjustable must be regarded as being unsuitable. There is still room for improvement, but in the case and rapidity with which adjustment may be effected. In this connection it may be noted that a tractor plough, taking 2 or 3 furrows, requires more adjustment than a horse plough.”

Next time you are at a ploughing match and you see trailing ploughs, think about the early days of the tractor ploughs and the important work of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in promoting them to the Scottish agriculturist.

The photographs of trailing ploughs and ploughing with them were taken at the Scottish Ploughing Championships, October 2016.


Scottish implement makers at the Royal Show, Cambridge, in 1922

The Royal Show, or the annual show of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, was a key event in the agricultural calendar, especially for English agriculturists. Scottish ones did attend, though their attendance varied according to the location of the show. The same was true for the Scottish implement and machine makers, though some did specially attend when they had new manufactures to show to the public, or when there were key trials for which they wanted to enter.

The number of Scottish exhibitors was generally small. They usually included some of the key ones. They brought with them their major manufactures to introduce them to an English and wider audience. These included ones that they were renowned for as well as improved ones. They also included ones that they considered filled a niche within the market for implements and machines.

The Scotsman included a lengthy account of the Scottish exhibitors to the Royal Show in July 1922. It is worth quoting at length as it says a lot about what was innovative and important about Scottish agricultural implement and machines and who were some of the most important makers. It states: 

“… Imposing display of implements
There is a comprehensive display of implements and machinery, and the 494 separate stands occupy over 12,000 feet of shedding of various descriptions, in addition to some acres of open ground space. The tendency to combine implements and machines is well illustrated this year. The self-binder, for example, does the work of the reaping machine together. With what was formerly done by hand. Self-lift implements used with tractors from a combination appliance. Some of the latest machinery on view carries this process a step further. There are to be seen drills which also cultivate, how, sow corn, distribute fertiliser or lime, and roll. Again there are harrows combined with a skim plough or with a cultivator, mills which do both grinding and crushing, a manure distributor and sprayer and crusher all in one, and a combined stubble breaker and cultivator. It is through the development of power that such combinations of machines have become possible. 

Scottish implements
Considering the distance of the Show from Scotland, there is a fine display of implements from north of the Tweed. About twenty makers are represented, and it says much for their enterprise that they should have come so far South to compete with the late English manufacturers on their own ground, and the varied and useful implements which they have on view make an exceedingly creditable appearance. Two Scottish manufacturers have entered for the Society’s silver medal for “new implements”. Many of these implements can hardly be called “new”, the main principles on which they operate having been in use for several years, but if they are not a distinct novelty, they all contain some advantageous features that bring them still nearer perfection, and secure greater efficiency in working. These improvements will, no doubt, receive critical attention at the hands of the practical farmers who examine them. 
Mr George Henderson, 58 Leith Street, Edinburgh, is one of the exhibitors of new implements. He shows the “Waverley” manure distributor, which has a number of special features. It is designed to distribute every class of both wet and dry fertilisers, is unusually simple in construction, and has a hopper which is adjustable for hilly land. The force feed distribution is effected by a series of star wheels revolving in brass bushes, while the driving mechanism consists of a worm and pinion to each star wheel, which gives a direct and positive drive. The ball-bearing thrusts blocks are fitted to the ends of the driving shafts. The driving worm and pinions are entirely enclosed, and run in grease, and no fertilisers can reach the driving mechanism. The “Waverley” distributor can be fitted with a special attachment for sowing manure in drills or rows, and there is also a special transport which can be supplied to enable the machine to travel along narrow roads and through small gateways. 
The other Scottish new implement is a 6 to 8 hp single sleeve valve engine known as the “Glasgow” Model M, on the stand of Messrs Wallace (Ltd), 34 Paton Street, Glasgow. The application of the single sleeve valve to stationary engines is new, although it has been used successfully on cars, marine engines, and motor cycles for some time. The advantages are that no poppet valves, tappets, springs &c are employed. The normal speed of the “Glasgow” is 800 revolutions per minute. There is a standard pulley supplied, which can be fitted on either side of the engine, and an extended boss to take any type of pulley. The engine starts on petrol from an auxiliary tank, and afterwards runs on paraffin. The cylinder has a head which is detachable by loosening four studs, and this is done without disturbing the valve gear.

There are no fewer than half a dozen exhibitors from Aberdeenshire. 
Messrs Robert G. Garvie & Sons, Aberdeen, show a light portable threshing and oil engine mounted on a rigid frame, and fitted for use by one or two horses. 
Messrs Barclay, Ross & Hutchison, Aberdeen, exhibit the Austin tractor, as well as threshing machine, manure distributor, and cultivator. 
The Bon Accord Engineering Company have on view a four-foot wide portable threshing machine and a smaller type, oil engines, pumps for water or liquid manure, and drain cleaning rods. 
Messrs Marshall & Philp, Aberdeen, show a series of spraying machines.
Mr James Marshall, Aberdeen, has a great array of egg boxes in all sizes to carry from a dozen to thirty dozen and potato sprouting boxes.
A silo is shown by Messrs James Scott & Son (Ltd), Aberdeen. It is built of reinforced concrete, and it is claimed that it is storm, fire, and vermin proof. And that it entails no upkeep or insurance costs. 
Messrs George Seller & Son, Huntly, make a feature of their ploughs, which are shown in great variety.
The enterprising makers, Messrs Wallace (Ltd), Glasgow, are the largest of the North Country exhibitors, their stand comprising over thirty different articles of farm husbandry. In the forefront are their well-known “Glasgow” tractors, which have been received with great favour by prominent farmers in the Lothians and elsewhere throughout Scotland. They also show the “Glasgow” single sleeve engines which are ready for continuous work of any description without any additional expenditure beyond fuel.
Another Glasgow firm, Messrs Watson, Laidlaw, & Co (Ltd), exhibit eight “Princess” cream separators of various sizes, the largest having a capacity of 330 gallons.
Messrs Alexr Jack & Sons, Maybole, Ayrshire, are as usual represented by a selection of implements so long associated with their business. They make a feature of their “Imperial” potato diggers and manure distributors.
Messrs J. & R. Wallace, Castle Douglas, show, in addition to different types of manure distributors, their milking machine, which is a popular labour-saving device in Scotland. 
Messrs Wm Elder & Sons, Berwick On Tweed, have no fewer than eighteen separate articles on view. Their broadcast sowing machines are shown in various sizes, and have been adapted to suit different quantities of seed.
Among exhibitors of windmills are Messrs John S. Millar & Son, Annan, who show two windmills and pumps suitable for different requirements. 
Beehives and appliances are exhibited by Messrs R. Steele & Brodie, Wormit, Fife.”