On 7 March 1894 the North British Agriculturist announced “The Dairy Supply Co. Ltd, Museum Street, London, notes the opening of a machinery department of their business in Scotland at 1 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, from which they will supply all orders in Scotland and the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmoreland in England.”
The company’s first premises in the Grassmarket was at no. 1. By
1903 it had moved to no. 7 where it remained until at least 1914. In 1919 it was located at no. 12 where it continued to conduct business until after 1970.
The company was a significant player in the making of all things for the dairy. By 1938 an advert in the Ballymena Observer proclaimed that it was “the oldest and largest dairy engineer and utensil manufacturers in Great Britain”. By 1851 it had branches in Edinburgh, London, Belfast and Limerick and in 1966 ones at Edinburgh, London and Belfast.
It was principally a dairy utensil manufacturer, engineer and machine maker and an ironmonger and smith. In the 1930s one directory described it as a “dairy engineer”, another as a “dairy utensil manufacturer”.
It sold its own manufactures as well as those from other leading makers, such as Alfa-Laval. In 1903, for example, it sold milking pails, cans for milk distribution, dairy shop fittings, cheese-making appliances, creamery plant, milk and water pumps, milk bottles, patent caps, milk pasteurisers and coolers, pure cultures for cheese and butter making, and rennet etc.
It also sold the Cunningham butter worker, milking pails, and a range of railway cans such as the 10 or 12 gallon “Standard”, the 12 gallon Tam O’Shanter, the 12 gallon Scotch pattern railway milk can and the 12 gallon “Reform” railway milk can.
The company was a regular attender at the Highland Show from 1894 onwards, ensuring that it had an influence throughout Scotland as the show travelled around the country each year. You might have recollected seeing its stand? It was also a regular advertiser in the farming press and also in the Scottish provincial press.
There are still a few pieces of Dairy Supply Co. Ltd utensils and equipment around today. The photographs show three around the rally fields.
The photographs were taken at the Strathnairn rally, September 2014, and the Scottish National Tractor Show, Lanark, September 2015.
© 2016 Heather Holmes