James Wallace Senr of J & R Wallace, Castle Douglas

One of the most important implement and machine makers in south west Scotland was J. & R. Wallace, Castle Douglas. It was already established in Cotton Street, Castle Douglas in 1876. It was an agricultural implement maker, engineer, ironfounder, mechanical engineer and millwright. By 1883 it was making reaping and mowing machines and in 1894 turnip cutters, boxed teeth harrows and ploughs. It was to be renowned for its milking machine and manure distributors, both of which were entered for trial in competitions run by the national agricultural societies.

The partners in the business were James Wallace and Robert Wallace. When James Wallace Senr died in March 1924, the North British Agriculturist published a comprehensive obituary of him in its pages of 10 April 1924. It reads:

“Mr James Wallace, senr, of the firm of Messrs J. & R. Wallace, Castle Douglas, passed away at his residence in Castle Douglas on 26th ult, at the advanced age of 77. Born at Fenwick in Ayrshire, Mr Wallace came of an agricultural engineering stock, his father having initiated the implement trade at Fenwick, and later carried on a business at Whillets, near Ayr. On completion of his training, Mr William, in conjunction with his brother, Mr Robert Wallace, saw an

opportunity in Castle Douglas, and opened an iron foundry there, trading under the name of Messrs J. & R. Wallace. The brothers were most successful in the production of farm implements and machinery, their stands at the agricultural shows during the last twenty-five years amply attesting to their skill in inventive enterprise. Perhaps one of their most noteworthy achievements was their now popular light manure distributor, constructed on the hoper and revolving board principle, a machine which beat all others at the great Newcastle “Royal” trials in 1908. The name of the firm has also for long time been identified with the Wallace Milking Machine, which has been brought to a marvellous state of perfection, and used practically all over the world. Mr Robert mainly confined his activities to the indoors part of the business, and was not quite so often seen at agricultural gatherings as his well-known brother, Mr James. Mr Wallace did useful public service in Castle Douglas, serving on the Town Council and the Parish Council, while he also took a keen interest in the United Free Church, of which he was a staunch supporter. He is survived by a family of ten-five sons and five daughters. One of the sons, Mr James, is in the foundry business at Castle Douglas, while the youngest, also an engineer, holds an appointment at Guildford in Surrey. Mr Wallace was one of the highly esteemed men engaged in the implement business, and his demise is regretted by a wide circle.”

The business continued to operate until the 1980s. It was in receivership in 1987.