Scottish agricultral implement makers at the English shows – 1908

We are familiar with English agricultural makers at the Scottish agricultural shows including the Highland Show. English makers were exibiting at that show in increasing numbers from the 1850s. However, while there was a significant movement of English makers northwards, there was not the same movement southwards. Relatively few of the Scottish makers exhibited at the English agricultural shows, including the Royal Show. They tended, however, to be the major companies with a national and international reputation.

An account of the Royal Agricultural Show in 1908, published in the Scotsman in June that year provides insights into the major Scottish makers who took their manufactures south to exhibit at that show, together with the specific implements and machines they took.

“The Scottish implement trade is well represented, there being twenty-five firms from the other side of the Border exhibiting typical collections of the agricultural appliances which are manufactured in the northern part of the kingdom, and in the production of which the makers show a commendable amount of skill and enterprise. Most of them are regularly seen at the Royal Society’s Shows, no matter how remote the district may be in which the tents are pitched, and they never fail to bring with them an interesting display. That they can do so with success is shown by the fact that out of eleven competitors, exhibiting nineteen implements in the trial of artificial manure distributors, the two medals have been gained by makers from Scotland. Messrs Allan Brothers, Aberdeen, have a neat stand of a thoroughly practical character, embracing manure distributors, seed-sowing and threshing machines, and a simplex pump, all manufactured by the Bon Accord Engineering Company, together with horizontal oil engines, constructed to work with any brand of oil, and with claims to be specially applicable to farm work. On a small but compact stand Messrs J. D. Allan & Sons, Murthly, show a farmyard dung spreader for drills, one advantage which it possesses being that it can be attached to any ordinary from cart. They also sow, among other useful articles, the potato dresser, which Mr David Wilson, East Lothian, patented a few years ago, and which has been found to do its work vey satisfactorily. Three Ayrshire firms, which are always in evidence at the national agricultural shows of England and Scotland, as well as the principal district shows, are again well to the front in the implement department. Messrs Alex Jack & Sons, Maybole, make a feature of their broadcast manure distributors, for one of which they were awarded the bronze medal in the competitive trial, and in addition to these they have a varied assortment of reapers and mowers, horse rakes, the “Caledonian” potato diggers, which won the first prize at the Royal Society’s Leicester Show twelve years ago, when these machines were brought to a degree of perfection which had not up till then been attained, and several ploughs, with the latest improvements for dealing specially with soils of different texture on both lea and stubble are also shown. Messrs Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole, have a select display of useful implements in every-day use on the farm, inclusing their well-known root-cleaning and turnip-raining inventions. The exhibits of Mr Andrew Pollock, Mauchline, are mainly connected with the hay harvest, for securing which he has several implements for facilitating work at that critical period of the season. The Carron Company, Carron, Stirlingshire, display fittings for stable, cowsheds, and piggery, in which cast-iron stall divisions, feeding troughs, and other up-to-date contrivances figure prominently. They also show a portable boiler, with loose inside pan and close base. there is a large display of purely agricultural implements at the stand of Messrs William Elder & Sons (Limited), Berwick on Tweed. The latest in sheaf-binds, mowers and reapers, horse rakes, straw trussers, sowing machines, drill rollers, grubbers, &c are on view. Messrs P. & R. Fleming & Company, Argyle Street, and Graham Square, Glasgow, make a feature of a milking machine by Lawrence & Kennedy, Glasgow, and a nw type of oil engine. Waugh’s patent sheep-dipping apparatus, potato and charlock sprayers, and horse forks are also on the stand. The exhibit of Messrs John McBain & Son, Chirnside, Berwickshire, is a varied one, including a corn bin, turnip cutter, horse rake, oil engine, swath turner, sheep rack, scuffler, and a “Monarch” windmill. Messrs Mackenzie & Moncur Limited, Balcarres Street, Edinburgh, have on view a conservatory, a complete with staging and fitting, and garden games. A set of stable and cowhouse fittings, and a collection of sanitary and other castings complete the exhibit. Messrs J. & R. Wallace, Castle Douglas Foundry, Castle Douglas, exhibit a serviceable manure distributor, with adjustable hopper, which secured the gold medal in the trial competition. There are also to be seen at their stand two other types of distributor,a sheep dipper, and a milking machine which was awarded a silver medal by the RASE at park Royal in 1905. Windmills and pumps are what Messrs John S, Millar & Son, Annan, have to show the visitor. The former include the “Ideal”, which pumps water up to 300 feet, vertical lift, or drains low-lying lands and quarries; and the “Samson”, for water supply to farms and dwellings, or for draining low ground. Messrs Robertsons & Company, Tweed iron Works, Berwick on Tweed, have on view mowers, reapers, hay rakes, corn bins, ploughs, turnip cutters and slicers, each with special advantages of their own. 

A collection of two wheel ploughs is shown by Messrs george Sellar & Son, Huntly, who also have on their stand double furrow ploughs, and 11 tine harrows. Messrs Thomas Sherriff & Company, West Barns, Dunbar, have forward a drill and broadcasst seeder for small holdings, drills for corn and seed, for turnip and mangold, and a broadcast sower for all kinds of grain and grass and clover seeds. A choice display of churns of the “Waverley” and duplicate end-over pattern is made by Messrs Sinton & Son, Waverley Churn Works, jedburgh. these range in capacity from 3 gallons to 20 gallons. Two nice types of weigh bridge are shown by Messrs W. Smith & Co, New Broughton, Edinburgh-“The Standard” and “The Farm Live Stock weigher” with self-locking and expanding cattle weighing cage, Machines for lime washing and disinfecting and a syracuse “Easy” washer are at the stand of Messrs Marshall & Philp, 179 Union Street, Aberdeen. Messrs John Wallace & Sons Ltd, Graham Square, Glasgow, make a brave show, with manure distributors, potato diggers, mowers and reapers, “Oliver” ploughs of various types, and other farm requisites. Cream separators of the “Princess” type, driven by steam turbine, and of the “Princess” and “Princess Victoria” make, hand driven, are shown by Messrs Watson, Laidlaw & Company Ltd, Dundas Street, Glasgow, who also have on their stand hydro extractors, an oil separator, &c. Messrs Kemp & Nicholson, Scottish Central Works, Stirling, exhibit a hay baler, manure distributor, turnip cutting cart, and farm tipping cart.”

An eminent collection of implements and machines by leading Scottish makers.

the photographs were taken at a number of rallies throughout Scotland from 2013 onwards.