The A to Z of Scottish agricultural implement makers

S is for …

S is for …

John Scarth, Ayre Road, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands 
Alexander Scott, North Street, Strichen, Aberdeenshire 
Alexander Scott, Caledonian implement Works, St Ninian’s, Stirling Thomas Scott & Co. Ltd, iron, steel and hardware merchants, 51, 53, 55, 57 and 59 Grassmarket, Edinburgh 
Scottish Agricultural Industries Ltd, Rosehall, Haddington, East Lothian 
Scottish Aviation Ltd, Prestwick Airport, Ayrshire 
Scottish Farm Implements, Ltd, Crosshouse, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire 
Scottish Mechanical Light Industries Ltd, 42-44 Waggon Road, Ayr
Scoular & Co., farm implement makers, Haddington, East Lothian
John Scoular & Co., Implement Works, Stirling  
George Sellar & Son, Huntly, Aberdeenshire 
John Shand (ploughs &c), Lochill, Urquhart, Morayshire 
Alex Shanks & Son Ltd, oil engines for agricultural use, Dens Iron Works, Arbroath 
Shearer Brothers (thrashing machines & drills), Maybank, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 
John F. Shepherd & Son, Inchbare, Strathcathro, Brechin 
Thomas Sheriff & Co., agricultural engineers, West Barns, East Lothian 
Shearer Brothers (threshing machines), Maybank Works, Balmellie Street, Turriff, Aberdeenshire 
James Simpson & Son (seed sowers), 14 Prince Street, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire 
William Sinton, Churn Works, 36 Bedford Road, Edinburgh 
Thomas Smail, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire
Smith Brothers & Co., Kingston Engine Works, Park Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow  
George Souter, smith and implement maker, 125 Liff Road, Lochee, Dundee 
James H. Steele, ‘Everything for the Farm’, Harrison Road, Edinburgh 
James Stephen (grubbers, harrows and ploughs), Garden Lane, Buckie, Banffshire 
David Stephenson (thrashing machines, reapers, mowers &c), Rosehall, Haddington, East Lothian 
James Stevens (ploughs &c), Bannockburn, Stirlingshire 
William R. Storie, agricultural engineer, Kelso, Roxburghshire 
William Storie & Son, implement makers and agents, Lanton, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire 
G. D. L. Swann & Son, dairy engineers and outfitters, 32-36 Abercrorn Street, Glasgow 

As we go through the A. to Z. we are seeing some great names of renowned Scottish agricultural implement and machine makers. This week is no exception. 

Again, we will look at some of the names that may not be as well known. 

William Sinton was a major name in the Scottish dairy world. He started his business as a cooper in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire by 1870. By 1880 he described himself as a churn manufacturer and then as a patent churn manufacturer. By 1903 his sons had joined him in business. By 1914 he moved the Waverley Churn Works to 36 Bedford Road, Edinburgh, where they remained until at least 1929. The business was a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press and attended the Highland Show throughout Scotland. William applied for a patent in 1870 for the invention of ‘improvements in churns’. He won two silver medals for his collection of churns by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland in 1870 and 1872. 

James Simpson, was in business as a cart and ploughwright, Princes Street, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire from at least 1846. By 1858 his business became known as James Simpson & Co., Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, a name that continued to be associated with Peterhead until 1930 when it changed to James Simpson & Son (Peterhead) Ltd. This was a name that continued to be known until at least the 1950s – according to directories. 

In the 1870s the company started to describe itself as agricultural implement makers. Its speciality was seed sowers. This was a speciality that continued until at least 1928. By that time it was also noted for its harrows and grubbers. While it had made carts from the 1840s, by the 1920s it started to be a motor car body maker; the following decade saw it also as a motor engineer and garage. 

The business frequently exhibited at the Highland Show from 1858. In that year it was awarded 4 sovereigns for best one horse farm cart. In 1877 it was the inventor of the new broadcast sowing machine for grain and grass seeds. 

Shearer Brothers, Maybank Works, Railway Station, Turriff, later of Balmellie Street, Turriff undertook business from at least 1876 until 1972; on 18 July 1972 the company passed a special resolution to voluntarily wind up the company. The final winding up meeting was held on 29 August 1972.
The company undertook a number of trades and was an agricultural engineer, an agricultural implement maker, a machinery maker, a mechanical engineer, millwright and later a motor engineer. It was active in promoting its manufactures: exhibiting at the Highland Show from 1876 until 1939. It was awarded a medium silver medal for foot power thrashing machine in 1876. It also entered into the trial of machines for cleaning all sorts of grain and other seeds from weeds in 1884. It was also regular advertiser in the North British Agriculturist from 1884 onwards.
The company manufactured a range of threshing mills. In 1876 it manufactured a foot power thrashing machine which it described as a new invention. By 1881 it manufactured its “Advance” thresher for foot and hand power and the “Simplex” rotary fanner. By the following year it was also manufacturing a small hand thresher with adjustable feeder. These continued to be its main manufactures for following years. To these were added the new “Paragon” dressing and screening machine in 1887.

In the early 1850s if you heard the name “Scoular’ you would have associated it with the company of Scoular & Co. agricultural implement makers at Haddington. In 1857 Mr Scoular retired in favour of Kemp, Murray & Nicholson of Stirling who had taken a lease of their premises and purchased the whole stock in trade, machinery, patterns and working plant. 
By the early 1870s there were a number of members of the Scowler family around Stirling that worked as implement makers. James Scoular of Woodside, Kippen, made ploughs, drills as well as a collection of implements. There was also John Scoular of Crook Smithy, Stirling, who continued in business until at least 1910.

John Scoular was an important implement maker and was also internationally known. By the early 1870s his smithy had expanded into the Crook Implement Works where it became noted for its harrows, rollers, horse rakes and other implements. The trades carried on were as agricultural engineers. agricultural implement makers, engineers and iron founders, machinists, smiths and farriers. The company was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show, exhibiting from 1871 until 1910. It exhibited around each of the show districts, exposing its implements to farmers throughout Scotland. It was also a regular advertiser in the Scottish farming press, especially the Scottish farmer from 1893 onwards. 

The company was also an innovative one. From the early 1880s it was a frequent entrant to the Highland Society’s trials of implements and machines. In 1881 it entered at the trial of potato diggers and the trial of turnip lifters. In the following year it entered for the trial of horse rakes. In 1885 it entered for the trial of cultivator harrows as well as implements for the autumn cultivation of stubbles. In 1889, it entered in the trial of hay and straw trussers. 
The North British Agriculturist gave a detailed description of John Scoular in 1893. It reads: 

“Mr John Scoular is the fourth son of the late David Scoular, the well-known plough maker of Forest Mill, Clackmannanshire. Mr Scowler began business on his own account twenty-seven years ago, and pushed his trade with such energy that his name was soon known in all the principal agricultural districts of Great Britain, including Ireland and the remote islands of Scotland. After establishing a large home trade, he next turned his attention to export business, cultivating it with the same diligence, so that in a few years he formed connections in many different quarters of the globe. In 1881 he was invited by a number of the principal merchants and farmers of Natal, South Africa, to visit their colony and see their ways of cultivation for himself, so that he might better understand their requirements. He accepted the invitation, and on his arrival in Natal he received a warm welcome from his friends there, and profited greatly by his journey. Mr Scoular has also large dealings with the south-east of Europe, and he has travelled seven times there, visiting the extensive wheat plans of Bessarabia, Roumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. He claims he is now the largest harrow maker in Scotland. and there are few counties where his hay rakes cannot be found at work.”