In the days of horse power one of the most well-known implements in Scottish agriculture was the Hunter hoe for cleaning drills, manufactured by Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole.
Thomas Hunter & Sons, Maybole, was one of the celebrated and well-renowned Scottish agricultural implement makers. In 1861 Thomas Hunter was a smith at Maybole. His business developed and flourished and by 1883 his address was given as the “Implement Works, Maybole”. He was joined in business by his sons by 1895. In 1905 the business was located in Alloway Road: the “Alloway Road Implement Works”. The business became a limited company by guarantee in 1920: Thomas Hunter & Sons Ltd. That company was short-lived, becoming Thomas Hunter & Sons (Maybole) Ltd in 1924; it was wound up in late 1927. By 1924 the proprietors were Alex Jack & Sons Ltd, a rival firm, and also another well-known implement and machine maker.
Thomas Hunter making its turnip drills, ploughs, harrows, mowers, reapers, turnip thinners in 1883. By 1890 his manufactures included turnip drill and thinners, ploughs, harrows, mowers and reapers. They were summed up as “drills and cultivating tools” in 1909.
Thomas was an award-winning implement maker from an early date. In 1873 he won a silver medal at the Highland Show for two patent turnip thinners and in 1875 a minor silver medal for his collection. At the Royal Agricultural Society of England meeting in 1870 he was awarded a highly commended for Dickson’s patent double drill turnip cleaner.
Thomas was a regular exhibitor at the Highland Show from 1864 onwards, quickly establishing a name for himself throughout the country as he visited all of the eight show districts. In 1903 he exhibited a wide range of implements including an improved self-acting double drill revolving turnip thinner (£12), improved self-acting single drill turnip thinning machine for hilly land (£6), an improved combined scarifier and turnip thinner, double drill (£9), a drill scarifier for cleaning all kinds of green crop, a turnip topping and tailing machine, double drill (£9), a combined mangold and turnip drill (£6 10s), improved drill plough with marker (£4 15s), consolidating land roller, with lubricating grease boxes (£11 10s), improved tennant grubber, on wheels (£7 10s), large field grubber, improved leverage (£8 10s), set Dickson’s patent double drill root cleaners, heavy (£3 10s), set saddle drill harrows (£2 5s), set zigzag harrows, 9 1/2 feet light (£3 5s), improved drill grubber, with ridging body, light (£3 15s).
Hunter – a name first and foremost for cultivating implements!
The photographs of the Hunter hoe were taken at the Scottish National Tractor Show, Lanark, September 2015.
© 2016 Heather Holmes