There were a number of well known names of weighing machines and apparatus in Scotland and throughout Britain. One English maker that was well known in Scotland was Henry Pooley & Son of Albion Foundry, Liverpool.
The company was founded around 1790 to make scale beams, and continued in business into the second half of the twentieth century. It became the biggest manufacturer of weighing machines in its time. Their range and diversity was extensive. In 1877 the company described itself as “patentees and manufacturers of every description of weighing apparatus for railways, ironworks, collieries, etc. A few years later in 1870 this description was “patentees and manufacturers of every description of weighing apparatus for agricultural purposes &c”. By 1984 we clearly see the wide range of sectors which the company made weighing machines for: “every description of weighing apparatus for railways, iron works, engineers, collieries, mills, warehouses, farms &c”. In later years by 1913 it was a maker of “every description of weighing machines and scales”.
The range of trades carried out by the company was also significant. Between 1880 and 1914 the company variously undertook the following trades which included: agricultural implement maker and agent; agricultural implement manufacturer; beam and scale maker; colliery plant manufacturer; contractor; contractors’ plant maker; engineer; iron founder; machine maker and millwright; machinist; mechanical engineer; mill furnisher; millwright; railway plant contractor; railway plant merchant; scale beam maker; scale, beam and steelyard maker; scale and weight manufacturer; shoplifter; steelyard manufacturer; weigh bridge manufacturer; weighing machine maker.
The company was not only a key player in England, but also in Scotland and internationally, also acting as contractors to H.M. Government, British and foreign railways by 1905. In Scotland it had an extensive network of branches which allowed it to have a wide, and local presence, throughout the country. By 1875 the first of these was in Glasgow, at 113 West Nile Street, an address it remained at until 1879, when it moved to 41 Hope Street. By 1884 it had established a head office and works in Scotland, the Albion Works, at 69 and 71 McAlpine Street, Glasgow. The company also had other addresses in Glasgow: they included Paisley Road (1895), 25 South Kinning place (1903), and 21 Stockwell Street (1909).
Other towns quickly had a branch establishment of Pooley’s. By 1877 there were ones at Dunfermline, Fife and Aberdeen. In 1880 there were mechanics stationed in Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Dundee. There was a branch at Inverness in 1901 and at Perth in 1904.
The company maintained a strong presence in the agricultural community. It was a regular attender at the Highland Show from 1876 onwards. It was also a regular advertiser in the Scottish agricultural press from 1876. It also actively participated in the trials of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. For example, in 1887 it was awarded £10 for its cart and cattle weighing machines, and in 1893 also won £10 in the Society’s weigh bridge competition. It also won awards for its exhibits at the Highland Show. In 1876 it won a silver medal for its patent three ton self-contained agricultural cart weighing machine, as well as a silver medal for its general collection.
There are still examples of the various weighing machines from the Albion Foundry to be seen around Scotland. One is located on the station platform on the Bo’ness and Kennel Railway. Go and have a look!