The Industries of Scotland,
their Rise, Progress and Present Condition
By David Bremner (1869)
A WORD of
preliminary explanation of the object and scope of this book may not be
superfluous, the more so that it takes a line which I am not aware has
been taken in any previously published work. I have sought to outline
the history of such branches of Scotch industry as merit notice by their
extent or other peculiarity, to track out their modest beginnings, and
to follow their subsequent development. This is what Bacon called
mechanical history, or the history of industrial arts ; and I venture to
say that the history of Scotch industry is peculiarly rich in that
profitable knowledge which Bacon held to belong to such investigations.
The main object of the book, however, is to describe the actual state of
the chief branches of industry in Scotland ; and I thought I should best
accomplish this by restricting myself to a plain narrative of
judiciously chosen facts. The reader must expect to meet with few
general reflections: it is hoped that many of these will be suggested
without prompting on the part of the author.
Another consideration has
been kept in view. Since the Paris Exhibition, which revealed the
surprising progress made of late years by our foreign competitors in the
industrial arts, there has been much lively discussion on technical
education. The discussion would be much more profitable were the
disputants more correctly informed of the actual state of, and progress
recently made in, the industries of Great Britain.
It is proper to mention that the substance of the following pages
originally appeared in a series of articles printed during last year in the
weekly issue of the Scotsman newspaper. The articles were most favourably received as fair
and accurate accounts of the branches of
trade to which they related, and
it is in accordance with a generally expressed
desire that they are now reprinted in a
more permanent form. The text has
been subjected to careful revision; numerous
additions have been made; and where it
was considered essential, the
latest statistics have been given.
Coal Mining Early History of Coal—Objections to its being used as Fuel—First
attempts at Coal Mining—Slavery in the Mines—The Scotch Coal
Fields—Visit to a Colliery—Descent into a Pit—The Miners at work— Perils
of the Pits—Social Condition of the Miners—Their Earnings, Strikes, and
Unions—The Houses in which they Live—The Means provided for Educating
Manufacture of Iron Origin and Progress of the Manufacture of Iron in Scotland—Statistics of
the Trade—Effects of over-Speculation—Coatbridge and its
Furnaces—Description of the Gartsherrie Ironworks—The Smelting Process
—Invention of the Hot Blast, and its effect on the Trade.
Manufacturers in Iron Carron Iron Works—How the Poet Burns solaced himself on being refused
admission to the Works—A Royal Visitor--Pot-making and the
Pot-makers—Falkirk Iron Works, and their Productions—Artistic
Castings—Morrison's Ventilating Fire-place—The Malleable Iron Trade —Puddling,
Shingling, and Rolling—The Lancefield and Parkhead Forges—Gigantic
Smith-work—How the Shafts for Screw-Steamers are made.
Shipbuilding Scotch Shipping before the Union—The "Great Michael"—Effect of the Union
on commerce—Story of the First Steamer, and her immediate successors—The
Inventors and Improvers of Steam-vessels—Miller, Taylor, Symington,
Bell, and Napier—Origin of Building Ships of Iron—Rise and Progress of
Shipbuilding on the Clyde—Messrs R. Napier & Sons—Shipbuilding at Leith,
Aberdeen, Dundee, &c.—Statistics of the Trade.
Railways Infancy of Railways—First Railway in Scotland—The Kilmarnock and Troon
Line—Formation of a Railway between Edinburgh and Dalkeith—"The Innocent
Railway"—Early Locomotive Engines—Experiments and Discoveries—Railways
and their Advantages foreshadowed by Mr Charles Maclaren—Road
Steamers—Progress of Railways in Scotland—The Railway Mania—Extent,
Organisation, and Traffic of the Scotch Rail-ways—How the Rolling Stock
is made and upheld—The North British Company's Workshops at Cowlairs—Work
and Wages of Railway Servants.
Coachmaking Introduction of Coaches into Britain—Sedan Chairs and Hackney Coaches in
Edinburgh—The First Stage Coach between Edinburgh and Glasgow —Extension
of Stage Travelling to London—Impetus given to Travelling by improving
the Roads—Difficulties of Early Travellers—The Coach- making Trade in
Edinburgh—How Carriages are made and equipped —Coachmakers and their
Manufacture of Plate and
Jewellery Native Gold in use among the early inhabitants of Scotland—Gold Mining
at various Periods—Proofs of the Existence of Gold in many parts of the
Country—Plate and Jewellery in old Scotch Families—George Heriot—Enactments
for the Regulation of Workers in the Precious Metals—The Edinburgh
Incorporation of Hammermen—How articles of Silver are Made—Chasing,
Engraving, Casting, and Electro-Plating —Jewel-Making, Gem-Setting,
Gold-Beating, and Seal-Engraving —Edinburgh as a seat of the Plate and
Manufacturers in Metals Machine-Making—The Amalgamated Society of Engineers—The Iron- Moulders
and their Union—Copper found in Scotland—Working in Copper and
Brass—Milton House Brass-Foundry and Metre Factory— Lead Mining in
Scotland—Manufacture of Lead and Tin Tubing— Messrs Miller & Richard's
Type-Foundry—Type-Making by Machinery.
Woollen Manufacturers History of the Scotch Woollen Trade—How the people dressed in 1598
—Early Statutes for the Encouragement of Woollen Manufactures— State of
the Trade in 1733 and 1778—The Scotch Tweed Trade—The Manufacturing
Processes—The Manufacture of Hosiery, Carpets, &c.— Notes on the Chief
Seat of the Woollen Trade.
Linen and Jute
Manufacturers History of the Scotch Linen Trade—Curious Acts of Parliament relating to
the Making and Use of Linen—The Board of Trustees for Manufactures and
their connection with the Trade—The British Linen Company —Domestic
Character of the Linen Manufacture in its Early Days— Vicissitudes of
the Trade in the Rural Districts—Rise and Progress of the Linen Trade in
Forfarshire, Fifeshire, and Perthshire—Dumfermline: its early connection
with the Linen Trade, and present celebrity for the Manufacture of Table
Linen—Early Days of the Linen Trade in Dundee—Introduction of Jute, and
its Effect on the Manufactures from Flax—The Great Factories of
Dundee—The Processes of Manufacturing Flax and Jute.
Cotton Manufacturers Early Days of the British Cotton Trade—The Invention of Spinning and
Weaving Machinery, and its effect in extending the Manufacturing
Industries of the country—Introduction of the Cotton Trade into
Scotland—Notes on the First Factories—The Manufacture of Muslin
Trade-Unions, Strikes, and Riots—Progress of the Cotton Manufactures in
Scotland—Effects of the American War on the Trade—The Cotton
Famine—Description of a Glasgow Cotton Mill.
Turkey-Red Dyeing Antiquity of the Art of Dyeing and Painting Cloth—Its Introduction into
Europe-Progress of the Art in Britain—Various styles of Calico-Printing—Cordale
Printfield and Dalquhurn Dyeworks—Description of the Processes of
Calico-Printing and Turkey-Red Dyeing.
Manufacture of Sewed
Muslin Antiquity of the Art of Embroidering—Its adoption as a Fashionable
Recreation in this country—Made a Branch of Manufacture in Glasgow
—Extended to Ireland—Improvements in Printing Designs—How the Trade is
Conducted—Embroidering by Machinery.
Fishing-Nets Net-Making by Hand—Story of the Net-Loom and its Inventor—the
Musselburgh Net-Factory—How Nets are made by Machinery—Extension of the
Trade, and decline of Hand-netting.
Manufacture of Paper and
Paper-Hangings Origin of Paper—The Papyrus of the Egyptians—Progress of the Art of
Paper-Making—The First Paper Mills in Britain—Extent and Distribution of
the Trade in Scotland—The Materials used for making Paper, Paper-Making
by Hand—The Introduction of Machinery—Invention of the Paper-making
Machine—The Paper Duty—Cowan's Paper Mills at Penicuik—The Manufacturing
Processes Described—Invention of Paper- Hangings by the Chinese—Success
of the Manufacture in France—Difficulties of the First Manufacturers in
Britain—The Trade in Scotland.
Manufacture of Floorcloth Origin of Floorcloth—Introduction of the Manufacture into Scotland— The
Scottish Floorcloth Manufactory at Kirkcaldy.
Manufacture of Leather Antiquity and importance of Leather—Progress of the Leather Trade in
Britain—Curious Laws for its Regulation in Scotland—Present Condition of
the Trade—Description of a Leather Manufactory.
India-Rubber History of India-Rubber—Its Importance in the Arts—The North British
Rubber Company—How India-Rubber Shoes and Waterproof Garments are made—
The Scottish Vulcanite Company—How Vulcanite is converted into
Jewellery, Combs, &c.
Manufactures in Glass History of Glass—Difficulties of the early Manufacturers in
Britain—Origin of the Manufacture of Glass in Scotland—The Holyrood
Glassworks— How Articles of Glass are made—Glass Cutting and
Engraving—Revival of the Art of Glass-Painting.
Earthenware Antiquity of the Potter's Art—Its Decay and Revival—Introduction into
Britain—The Scotch Potteries—Description of the Manufacturing
Pro-cesses—History of Bricks—Early Brick-Works in England—Manufactures
in Fireclay—Terra Cotta and its applications.
Pavement, and Slate Quarrying Importance of the Quarries as a Branch of Industry—Rise and Progress of
the Aberdeen Granite Trade—Granite Polishing—The Kirkcudbright-shire
Granite Quarries—Sandstone Quarries in various parts of Scotland —The
Pavement Trade of Forfarshire and Caithness—The Easdale and Ballachulish
Slate Quarries—Social Peculiarities of the Workpeople.
Brewing Early History of Brewing—Curious old Laws affecting the Trade—The
Malt-Tax—Fatal Riots in Glasgow in consequence of the Extension of the
Tax to Scotland—Extent of the Brewing Trade in Scotland—Description of a
Distilling Invention of Distilling—Introduction of the Art into Britain—The Early
Distillers in Scotland—Smuggling and Smugglers—Story of the First
Highland Distillery—Progress of the Trade—The Caledonian Distillery.
Sugar-Refining History of Sugar—Rise and Progress of the Cultivation and Refining of
Sugar—Historical Notes on the First Refineries in Scotland—Extraordinary
Increase of the Trade—Description of a Sugar-House.
Confectionery The Confectionery Trade in Scotland—Description of Messrs Keiller &
Son's Manufactory at Dundee—How Marmalade and other Confections are
Manufacture of Preserved
Provisions The Invention of a Meat-Preserving Process, and what led to it—Various
Modes of "Curing," Animal and Vegetable Substances—The Provision-
Preserving Trade in Scotland—Description of a Preservatory.
Manufacture of Mineral
Oils and Paraffin History of the Paraffin Manufacture—The Bathgate and West-Calder
Paraffin Works—Description of the Manufacturing Processes—Present
Condition of the Scotch Mineral Oil Trade.
Printing and Publishing Introduction of the Art of Printing into Scotland—The Early Printers and
their Productions—Troubles of the Trade—The Scotch Newspapers and
Magazines—Extent of the Printing and Publishing Trade in Scotland— The
Leading Firms in Edinburgh—History and Organisation of the "Scotsman"
Fisheries Importance of the Sea and River Fisheries—History of the Herring Fishery
—Curious old Laws Relative to the Capture and Curing of Fish—State
Encouragement—Bounties—The Fishery Board—Statistics of the Trade The
"Herring Metropolis"—Cod, Salmon, and Whale Fisheries.
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