Alexander Smith, formerly
a partner of George Smith & Co., Sun Foundry, Glasgow, retired from that
firm in 1861, and feued four and a-half acres of land near the Monkland
railway, on which he erected a foundry. Light castings such as rain
water goods, hot water heating apparatus, gas and water pipes, were the
George Park Macindoe, a
nephew of William Dunn ot Duntocher was afterwards assumed as a partner.
Mr. Smith died about
1866, and owing to some dispute regarding valuations, etc., the business
After the works had been
closed for a year, they were acquired at public roup by Messrs. Cameron
& Roberton, under which designation they are still carried on. Mr.
Roberton, it is understood, voluntarily withdrew in 1890; but although
no longer a partner he remained in the foundry till 1892.
The works have been
largely increased since 1868, and are thoroughly equipped with railway
sidings, and sidings to canal wharf. The firm at present make a
specialty of sanitary castings, a department in which they have been
pioneers. There are about 300 men and boys employed in the works.
Has been established for
a good many years, and is carried on by Messrs. Napier, Dow & Co., who
employ about 85 people.
Under the Lion Foundry
Co., Limited, carry on a large trade in ornamental castings, and employ
200 men and boys.
THE OLD FOUNDRY
So long carried on by the
late Mr. Archibald Gilchrist, and which has since had a chequered
history, is now being repaired and adapted for the manufacture of felt.
THE NICKEL COMPANY
The works were started in
1882 by the New Caledonia Mines Company which in 1884 was amalgamated
with La Societfe Anonyme “Le Nickel” of Paris.
The raw material comes
all from New Caledonia—an island in the South Pacific ocean, and a
French convict settlement—being nickel ore, consisting of a silicate of
nickel and magnesia; and cobalt ore, consisting of oxide of cobalt,
oxide of nickel, and manganese.
The nickel ore is
smelted, and partially refined, and sent away in a concentrated form to
the various refineries belonging to the company in England, France, and
The cobalt ore is also
treated in a similar manner, and refined at the general works of the
The nickel is ultimately
sold in the market^ in the form of small cylinders called “cakes,” each
being similar in shape to a good-sized pill-box, but weighing half a
pound, and containing ninety-nine per cent, of pure nickel. Many
articles of domestic use are made or partly made of it, but the chief
market is not a peaceful but a warlike one. The new “Magazine” rifle
adopted by the Small Arms Committee of the Government, and which is a
combination of the La Belle and the Mannlicher rifles, is charged with a
cartridge containing smokeless powder and a beautiful conical bullet of
small diameter. This bullet is made ot an outside casing of nickel,
filled with lead. Nickel is also used in the coinage of Germany,
Belgium, and America.
Cobalt is largely used
for enamelling and other purposes, being the beautiful blue with which
we are all so familiar. But a still more extensive market is found for
it in the numerous and large potteries of Staffordshire, where it plays
an interesting and important part in the manufacture.
The clay if used alone
makes ware of a dirty yellow colour, but when mixed with cobalt in the
proportion of one ounce to the ton, the result is a white colour,
exactly in the same way as a laundress uses “blue” in the washing of
shirts, which without it would come out yellow, but by its means assumes
the pretty white colour we all like.
But cobalt, besides
making the Staffordshire ware appear white, is also used in the
finishing process. The blue patterns so familiar to us are printed on
paper with a preparation of cobalt and put on the ware before it enters
the furnace. The heat bums up the paper, but the blue pattern is left
imprinted on the ware like paint.
The Nickel Company work
day and night, and employ about 250 people.
THE FORTH AND CLYDE
Are carried on by Messrs.
Perry & Hope, who are manufacturers of phosphate of soda, phosphate of
ammonia phosphoric acid, etc.
MESSRS. JOHN FREW & CO.
Have been established for
many years at Parkbum Works, and manufacture wood products, moulders’
blacking, and red and iron liquors.
MR. PETER M‘GREGOR
Carries on an
old-established saw-mill at the canal-basin, and deals extensively in
MESSRS. JAMES SLIMON & CO.
Manufacture silk cloth,
tartans, ginghams or zephyrs, Thibets, etc., in which they have much
valuable machinery engaged. When in full operation they employ about 300
people, the majority being girls. The mill was established in 1867.
MR. DAVID MARSHALL
Has erected a sawmill on
Mr. John Dick Marshall’s land at Luggiebridge, where timber is cut up,
and sold or utilised.
COAL MINING, PRESENT AND
Coal mining is
extensively carried on in the north-east quarter of the parish by
Messrs. William Baird & Co., who also raise a vast quantity of ironstone
for their furnaces at Gartsherrie. Their collieries have been
established in the parish for more than thirty years. More recently,
other pits have been sunk to work the same section of minerals at
Meiklehill, now being carried on by James Wood (Limited); at Easter
Gartshore by Messrs. J. & W. Wallace; and at Woodilee by Mr. John A.
M'Callum. These works employ a very large number of men, and are of
immense importance and value to the town and parish of Kirkintilloch.
And more important still
is the future prospect of their continuance, which we regard as most
hopeful. There cannot be a reasonable doubt that the valuable minerals
which have long been worked in the eastern part of the Kelvin valley by
Messrs. William Baird & Co., and in the western end by the Carron
Company and others, will extend all through the middle of the valley and
underneath the town of Kirkintilloch. The best seams, however, in the
bulk of this unworked area lie at great depths, and will require large
capital to win them. But this will be forthcoming sooner or later when
the present more easily reached seams are getting exhausted.
It may truly be said that
Kirkintilloch was never on a sounder basis of prosperity than she is at
present, as the established industries have already filled up all the
house accommodation. She is one of the very few towns having canal and
railway accommodation so convenient, and the future development of her
mineral wealth is an inheritance for her children.
We have only one other
industry to notice, viz.:
Startle not, gentle
reader, neither rub your eyes, nor say, “I never knew that Kirkintilloch
was a seaport town.” If you did not know before, you know it now, and it
will be proved to your satisfaction before we have done.
It is true that
Kirkintilloch shipbuilders have never figured in the Glasgow Herald with
statistics, and we are unable to state the out-turn of vessels for this
year, or compare it with previous years. We can only say that a good
many new vessels have been built from first to last, and a vast amount
of repairs done, but all in a quiet, unassuming Kirkintilloch way, and
with no attempt at empty boasting or display.
At the launch of each
vessel, however, we can assure our readers that everything was done in
the most correct and orthodox manner. There was “the numerous and select
company assembled”; the lady who “gracefully performed” the ceremony of
christening; and there was the correct adjournment for lunch. Our
conservative friends—who have a monopoly of loyalty—will be glad to hear
that “the usual loyal and patriotic toasts” were always given —two
especially being on no account whatever omitted, viz., “The Queen,” and
“The Magistrates of Kirkintilloch;” and if the volume of applause
following each had been measured, truth might have awarded the latter
toast to have had the greater amount.
Besides a long list of
iron lighters, which would only be burdensome to the reader, the
following screw steamers have been successfully built and
launched:—Helena^ Lizzie Gardnerf Adelaide, Lyra, Delta, Arthur, Dina,
Albert^ Scotia, Argo, Neptune, Orion, Analine1
the last being a fine tank vessel built for Messrs. Ross & Co., of
Falkirk, to carry oil, these gentlemen being so convinced of the
excellence of the work turned out at Kirkintilloch that they sent the
order there, passing by all the shipbuilders of the Clyde, Belfast, and
Of the foregoing ships
built at Kirkintilloch it might have interested some of our readers had
we been able to give the length, breadth of beam, horse-power of
engines, etc., etc. It may suffice to say that they are all substantial,
sound, and honest ships, each capable of carrying a good bellyful. And
let no carping critic from Lenzie or Waterside say with a sneer, “Oh!
only canal scows, after all! ” No, good friend, you are wrong there;
they are all oceangoing steamers, or were, for some are lying in the
bottom of the ocean. But it would be a hard task for you to hunt up the
rest. You would find very few on the canal—you would require to go to
Belfast, Lame, Coleraine, and other ports in Ireland, and you must also
go to Montrose, Aberdeen, and other harbours in the north of Scotland.
All these steamships have
been built under the superintendence and direction, and, indeed, after
the designs, of Mr. John Thom—manager for Messrs. J. & J. Hay— who is
the father of shipbuilding in Kirkintilloch. Long may he live, and may
his shadow never grow less!
Considering what has been
already accomplished, it is a matter of regret that the Forth and Clyde
Canal was made so small, as it cramps and confines the energies of our
Kirkintilloch shipbuilders, which might otherwise have expanded to any
But, “there's a good time
coming, boys, wait a little longer.” Wait till the Forth and Clyde Skip
Canal is made, and then “you shall see what you shall sec.”