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The Social and Industrial history of Scotland, from the Union to the present time
Nineteenth Century: 3. The Mining, Iron, and Steel Industries


In the search for coal the geologist has rendered valuable help to the engineer by placing at his disposal scientific information as to the particular location of coal, ironstone, and oil shale in any given area, and the probable strata to be penetrated in the attempt to reach these minerals. To ascertain the actual presence of the mineral and the thickness of the seam, boring is resorted to, and for this purpose a variety of appliances, driven by steam power, are used according to the nature of the strata and the depth to be bored. The next operation is the sinking of the shaft. Before the invention of the atmospheric engine by Newcomen in 1710 the depth of mine shafts was limited by the difficulty of carrying off the water. Sixty fathoms was about the greatest depth attainable in the United Kingdom, the diameter of the shaft being at most between 7 and 8 feet. Since then this depth has been greatly exceeded, and already in 1840 the shaft at Nitshill, Renfrewshire, had a depth of 175 fathoms. By the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1887 each mine must in ordinary circumstances have at least two shafts, with which every working seam must be connected and between which there must be a communication of not less than 4 feet high by 4 feet wide. The shafts in Scotland are usually rectangular, but in recent times the circular shaft has been adopted, as at Niddrie Colliery, with a diameter of 17 feet. The eliptical form is also in use in the Wemyss Collieries in Fifeshire. For shaft making, implements and machinery of a very varied kind, according to the nature and depth of the strata to be worked through, have been devised.

The shafts having been made, main roads are constructed by blasting and drilling in the area to be worked. Two methods of working the coal are in vogue—the bord (Saxon for road) and pillar, and the long wall methods. The former, known by the local name of " stoop and room," is that mainly in use in Scotland, and consists in driving passages or "rooms" through the coal of from 12 to 20 feet wide, leaving pillars or "stoops" of the coal, between 10 to 20 yards square to support the roof of the passage. These pillars remain till the limit of the seam is reached, and are then cut away, the miner working backwards and using wood props to support the roof. By the long wall method the whole of the coal is removed as the miner works inward and the passage maintained by walling it with stone or waste. Modifications of both systems are also in operation.

Ventilation is an essential in order to dilute and remove the noxious gases in the mine and thus secure as far as possible the safety of the miner. Fire damp was long considered to be the main cause of explosion, but coal dust was ultimately found to be an equally dangerous factor, as Mr Galloway showed in 1878, though it was only in recent times that the subject was thoroughly investigated and convincing proofs of the fact accumulated. To ventilate the mine the expedient of the furnace was long in use, but this expedient has been largely superseded by ventilating fans driven by steam or electricity. The invention of the safety lamp by Sir Humphrey Davy in 1815 further contributed to the safe working of the mine.

In the early days of coal mining in Scotland, when the mines were comparatively shallow, the coal was carried by bearers along the pit bottom and up the stairway in the shaft to the pit mouth. In the mines in the eastern district these bearers were generally women and even children of tender years, and the weight carried by the women might high as several hundredweights. The physical and moral effects of such toil, protracted over 15 or even 18 hours out of the 24, were deplorably bad. Mechanical hoisting in cages drawn up the shaft by windlasses driven by horse power, and later by steam winding engines, ultimately superseded the primitive method of carrying the coal in buckets up the wet and slippery stairway. It was still in vogue in the Lothian coalfield in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the laborious operation is described by Mr R. Bald in his General Vieiv of the Coal Trade of Scotland, published in 1808. "In these collieries, where this mode is in practice, the collier leaves his house for the pit about 11 o'clock at night (attended by his sons, if he has any sufficiently old) when the rest of mankind are retiring to rest. Their first work is to prepare coals by hewing them down from the walls. In about three hours after, his wife (attended by her daughters, if she has any sufficiently grown) sets out for the pit, having previously wrapped her infant child in a blanket and left it to the care of an old woman, who, for a small gratuity, keeps three or four children at a time, and also, in their mother's absence, feeds them on ale or whisky mixed with water. The children who are a little more advanced are left to the care of a neighbour; and under such treatment it is surprising that they ever grow up or thrive. The mother having thus disposed of her younger children, descends the pit with her older daughters, when each, having a basket of suitable form, lays it down, and into it the large coals are rolled; and such is the weight carried that it frequently takes two men to lift the burden upon their backs; the girls are loaded according to their strength. The mother sets out first, carrying a lighted candle in her teeth; the girls follow, and in this manner they proceed to the pit bottom, and with weary steps and slow ascend the stairs, halting occasionally to draw breath, till they arrive at the hill or pit top, where the coals are laid down for sale, and in this manner they go for 8 or 10 hours almost without resting. It is no uncommon thing to see them, when ascending the pit, weeping most bitterly from the excessive severity of the labour; but the instant they have laid down their burden on the hill, they resume their cheerfulness and return F down the pit singing. . . . The weight of roals thus brought to the pit top by a woman in a day amounts to about 36 cwts., and there have been frequent instances of 2 tons being carried. The wages paid them for this work are eightpence per day."

Even after the abolition of this drudge system female and child labour was retained for transporting the coal from the working to the bottom of the shaft, and the report presented to Parliament in 1842 by the commissioners appointed at the instance of Lord Ashley, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury, revealed the shocking conditions under which this labour was carried on. "In the East of Scotland," the commissioners reported, "where the side roads do not exceed from 22 to 28 inches in height, the working places are sometimes 100 and 200 yards distant from the main road; so that females have to crawl backwards and forwards with their small carts in seams in many cases not exceeding 22 to 28 inches in height. The whole of these places, it appears, are in a most deplorable state of ventilation. The evidence of their sufferings, as given by the young people and the old colliers themselves, is absolutely hideous."

The result was the Act of 1842, prohibiting the employment of boys under 10 years of age, limiting the period of apprenticeship, and putting a stop to the employment of women.

The method of conveying the coal underground by small baskets was displaced by the use of larger ones shod with iron and dragged by men or horses. Still later these were superseded by small railways, wheel carriages, and to a certain extent steam haulage. Coal cutting machinery driven by compressed air is also in operation in a number of collieries. Electricity for the purpose of signalling and electric lights in the main roads are among other improvements.

The main coalfields are situated in the central counties and the largest output is still from those of Lanark and Ayr. In recent years there has, however, been an extension of the mining industry in the Lothians and Fife, and this extension eastwards has been actuated by the necessity of finding new sources in view of the steadily increasing demand and the possibility of the ultimate exhaustion of existing fields. Industrial development is dependent on coal supply. As the late Mr Stanley Jevons pointed out, "coal stands not beside, but entirely above all other commodities. It is the material source of the energy of the country—the universal aid—the factor in everything we do; without it we are thrown back into the laborious poverty of early times." For the production of iron and steel, for the generation of propulsive power on land and sea, for the working of factories, for instance, coal is an essential requisite. Britain's industrial greatness ultimately rests on its coal mines. Hence the growth of the coal output with the growth of such enterprises. This growth has, accordingly, steadily advanced during the nineteenth century, and from about the middle of it it has been almost quadrupled, though the industry has been subject to frequent strikes adversely affecting the output in the years in which they have occurred. In 1854 it was nearly million tons; in 1880 it was fully 18 millions; in 1900 it had risen to over 23 millions; in 1908 to fully 39 millions. Throughout this period Lanarkshire has held the lead of the coal producing counties with more than half the whole tonnage, its total in 1900 being over 17 millions. Fifeshire was second with about 5\ millions, Ayr third with fully 4 millions, Stirling fourth with nearly 2 millions, Midlothian fifth with 1 millions, and West Lothian sixth with fully 1 million, whilst Clackmannan, Dumbarton, and East Lothian were near or over half a million, and Renfrew occupied the lowest place with about 13,000. In 1908 the proportion for Fife had risen to nearly 8 millions, for Stirling to nearly 3 millions, Midlothian to nearly 2 millions, West Lothian to nearly 2 millions, East Lothian to over 1 million, and Renfrew to nearly 100,000.

The export of coal bulks largely in Scottish export trade, of which by far the largest portion is centred in the Firth of Forth. From the Fife ports alone upwards of 5 million tons were shipped in 1913, Methil leading the way with 3 million and taking first place as a coal shipping port in Scotland, Burntisland being next with nearly millions. The total from the ports on the south side of the Forth—Leith, Granton, Bo'ness, and Grangemouth —was considerably over 4 millions. In 1911 the total shipments from Scotland to home and foreign ports (including bunker coal) was 10 millions.

Oil shale is now mined only in Mid and West Lothian, though it is found in limited quantities in other districts and was formerly worked on a large scale at Burntisland in Fifeshire. Within the limited area mentioned it was also mined by the Clippens Oil Company at Straiton and Burdiehouse, but owing to litigation with the Edinburgh Water Trust, the Company was compelled to abandon operations. In one or two places—at St Catherine's, Liberton, near Edinburgh, and in the Broxburn district, for instance—natural oil in small quantities has been found. But practically the crude oil has to be extracted from the shale mined for the purpose, and in this respect the oil producing industry in Scotland is carried on under difficulties and disadvantages unknown in those more favoured regions of the world where the liquid is obtained from the vast reservoirs in the bowels of the earth, as in the oilfields of America, the Caspian, and Burma. "The Scottish oil," says Mr Caddell, "in its dry matrix of black shale, has first to be laboriously won—blasted out of mines hundreds of feet deep, hauled or hoisted by machinery to the light of day and crunched into small pieces between strong iron teeth, then carried perhaps some miles to the retorts, where it is carefully distilled and separated from' its earthy casing—before it ever reaches the condition of the crude petroleum that spouts up in other countries ready made."

The oil shale is described by the same authority as "a minutely laminated, or amorphous black, or dark brown clay shale containing nitrogen, hydrocarbons, and other substances of organic' origin derived from the macerated remains of plants and animals." The oil producing material in the shale was named Kerogen by Professor Crum Brown, and this substance is distilled into crude oil and refined into paraffin and other products.

The father of the industry was James Young, who was born in 1811, learned the trade of a cabinet maker at Glasgow, and after attending the lectures in chemistry of Professor Graham, became his assistant. Later he became assistant to the Professor of Chemistry at University College, London, and chemist at Tennant's Chemical Works, Manchester. Whilst occupying this latter post he was consulted by Professor Lyon Playfair about a petroleum spring in a coal pit in Derbyshire, where in 1848 he [erected works ior refining the petroleum and where for a couple of years oils and paraffin were produced until the spring was exhausted. Young rightly inferred that the oil was the result of the natural distillation of coal and coaly substances, and in the course of his experiments he discovered in 1850 at Boghead, near Bathgate, a seam of what seemed to be cannel coal, but was in reality a rich kind of oil shale which yielded 120 gallons or more of crude oil per ton. In the same year he took out a patent for the production of paraffin from bituminous coal and in partnership with Messrs Meldrum and Binney started distillation works near Bathgate. Even before the expiry of Mr Young's patent in 1864 other works began to spring up throughout the region at Broxburn, Uphall, Mid-Calder, West Calder, Kirkliston, etc., and in 1865 Mr Young started new works at Addiewell, near West Calder. The decade between 1860 and 1870, during which the number of oil works increased from 6 to 90, was a period of rapid expansion. After 1870 American competition began to tell adversely on the Scottish industry, and later this competition was aggravated by the exploitation of the oil fields of the Caspian, Galicia, Burma, and other regions. In 1880 the number of Scottish works had decreased to 26, to 14 in 1890, and 9 in 1900, and now only 7 have survived in the struggle for existence at Addiewell, Broxburn, Pumpherston, Oakbank, Dalmeny, Philipstown, and Tarbrax.

The effect of this steadily increasing competition was a lowering of the retail price of refined burning oil from about 3s. 6d. during the period of Young's patent to 4d. per gallon in 1911. But for the other substances in addition to burning oil contained in the shale, such as sulphate of ammonia, petrol, naphtha, tar, and the improvement in the machinery and the processes of production, the industry would ere now have been extinct.

Three million tons of shale are mined per annum, showing a rise of a million tons in the first decade of the twentieth century, producing 72 million gallons of crude oil, 75 per cent, of which was refined into finished products, and over 50,000 tons of sulphate of ammonia. "The advance in scientific technology," says Mr Cadell, "has led to such additional economies in the processes of manufacture that it is now possible, in spite of many adverse conditions, to work profitably seams when used to be considered too poor to be of any commercial value. Indeed sueh is the recent progress in the scientific construction of the retorts that the shale is now made to distill itself with the heat derived from its own residual combustible gases, and no fuel is required except in the temporary process of starting new plant. The waste incondensible gases and tars produced are used for fuel at various stages, and electricity lends its wonderful help in different ways. All these economies have given much importance to the question of the future life of the shalefields, in which, no doubt, an immense quantity of oil—and ammonia producing shale of various qualities—still exists for future development."

"The companies," says a writer in The Scottish Bankers' Magazine of January, 1913, "employ in their mines and works fully 10,000 men, paying in wages 1,000,000 per annum. In addition, a large number of men are indirectly employed in the production of fuel, chemicals, and plant. . . . The total capital of the six limited liability companies, whose shares are publicly quoted, is approximately 1,670,000. . . . Last year's aggregate net profits amounted to approximately 165,000."

By the beginning of the nineteenth century the annual production of pig-iron was about 20,000 tons. At the end of the third decade of the century it had grown to about 37,000, whilst the number of furnaces had risen, during the same period, from 17 to 27. The invention of the hot blast by Mr Neilson, manager of the Glasgow Gas Works, in 1828, quickly multiplied production. This expedient consisted in heating the air before injecting it into the furnaces, and the substitution of the hot for the cold blast reduced the quantity of coke consumed in the smelting of one ton of iron from 8 tons If cwts. to 2 tons 13 cwts. Raw coal instead of coke was first used at the Calder Ironworks in 1831, and its use resulted in a further saving of fuel. This substantial reduction in the cost of production gave a great impulse to the industry. By 1836 the annual total of pig-iron had risen to 75,000 tons, in 1845 to 475,000, in 1855 to 820,000, in 1865 to 1,164,000, and in 1880, 1,049,000. The highest total reached within the period 1845-80 was 1,206,000 in 1870. It thus multiplied the number of smelting works, some of which were established in the west of Fife as well as on 1|e south side of the Forth. But it was in the west that the industry attained its full development. As early as 1786 the Clyde Ironworks had been established by Mr Cadell, one of the original partners of the Carron Company, in the parish of Old Monk-land, and it was here that David Mushet, the discoverer of the "black band," and later Mr Neilson, the inventor of the hot blast, carried out the experiments that contributed so much to its development.

The most valuable deposits of ironstone are situated in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, and it was in those districts, where in 1901 there were 79 furnaces in blast, that production was centralised. Most of the works were started between 1830 and 1840. The more important of those in Lanarkshire are at Coatbridge, Coltness, Govan, Tollcross (the Clyde Works), Carnbroe, Calder, Wishaw, Sbotts; in Ayrshire, Glengarnock, Eglinton, Lugar, Dalmellington, Muirkirk, Ardeer. The largest are those at Gartsherrie, Coatbridge, belonging to Messrs Baird & Co., who were the first to apply the hot blast, and who also own the works at Eglinton and Lugar. Coatbridge, where those of the Summerlee and Langloan Companies are also situated, is in fact a town of blast furnaces. Besides pig-iron, bye-products such as tar and ammonia are obtainable by condensation of the gas given off by the coal, which is also used for heating the blast. Messrs. Baird were the first to erect machinery for this purpose in 1880.

"Blast furnaces, fairly familiar objects, are large, circular, tower-like erections. The interior, which is not straight in form, but contracts towards top and bottom, is lined with refractory fire-brick and ganister (a very refractory siliceous rock); around this is an annular space or ring filled with loose material to allow of expansion, and the outer wall of masonry is enclosed in iron sheathing strongly bound together. The furnaces range from 40 feet or so to 100 feet, and even more, in height, with internal capacity of 500 to 25,000 cubic feet or over. The modern furnaces are the highest, but it has been found that practical difficulties in working counterbalance the advantages of greater height when carried beyond a certain point. One advantage of the higher furnace is to render previous calcining of the ore less necessary, the same effect being accomplished in the upper part of the furnace. At the top of the furnacc is a gallery or platform from whence the charge is admitted. The mouth of the furnace is closed by means of a large cone, which can be lowered by a chain when the charge is being admitted and then closed again. The closed top is a modern advance. Formerly the mouth was open, and the great, lurid flames belching out made the blast furnace a picturesque feature of the district where it was erected. Many well remember the time when "Dixon's blazes," as they were familiarly called, formed a landmark in Glasgow; and when shipmasters on the Ayrshire coast could shape their course by the glare of the Ardeer furnaces. But the old order changes, and the picturesque has given way to the practical. The closed tops came into being when the gases generated in the blast furnace were utilised with resulting efficiency and economy . . . The charge consists of fuel, ore, and flux. The first is commonly coke, but may also be coal or a combination of both . . . The flux is commonly limestone, although other agents are also used. It is introduced in consequence of the impurities remaining in the ore. It combines with the silica and other prejudicial matter and forms a slag or cinder separated from the iron. A strong blast of air is introduced through piping surrounded by water tuyeres (outer casings). Powerful blowing engines force the blast into the furnace and through the charge therein. The water circulating through the tuyeres serves to cool the inlet where the heat becomes intense and might cause trouble by fusing the parts. ... As the charge becomes affected by the intense heat, chemical and other changes take place, impurities being taken up by the flux, though some others partially remain, as sulphur, phosphorous, and carbon. After these changes, fusion speedily ensues, and the molten iron falls to the bottom, the slag floating on the top, while other waste elements escape in the form of gases. ... At the bottom of the furnace is an aperture called a tapping-hole, kept closed till the melting of the iron is completed. A large bed of sand is formed in front of the furnaces in which channels are made with smaller furrows branching off from them. These are called sows and pigs respectively, whence the term pig-iron, The tap hole being opened the melted iron runs out like a stream of liquid fire, flows down the large furrows into the smaller ones, where, on cooling, it assumes the familiar form of the oblong bars called pig-iron."

The diminishing supply of ironstone led to the importation of ore from Spain and other regions, which is landed at Glasgow or Ardrossan. About 115 million tons have been mined in Scotland, and though the total Scottish ironstone has been reckoned by Professor Louis as high as 8,000 million tons, only a relatively small portion of this vast quantity can be economically utilised. The bulk of the more valuable Scottish deposits is now, in fact, exhausted, and there has been a decline in the Scottish ore mined from well over 2i millions in 1880 to over half a million in 1913. Recently, however, a large deposit has been discovered on the island of Raasay, Skye, from which the first consignment was shipped to Glasgow in 1911. On the other hand, the quantity of ore imported has risen enormously from about 42,000 tons in 1879 to nearly li millions in 1899. Another reason for this importation is the need for pig-iron free from phosphorus for the manufacture of mild steel, for which the Scottish pig-iron is unsuitable. In 1900 the output of pig-iron amounted to 1,156,885 tons and was slightly below the total of 1865, but in 1910 it had risen to 1,427,828, and in 1913 to 1,369,259. The Carron Company, which still holds a foremost place in the industry and uses only the black band from its own mines, produces over 2,200 tons per week.

The Carron Works long held the pre-eminence in the manufacture of malleable iron and iron goods, though the making of cannon, for which they were famous, ceased about the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1819 a rival appeared in the Falkirk Iron Works, which were started by some enterprising workmen from the parent company, and developed into what was for a time the second largest foundry in Scotland. By the year 1880 there were 21 foundries in the district, which, with the Carron Works, gave employment to 6,000 men. Foundries also sprang up at Edinburgh, Leith, Dalkeith, Kirkcaldy, Dundee, and Aberdeen. At Carron, besides the famous "carronades," as the small cannon were named, the articles manufactured were mainly those in domestic use, such as stoves, grates, cooking ranges, boilers, pots, rain pipes. At the Falkirk Works, which in 1848 passed into the hands of the Messrs Kennard, the products included the castings of iron bridges, such as the Solway Viaduct, and a large variety of artistically designed articles for practical or ornamental use.

With the development of the pig-iron industry the production of cast iron and malleable iron also shifted its centre to the west, many of the foundries being connected with the blast furnaces, though this connection ultimately ceased, and iron manufacture became a separate industry. Coatbridge is the chief centre of it, but Motherwell and Wishaw are good seconds. Before the substitution of mild steel for iron in shipbuilding and other industries, large forgings in the shape of plates, armour, shafts, etc., were produced, and it was to meet the necessity for a more serviceable instrument in forging huge products of this sort than the tilt hammer of James Watt that James Nasmyth, the engineer and son of the painter, invented the steam hammer in 1839. Cast iron is manufactured for castings, such as water and gas pipes. It is hard and brittle and cannot be welded or rivetted and is not pliable. Malleable iron, on the other hand, is ductile and fibrous and can be bent, twisted, welded, and rivetted. Its manufacture begins in the puddling furnace, in which the melting pig-iron is stirred or puddled by an iron rod, usually moved by the hand of the puddler, but in some works by mechanical means, until it attains a certain degree of consistency. The quantity of pig-iron, known as "a charge" placed in the furnace at one time, is about cwts., and the time occupied in puddling it is from two to three hours, so that five or six charges can be worked in twelve hours, the quantity of pig-iron used in the puddling of a ton of puddled iron being from 22 to 23 cwts. The charge is then conveyed in portions to the steam hammer, which expels the slag or dross and beats it into shape, the "shingler" turning it on the anvil between each stroke. It is then passed into the rolling mill to be drawn into bars. Thereafter it is cut into short lengths, and these are transferred to the "re-heating furnace " in the proportionate number required for the manufacture of a specific bar, heated to the welding point, removed and rolled again, and finally cut by a circular saw to the required length. In the case of the finer quality of iron a second welding and rolling is added, gas furnaces of the Siemens type being now largely used in the reheating process. The work of the puddler and other skilled operatives is a very exacting and exhausting one, demanding close attention and great physical exertion.

The substitution of steel for iron has greatly limited the purposes for which iron is used. Nevertheless the quantity produced is still relatively large. In 1867 the number of puddling furnaces in operation was about 400, that of rolling mills 50, which produced 143,800 tons of malleable iron. In 1900 there was about the same number of furnaces at work at Coatbridge, Motherwell, and Wishaw, and the produce was 147,904 tons. The number of firms engaged in the industry was 22, owning 25 works.

"No new process having been introduced in the manufacture of puddled iron," says Mr Wylie, "the fundamental principles are just the same as have been in operation for the last 50 years or more, so that the only means of lowering the costs, in order to meet the keen competition of modern times, is by adopting from time to time all the minor improvements in furnaces and machinery, whereby the waste of material and consumption of fuel is lessened and the output increased, while the general wages and charges are reduced. In this respect the various works have not been slow in adopting any means which they considered would be a benefit to them in their respective branches."

The output of malleable iron is now far outdistanced by that of steel. Several attempts were made in Scotland in 1857 and the following years to manufacture steel by the Bessemer process, but the results were not satisfactory, owing to the unsuitability of Scottish pig-iron. In 1871 the Steel Company of Scotland was formed for the manufacture of steel by the Siemens, or acid open-hearth process, at Hallside, Newton, and up to the year 1879 this Company was the sole manufacturer of steel in Scotland. In 1878 its output had risen to about 42,000 tons, and two years later (1880) it acquired the Blochairn Works at St Rollox, Glasgow. In the previous year Mr Beardmore erected furnaces at the Parkhead Works in the same city. From this date to the end of the century a considerable number of other works were established in Glasgow and the west. Among the largest are those of Beardmore & Co., the Steel Company of Scotland, David Colville & Sons, Motherwell; the Lanarkshire Steel Company, Flemington; the Glasgow Iron and Steel Company, Wishaw; the Glengarnock Iron and Steel Company; the Summerlee and Mossend Iron and Steel Company. In 1899 there were 115 open-hearth furnaces and the average number in operation during this year was 90. Already in 1883, the output had risen to 230,000 tons of ingots, yielding over 90,000 tons of plates, 35,000 tons of angles and bars, and 20,000 tons of sundry products. In 1900 the total of ingots was nearly 1 million tons, yielding 300,589 tons of plates and angles, 199,359 of bars, etc., and 56,839 tons of blooms and billets,—a total of 016,787 tons of finished steel. In 1912 the total of finished steel had swelled to nearly 1 million.

A corresponding advance has taken place in the equipment of the industry. In 1885 the largest smelting furnaces had a capacity of about from 15 to 20 tons. In 1900 it had risen to from 50 to 60 tons with a corresponding improvement in the appliances for handling such large quantities of molten steel. The old coal-fired horizontal furnace has been superseded by the vertical gas-fired regenerative furnace with cranes of various type for charging and drawing the ingots. The steam hammer has been displaced by the modern slab cogging mill, with the necessary appliances, worked by hydraulic power, and capable of turning out from 60 to 70 tons of steel per hour. The plate and bar mills have been similarly equipped. Such appliances have become a necessity in view of the largely increased size of steel slabs and plates, with the result of lessening the strain of manual labour and effecting economy in production.

Some firms like the Messrs Beardmore and the Messrs Brown combine steel production with shipbuilding, and are capable of building and equipping the largest warships and other vessels from their own resources. Many other firms are engaged in one or other of the branches of mechanical engineering, such as iron and brassfounding, boilermaking, machine toolmaking, the making of sugar machinery, locomotives, motor cars, textile machinery, sewing machines, agricultural implements and machinery, electrical plant, sanitary, lighting, and heating appliances. Not a few of them occupy a leading position in their specific industry and send their products all over the world. The North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow, for instance, sends locomotives to India, Japan, South Africa, America, and elsewhere, and formerly to Germany. It employs between 7,000 and 8,000 men, and turned out in 1911 7,340 locomotives. In the same year the Caledonian Railway Company's Works at St Rollox completed 2,758, the North British Railway Company's Works at Cowlairs 2,351, and those of the Glasgow and Southwestern Railway at Kilmarnock also 2,351.


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