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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.


  1. 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 their Children.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 earnings.
  7. 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 Jewellery Trades.
  8. Miscellaneous 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Calico-Printing and 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Manufacture of 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Manufacture of Floorcloth
    Origin of Floorcloth—Introduction of the Manufacture into Scotland— The Scottish Floorcloth Manufactory at Kirkcaldy.
  17. 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.
  18. Manufactures in 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Manufacture of 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.
  21. Granite, Freestone, 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.
  22. 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 Brewery.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Manufacture of Confectionery
    The Confectionery Trade in Scotland—Description of Messrs Keiller & Son's Manufactory at Dundee—How Marmalade and other Confections are made.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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" Newspaper.
  29. 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.

Industrial Edinburgh
A Book issued by The Edinburgh Society for the Promotion of Trade In furtherance of the Movement In favour of Developing New Industries and Extending Existing Industries In Edinburgh, Leith, and The Lothians Edited by Thos. Stephenson, F.R.S. (1921) (pdf)

IN presenting this brochure on the development of Industry in the Lothians, the Edinburgh Society for the Promotion of Trade feels that it is making a preliminary contribution to that development which all interested in the welfare of the City desire ardently to see. The advantages of Edinburgh and its immediate vicinity in this respect have long been known, but until now no systematic compilation of information on the subject has been attempted, and it is with the view of stimulating interest in the development of an area rich in possibilities that this book has been prepared. It is hoped that its perusal by those desirous of extending their field of enterprise will lead to an increased appreciation of the possibilities of Greater Edinburgh and the utilisation of these to the advantage both of those concerned and of the City itself.

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