Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Glenboig, North Lanarkshire – History.

The Glenboig Star Fire Brick Works and the Glenboig Fireclay Works joined to form the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Glenboig which by the end of the 19th century was reputed to be the largest fireclay company in the world.

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Fire-clay brick manufacture began in the Scottish central belt near Glenboig in the 1830s.  The manufacture began some 4-5 miles west of Glenboig in Garnkirk at Cardowan Fireclay in 1833/4, near the village of Gartcosh.  The records show that in 1836 a John Hillcoat (Robert?)  was engaged in firebrick melting at Garnqueen, but in spite of the fact that the fireclay in the Gartcosh, Garnkirk and Cardowan areas was inferior to that at Garnqueen, John Hillcoat didn’t enjoy great success because in 1860, some 26 years later, the population of the village of Garnqueen only numbered 120.  In this period, it would appear that the village acquired the name ‘Glenboig’, and Garnqueen was incorporated into Glenboig village.  [By 1891 the population was 1,500, and in 1981 it was 2,000].
By 1843 Glenboig Fire Brick and Tile Works was owned by Mr John Thomson, and the original works (the Old Works) was built beside the Monkland-Kirkintilloch railway.  Around 1860, Messrs Thomson, McLean & Company acquired the right to work the fireclay in the Glenboig area, and firebricks were beginning to be produced on a much larger scale.  Messrs Hurll, Young & Company were operating at Heathfield and Cardowan works, using the same seam of clay, although of a different quality, and they took over from Thomson McLean & Co in 1865, forming the Glenboig Fireclay Company with Mr James Dunnachie as Managing Partner. Source
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Robert Hillcoate is known to have been working the fireclays in Glenboig beginning in 1836.  By 1843 Hillcoate was gone and John Thomson was managing director of Glenboig Firebrick & Tile Works.  In 1858 James Dunnachie joined the company as secretary and salesman.  In 1860 Thomson was joined by Richard Smith and Charles McLean as partners in Thomson, McLean & Company. 

Dunnachie persuaded John Hurll and John Young to join him after the death of Smith in 1865 and The Glenboig Fire Clay Company was formed.  The partnership was broken up in 1873 when Dunnachie left to build the Glenboig Star Works (see below), John Young left to concentrate on his Heathfield and Cardowan interests and John Hurll stayed on at Glenboig. 

It could, of course, be Mclean Thomson & Co but all references appear to refer to Thomson Mclean & Co – if it is Mclean Thomson & Co (which would account for the capital N before the Thomson then there would need to also be some lettering prior to the Glenboig to keep up the symmetry of the brickmark.

1836 – Robert Hillcoate is known to have been working the fireclays in Glenboig, beginning in 1836

1841 – 1842 – Hillcoate & Thomson, fire brickworks, Glenboig, Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway, store Garnkirk and Glasgow railway, Townhead. Orders left at A. & J. Nisbet’s, ironmongers, 100 Trongate

1843 – 1844 –  Glenboig Fire Brick Work. P W Dixon, Agent, 107 Buchannan Street, Glasgow. Store Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway Depot, Townhead. Orders left at A & J Nisbet, 100 – 102 Trongate.

1843 – 1844 – John Thomson, Fire brick maker, Glenboig Store, Garnkirk Railway Depot, Townhead. Orders left at  100 – 102 Trongate.

1846 – 1847 – John Thomson, fire-brick maker, Glenboig, parish of New Monkland. Orders left at A. & J. Nisbet’s, 100 and 102 Trongate.

04/09/1846 – Glasgow Herald – Labourers wanted – apply Glenboig Fire Brick Works, Garnqueen Station.

31/08/1847 – Greenock Advertiser – On Saturday last, while a young man named Thomson was superintending the blasting of fire clay at Glenboig fire brick and tile works, an explosion took place by which he was thrown upwards of 50 feet into the air and fell amongst a heap of stones. The youth had been dreadfully burned in the face and has had one of his legs broken and has altogether sustained such severe injuries that his life is despaired of.

1849 – 1850 – John Thomson, Glenboig Fire Brick Works. Orders left at 180 Trongate.

24/05/1850 – Glasgow Herald – The subscribers pay their labourers their wages daily if required. John Thomson & Co. Glenboig Fire Brick Works.  22/05/1850.

21/06/1850 – Glasgow Herald – Death – At Glasgow – on the 15th, of consumption, Anna Hillcoate, teacher, Lochranza, Isle of Arran, daughter of the late Mr Nichol Hillcoate, bricklayer and brick manufacturer of Gartsherrie and Glenboig.

06/09/1850 –  Glasgow Herald –  The co-partnership carried on by the subscribers as sole partners under the firm of John Thomson & Co, Fire brick and tile makers at Glenboig, in the Parish of New Monkland, has been dissolved on this date by mutual consent. The debts due by the Company will be liquidated and the debts due to the Company will be uplifted and discharged by the subscriber, Mr Thomson. Glasgow 04/09/1850 – Thomas Hill (Hillcoate?) and John Thomson.  Witnesses – James Keyden and Adam Paterson.

14/10/1851 – Greenock Advertiser – Deaths – At Milton Street, Glasgow on the 12th inst, of consumption of the lungs, Mr Nichol Hillcoate, son of the late Nichol Hillcoate Esq, bricklayer and manufacturer of bricks at Gartsherrie and Glenboig.

Below – 1852 – Advert for John Thomson and Co, Glenboig.

1853 – Imported brands continued to be preferred even though local fire bricks were being made by this time. In 1853 ten thousand fire bricks were imported for use in the Sydney Mint, Australia where there were a number of furnaces and boilers, and these were branded: Upward arc of lettering STAR WORKS J [six-pointed star] D GLENBOIG
James Donnachie manufactured these at the Glenboig Star Fire Brick Works near Glasgow, and he claimed to be the sole manufacturer of bricks for the Siemens furnace. They were shown at Sydney in 1879 and Melbourne in 1880. In 1888 – 1889 fire bricks were shown at Melbourne by what must have been a descendant or related company, the Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co Limited of Glasgow.

12/01/1855 – Glasgow Herald – Royal Patriotic Fund, Lanarkshire – Contributors – John Thomson & Co Glenboig

04/06/1856 – Glasgow Herald – The Estate of Glenboig for sale. Also references the Glenboig Firebrick and tile works possessed by Mr Thomson which will be exposed for sale separately. Glasgow 06/05/1856.

c. 1858 – James Dunnachie joins the company as a bookkeeper and traveller.

Below – 1858 – Glenboig Firebrick Works.

OS Map 1858 - Glenboig Firebrick Works

Below – 1858  – Glenboig Firebrick Works.

1860 – John Thompson is joined by Richard Smith and Charles Mclean under the partnership name of Thompson McLean and Co.

Below – 14/12/1860 – Glasgow Herald – Advert for sale of lands at Inchnouch, adjoining the Estate of Glenboig. The lands are understood to contain fire clay and plastic clay, cement and sand, some of which have been wrought to advantage in the adjoining lands …

02/08/1861 – Glasgow Herald – Reference to Mr James Thomson (not John ?), Glenboig Fireclay Works being available to show potential tenants around the adjoining Inchnouch Farm, New Monkland.

1861 – 1862 – Thomson, McLean, & Co., fireclay manufacturers, Glenboig, by Coatbridge, 49 West George Street.

1865 – Richard Smith of Thompson McLean and Co. dies and the company dissolves.

1865  – James Dunnachie takes over the company and forms the Glenboig Fire-clay Co with John Hurll and John Young, themselves pioneer firebrick manufacturers. They pay £5,000 for the works.

Below06/01/1866 – Glasgow Herald – Thomson, McLean & Co, Fire brick manufacturers, Glenboig of which  Charles McLean and the Late Robert Smith were partners has been dissolved on the death of Smith (28/10/1865). Mr Smiths trustees will carry on the brick business. Mr McLean has left the brick business to continue other interests.

20/01/1866 – Perrys Bankrupt Gazette – Scotch partnership dissolved – Charles McLean and Augusta V. A Smith, deceased, fire brick manufacturers, Glenboig, near Coatbridge and Glasgow, 23rd Oct.

25/05/1871 – Greenock Telegraph – Mad freak – Early on Tuesday morning a fearful explosion of gunpowder, resulting from the freak of a collier, occurred at Inchneuk Cottages, Glenboig Brickworks, by Coatbridge. A miner named Stewart McCandlish occupied one the cottages, in which there resided, besides himself and wife, two lodgers named William Beckett and Francis McMahon. On Monday McCandlish and the two lodgers had been indulging in a carouse, which was prolonged till about one o’clock Tuesday morning, the three men sitting the fire with bottles and glasses drinking and joking. The fire, having become low, McCandlish took a cask of powder which kept for use in blasting, and taking it below his arm, commenced throwing handfuls of powder from the cask into the fire. Ere long the powder ignited, and a fearful explosion ensued. The house was broken to pieces, the door being broken into splinters, and the three men much injured. The two lodgers, Beckett and McMahon, who had remained sitting at the fire while McCandlish threw in the powder, were severely cut and burned about their heads and arms; while McCandlish was blown completely out of the house some distance. When picked up, it was found that he was also dangerously hurt; but providentially Mrs McCandlish, who was bed at the time, escaped without the slightest injury. James Donnachie, Esq, of the Glenboig Works, who was at once sent for, bestowed every attention on the injured men and sent for Dr Murray of Muirhead. On the doctor’s arrival, he ordered the removal of the three men to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and a conveyance being kindly granted for that purpose by Mr Donnachie, Beckett and McMahon were removed without delay. McCandlish, however, would not allow himself to be taken. The whole of the men remain in a very precarious condition, little hope being entertained of their recovery.

1872  – When the Dunnachie, Hurll and Young partnership folded in 1872, Dunnachie built the Star Works immediately adjacent to the Old Works, and in competition with them. His bricks, at that time, bore the legend J. D. and the title “Star Works, Glenboig” or “Glenboig” with a star imprinted below the word. Hurll and Young went off and started the Cardowan Fireclay Company together and took over the Heathfield Brickworks which had started c. 1833.

1872 – 1873 –  James Dunnachie (of the Glenboig Fire Clay Co.) Glenboig cottage, near Coatbridge.

Below – 26/12/1873 – Edinburgh Gazette – Glenboig Fire Clay Co taken over by John Hurll.

Glenboig Hurll THE EDINBURGH GAZETTE, DECEMBER 26, 1873.

Below – 03/05/1878 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Paris Exhibition.

05/04/1878 – The Scotsman – Paris Exhibition  – The following Scottish Companies will contribute – The Glenboig Fireclay Company, Coatbridge send samples of brick specially adapted for resisting the most intense heat. These bricks are largely used in the iron, steel and chemical works of Newcastle, Cleveland and West Cumberland districts while more than a million are forwarded yearly to Germany, Russia and Belgium. The fireclay used in them is, in point of geological position, the lowest known in the Lanarkshire carboniferous formation being at Palace Craig 700 yards below the surface, though owing to some upheaval it is worked at Glenboig at a depth of 40 yards.

10/09/1878 – Glasgow Herald – Paris Exhibition – In class 66 (Architectural and building materials) the Glenboig Fire Clay Company, 68 Bath Street, Glasgow are to receive a silver medal. Mr James Dunnachie, Glenboig Star Fire Brick Works, 2 West Regent Street is awarded 2 silver medals – 1 in class 66 and the other in class 43(metals and refractory materials) including tuyeres, runners, plugs, stoppers, etc for use in Bessemer & Siemens Steel processes.

25/05/1880 – Greenock Advertiser – Honours to Scottish exhibitors – James Dunnachie, Star Fire Clay Works  – Refractory fire bricks, gas retorts, etc.

Below – 23/04/1881 – Lanarkshire Upper Ward Examiner  – Robert Armstrong injured at the Star Fire Clay Works when the gunpowder ignited in his hand.

Below – 28/05/1881 – Dundee Courier – Prosecution under the factory Act  – John Hurll, Proprietor of the Glenboig Fire Clay Works. Prosecuted re the death of Jane Davidson.

04/11/1881 – Dundee Courier – A letter was read from the Glenboig Fire Clay Company stating that they were working up to stoop the fireclay below the school at Glenboig and the matter was remitted to the clerk to examine the plans and report at the next meeting.

1882 – The Starworks and the Old Glenboig Works companies decided to amalgamate as the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Ltd with Dunnachie as Managing Director.

1882  – The Cumbernauld Fire-clay Co (founded 1874) or Cumbernauld Fireclay Works and Mine, had works beside the Caledonian Railway with fire-clay from Abronhill. In 1882 the Works are sold for £4000 to the newly formed Glenboig Union Fire-Clay Co, under James Dunnachie. The company was registered on 26 August, to acquire the businesses known as the Glenboig Fire Clay Works and the Glenboig  Star Fire Clay Works, carried on by James Dunnachie and the Glenboig Fire Clay Co respectively at Glenboig, near Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. 

Dunnachie’s invention of a gas kiln for firing bricks was to earn him even greater praise and money. The gas kilns first proved themselves at the Company’s works at Glenboig, Cumbernauld and Gartcosh, as they allowed greatly increased temperatures and considerable savings in fuel costs.

Palacerigg Mine 1884-1958 called the “Glen Cryan Mine” was first run by Glenboig Union Fireclay Co. Amalgamated with General Refractories of Sheffield (but continued to trade in Scotland under the Glenboig name).

Below – 1883 – The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Limited, 4 West Regent Street, and Glebe Street, St Rollox, Glasgow.

1883 The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Limited, 4 West Regent Street, and Glebe Street, St Rollox, Glasgow

Below –  03/02/1883 – Glenboig Evening Post –

23/05/1883 – Glasgow Herald  –  James Dunnachie and others V John Young & Sons – This was a court case initiated By Dunnachie following Mr Young, Heathfield Fire Clay Works stamping fire bricks ‘Young’s, Glenboig’ in 1882. Dunnachie claimed the word Glenboig was his trademark. Young claimed he used the word Glenboig not to gain by inferring his brick was made at the superior Glenboig fire clay works but because it used the same seam of clay at Glenboig.  The court found that Young’s could use the name Glenboig as they were using Glenboig clay but they must be careful not to infer that their bricks marked Glenboig were actually made at Dunnachies Glenboig works ( At least I think that is the outcome!)

17/09/1883 – The Scotsman – The following is the list of awards to Scottish exhibitors at the International, Colonial and Export Exhibition, Amsterdam 1883. Gold medal – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited, Glasgow.

Below – 17/01/1885 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping List – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company Limited.

26/01/1885 – The Scotsman – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company Limited V John Young & Son. – Another court case brought about by the Heathfield works using the Glenboig trademark. Heathfield appears not to have adhered to the Court’s decision in 1883 that they were wrong to use the Glenboig name.

26/08/1885 – Dundee Courier – The Antwerp Exhibition – Scotch awards – Gold medal, Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd. They also received a bronze.

Below 1886 – Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Advert – Also note “contractors to her majesty’s home and Indian Governments ” – At this time or thereafter I theorise that Glenboig started to add a  ‘crown’ design to their bricks.

22/05/1886 – Falkirk Herald – Fatal pit accident – On Wednesday a lad named James Guthrie, Jun., 18 years of age, son of miner residing at Glenboig, was killed while at work in the fireclay pit at the Star Brickwork, Glenboig. He had been employed drawing water in the pit when a mass of clay came down upon him. His skull was fractured, and his right arm torn off at the elbow. He expired almost immediately after the accident.

24/07/1886 – London Daily News – Prospectus for Thomas Carr and Son, Fireclay manufacturers … The new gas process is already in operation in some of the largest Fireclay and Brick and Tile Works in the Kingdom, amongst which are the following: Glenboig Star and Cumbernauld Fire Clay Works of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company and the Garnkirk Fireclay Works …

04/10/1886 – Annual General Meeting of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co records John Gilchrist Stein as a shareholder.

Below – 05/02/1887 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping List – Glenboig Union Fire-Clay Co Ltd.

1888 –  In 1888 the architect Clarence Backhouse clad a whole of the front facade in Glenboig bricks at the NSW Electric Light and Power Supply building in Kent Street, Sydney, Australia.  These were not necessarily the ‘Starworks’ bricks from Glenboig referred to above, but possibly the products of the Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co, which were currently on show at the Centennial International Exhibition.

16/10/1889 – Glasgow Evening Citizen – The annual meeting of the above company was held today at 4 West Regent Street. Mr John Wilson, M.P., who presided, in moving the adoption of the report, mentioned that the company had received two gold medals and a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition; a medal from the Barcelona Exhibition – the first prize for fire-clay refractory brick. They had written off since the beginning of the company in 1883 as much as the cost of all the additional plant they had put down in the old works, as well as the cost of putting the whole work into proper shape.  They had also written off, so far as depreciation was concerned, the plant they had erected for the steelwork bricks and had practically written off the Cumbernauld works, which had cost them £4000. They now stood in the same position as they did in 1833 with a capital of £110,000. That, he thought, very creditable, while they had also this year added to the dividend of the company  50% l from what it was in the previous year. He thought that the year upon which they had entered would prove very much more satisfactory than even the last. (Applause.) The prospects of trade were such that they could hardly keep pace with the demand, although they had added to the production of the old Glenboig works since taking them over nearly a third more. He concluded by moving that report be adopted, and that a dividend at the rate of 6 per cent, per annum, free of income-tax, be declared. Mr Craig having seconded, the report was adopted, and the dividend accordingly declared. On the motion of Mr Young, seconded by Mr Hamilton, Mr James Craig and Mr William Kennedy were re-elected as directors. A vote thanks to the Chairman terminated the meeting.

1890 – The Glenboig Union Fireclay Company took over operation of Gartcosh Works (perhaps this means the fire-brick works?)

12/04/1890 – Lanarkshire Upper Ward Examiner – Article about a social meeting of Glenboig and district railway employees … the other day a gentleman asked Mr Dunnachie in my hearing, how many bricks do you produce in a day? Mr Dunnachie replied one hundred thousand …

17/09/1890 – Dundee Courier – Dividends – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited at a rate of 10%.

10/10/1890 – Glasgow Herald – Awards at Edinburgh exhibition – Diploma of honour – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited, Glenboig near Coatbridge and Cumbernauld – Fire bricks, silica brick, sewage pipes and fittings.

1890 – 91 – John A Robertson, Shipping Clerk, Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co, 4 West Regent Street, Glasgow. House 93 North Fredrick Street.

1891 – Our London letter. Otago Daily Times, Issue 9176, 24 July 1891, Page 3

New Zealand Crown Mines Company registers in Scotland and  James Dunnachie Glenboig is one of the first directors.

New Zealand Crown Mines Company - James Dunnachie Glenboig

1891 – Old Works and Star Works, Glenboig.

27/10/1891 – James Dunnachie – Brick kiln patent.  James Dunnachie, of Glenboig, Scotland. Brick Kiln – Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 462,036, dated October 27, 1891.

Application filed November 4; 1890. Serial- .No. 370,308. (No model) T0 all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, James Dunnachie, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and a resident of Glenboig, in the county of Lanark, Scotland, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Kilns for Firing Fire-Bricks, Earthenware, and the Like, of which the following is a specification.

My said invention relates to kilns of the kind described in my patent specification, No. 268,771, dated December 5, 1882; and my present object is to improve the operation of such kilns by supplementing the supply of heat at a particular stage of the actions, so as to rapidly drive off moisture from the bricks or other articles prior to the application of the strongest heat.

In the arrangement of kilns to which my present improvements are to be applied a number of chambers or kilns are combined in such manner that the successive stages of heating, tiring, and cooling are passed through by each in rotation. The firing is effected by the combustion of producer gas, or other suitable gas, in one chamber, and the hot gases after acting in that chamber pass through ports or flues into the next chamber, and thence through one or more other chambers, so as to utilize their gradually-diminishing heat in heating to different degrees the articles in the several chambers. On the tiring having continued long enough in one chamber the combustible gas is shut off from that chamber and admitted to the next one in order. Air is admitted into the chamber containing the already-tired articles, and while cooling them is itself thereby heated, and this heated air, being led through flues or ports into the next chamber, supplies what is required for the combustion of the gas, at the same time utilizing the heat it has taken up. The flues or passages communicating-between the several chambers and those through which the gas is supplied are made with numerous small ports so that the gases are equally distributed over the chambers and uniform action is thereby secured.

By my present invention I provide for introducing into each chamber during whatever stage of the operations may be thought best a number of comparatively small jets of gas for rapidly driving off moisture from the bricks or other articles in the chamber, these jets issuing through orifices suitably distributed in the floor on  the chamber and communicating with one or more special supply flues beneath.

In order that my said invention and the manner of performing the same may be properly understood, I hereunto append a sheet of explanatory drawings, to be hereinafter referred to, and showing the application of my improvements.

Figures l and 2 of the drawings are respectively a vertical section and a horizontal section showing a portion of the series of chambers or kilns A A2 A3 A4, composing a set or system of kilns for tiring fire-bricks, earthenware, and the like. If we suppose a charge of bricks to have been just fired in chamber A’, air admitted into that chamber and taking up heat will pass through ports B down into a flue C’, thence through ports into a flue D, and up through ports the passage through Which is controlled by damper slabs into an upper flue E. From the flue E the heated air issues by numerous small ports into the chamber A2 and mixes at once with combustible gas issuing upward through ports F2 from a flue G2, receiving the gas through ports from a supply-flue H2. There are similar ports and flues in connection with each chamber, as indicated by like reference letters distinguished by different numerals, and there are also communications between the chambers at the upper parts of the division-walls, as and for the purposes described in my earlier specification, hereinbefore referred to.

According to my present invention, there are formed under the floor of each chamber or kiln two small gas-supply flues J, which are indicated by dotted lines in Fig. 2 and which communicate with the chamber by a number of small jet-orifices K, which I term steaming-holes, as the ignited jets from them cause the moisture from the bricks or other articles in the chamber to be driven off in steam. The lower part of the right-hand end of Fig. l is delineated in section, as at the line L L in Fig. 2, and shows the connection of the small supplementary flues J by a cross-flue M with the larger gas-supply flue H4.

A damper-slab N is provided for closing the opening between the flues M and H4 and is got at through an opening above, to cover which a slab P is provided. When gas is to be admitted to the supplementary flues J of any chamber, it is shut off by a damper or valve Q from the part of the flue H4 communicating with the flue G4 of that chamber.

I claim as my invention- In kilns for firing {ire-brick, earthenware, and the like, a series of firing-chambers having gas-supply flues and ports and dampers therefor, and flues connecting adjacent chambers near the gas-ports to conduct air heated in one chamber into the next, in combination with additional gasp-fines J, and jet-orifices therefrom opening into the bottom of the chambers, said ‘gas-fines . I connecting with the aforesaid gas-supply Hues and being provided with dampers, all substantially as described. i

In testimony whereof, I have signed my name to this specification in the presence of two subscribing Witnesses.

James Dunnachie. Witnesses: David Ferguson, Richard Baxter.

dunnachie kiln patent

1891 – 1892  Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd. James Dunnachie – Manager. John Gray Secretary.

Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd. James Dunnachie - Manager. John Gray Secretary

Below  – 1891 – 92 –  Glenboig Advert  James Dunnachie Managing Director. John Trench – Secretary. Nocilis Silica bricks. Also, note “contractors to her majesty’s home and Indian Governments and the leading National Arsenals”

Glenboig Advert 1890 - 91 - James Dunnachie Managing Director. John Trench - Secretary. Nocilis Silica bricks

Below – 21/05/1892 – Clyde Bill of Entry and Shipping List – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company.

Below  – 1893 – Advert Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company.
1893 - Advert Glenboig Union Fire clay Company

1894  – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co attend the Antwerp Exhibition. Fire-bricks.

Below – 08/03/1894 – Dundee Courier – Dundee Gas Commission accept tenders. Prices given.

Below – 20/10/1894 – Glasgow Herald – Court case against the Caledonian Railway Company and the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company.

Below – 21/11/1895 – Glasgow Herald – Glenboig brick supervisor drowns while overseeing the loading of bricks onto the Duisburg.

Below – 1896  – Advert Glenboig Union Fireclay Coy.

1896-advert-glenboig-union-fireclay-coy

1897 – Link to a map of Glenboig showing the various brickworks.

19/10/1897 – The Scotsman – Brussels International Exhibition – The Diploma of Honour, an award higher than the gold medal has been given to the Glenboig Fireclay Union Company Limited at the Brussels International Exhibition for their exhibit of fire bricks and furnace blocks and 2 silver medals for sanitary and vitrified goods.

23/03/1898 – Glasgow Herald – Joiners (2) wanted – steady men. Wages 30s per week. Apply to the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd, Glenboig.

08/10/1898 – Dundee Courier – Glenboig Union Fire-Clay Company. The report of the Glenboig Union Fire-Clay Company for the year ending 31st August, 1898 states that the sum at the credit of profit and loss account (including balance of £825 12s 6d brought forward from last year) is £16,210 8s 8d, from which there has been written off for depreciation £2000, leaving a nett profit of £14,2108s 8d. From this sum, it is proposed to pay a dividend 10 per cent, (less income tax), payable on 10th November next. This dividend would amount to £13,500 and would leave a balance of £710 8s to be carried forward to the current year.

1899 – Rawmoan Fireclay Pit, Glenboig. It lay half a mile north of the Hurll’s Gartliston Works and was connected to it by a mineral railway. It was working prior to 1899 but had closed by 1914.

Below – 31/08/1899 – Lloyds List – The daily register of British industries. The following classified list of British industries, containing the name of firms celebrated throughout the Kingdom for the various manufacturers for which they are associated, is compiled for the guidance of buyers in the different markets of the world.

Below – August 1899 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1899

Below – 11/10/1899 – The Scotsman – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited annual report.

19/05/1900 – Bellshill Speaker – Motherwell and Belshill Railway Bill … Mr James Dunnachie, managing director of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited, Cumbernauld, Gartcosh and Glenboig said his firm had experience of competing lines at Glenboig and they found the competition resulted in a reduction of rates and various other benefits …

1901  – The clay miners went on a strike, broken only after 10 long months when the management brought in blackleg labour.

Below – Feb 1901 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1901

17/07/1901 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Saturday night in the village –  On Saturday last, when the “Journal’s” commissioner again visited the village, he found the strikers enjoying a well-earned relaxation after the excitement of the previous Wednesday.  An equally contested football match was attracting the attention of younger bloods, while the scores of older men were at peace with the world in the collier like the recreation of sitting on their “hunkers” at the corners and doorsteps.  Others and these, for the most part, were brick-workers, labourers, and blacklegs were finding pleasure in partaking of “flowing bowl” in the village pub.  The women folks, proud in the possession of their men’s ailment or dearly-bought wages were making preparations for a journey tot he Brig to lay past the weeks provisions.  Policemen patrolled the rows, and inwardly anathematized everything and everybody, for in these troublous days the lot of the Glenboig policeman is not cast in pleasant places.  In the afternoon there were no indications of any trouble or disorder, but as the day advanced, and the visitation of the blacklegs to the village hostelry became very frequent and prolonged, things took a livelier turn.  Suddenly the cry of “police” was raised, and a general rush was made to the Station Road.  Here a sturdily-built workman, whose clothes were besmeared with blood, and whose head was a mass of cuts and bruises, was being borne home by a few boon companions.  It transpired that he was a blackleg and that in return for some insolence he had been assaulted, somewhat brutally, by a person or persons unknown.  The police set to investigate the matter, and the result of their inquiries was subsequently communicated to the “Journal” man.  “I am afraid sir,” said the constable,  “this incident must be written down in the books as another strike mystery.  The assaulted person is an ex-army man, and a blackleg to boot.  He has a very hazy recollection of what occurred, while his companions, who are his fellow-lodgers ad fellow-blacklegs, are equally as dense.  judging from their present state of unfitness, it is now possible to get at the culprits from that side, and you can believe it’s most unlikely we’ll get anything from the strikers.  Mind you I have the firm belief that the strikers know something about this.  But scenes like these are of very frequent occurrence just now.”  In the course of the conversation, the policeman remarked to our representative that his sympathies were entirely the strikers.  “It’s a crying shame,” he added,  “that men like that (pointing to an unwashed, unshaven, slightly elevated, and tattered parasite) should be sent here to disturb the peace and respectability of the village.  Would you believe it, sir, but these men, although they have worked together for two months now, don’t know each other’s names.  Some of them claim to be of English extraction, but I know different – they’re from the old country. I’m an Irishman myself, and I’m right down sorry that louts like these have been guilty of another injustice to Ireland.  It would, indeed, be a pity if they openly acknowledged that they hailed from the Emerald Isle.”  “And what about the Poles.” interjected our representatives.  “It strikes me rather forcibly,” said the officer,  “that the motto of the Poles should be for the hostile demonstration that took place. ‘nemo me imputie lacessit,” and for the reason that the strikers stand in mortal fear of these foreigners.  The Glenboig Pole is constantly armed with a bottle, and if he’s interfered with, then a thousand pities on the poor devil who is daring enough to do it.”  proceeding to recapitulate some of the scenes at the evictions the constable held the opinion that the Sheriff officers had themselves solely to blame for the hostile demonstration that took place.  Although these minions of the law had passed the sergeant of police at Glenbiog Station they never once thought of acquainting him with the object of their mission. “And I can assure you,” added the officer., in an undertone.  “I was mightily glad to see them taking shelter in that hay shed yonder.”

     Leaving the policeman, our representative found Mr John Leonard, the local President of the Union, and in the course of conversation referred to the statement that some of his men before the strike were making 7s 81/2d a shift.  On putting the matter plainly, however, the Chairman acknowledged that the standard rate was 5s a shift.  It was suggested at one of the conferences that the question should be referred to arbitration, and up to the very last point that was agreed upon.  It was mutually agreed that Sheriff Erskine Murray should act as arbiter, but just when negotiations were being completed one of the employers implicated-Mr Faill-pressed the proposal that while considering the question of an advance on behalf of the men, the arbiter should give weight to a claim for reduction of 25 per cent.  on behalf of the employers.  We are not the only fire-clay miners in the world.  Fire-clay exists in this valley right on to Bonnybridge, in Stirlingshire.  Why, then, should there be such a material difference in the rate of pay.  the fire-clay miners of Bonnybridge – in the mines of Messrs Stein & Griffiths-earned 8s per day for a less output, while, for exactly the same material, the clay miners in some parts of Fifeshire are paid on a similar basis.  We took every reasonable plan for seeking to avoid the struggle.  We even reduced our claim fro one of 4d on the tonnage rates to 11/2d per ton.  the masters say that there is no strike at Glenboig, the vacancies having all been filled. We are determined to fight, and to win.”
12/08/1901 – The Scotsman – The Glasgow International exhibition … Glenboig Union Fireclay Company shows a selection of fire bricks, furnace blocks and gas retorts including a retort of the Glasgow Corporation pattern …

24/08/1901 – North East Lanark Gazette – The Glenboig Dispute – In Glasgow Sheriff Fyfe on the bench-two respectable looking men, named William Brown, senr., and John Leonard, were charged with intimidation in connection with the dispute at Glenboig Fire Clay Works.  The indictment bore that the accused tried to compel certain men to desist from working at the clay works at Heathfield, by cursing and swearing at them and breaking some panes of glass.  Both men pleaded guilty, and Mr Shaunessey, who appeared for them, explained that the case arose out of the strike that had been going on at Glenboig for some time.  A number of Poles had been taken on to replace the men on strike, and this had exasperated the accused.  One of them had been employed at the works for 32 years, and the other for 12 years.  They were married men, one of them having 11 children and the other five.  They were well-behaved and had never been in trouble before.  Mr Brander, who prosecuted, said that the intimidation was very serious at the time, and several of the Poles against whom it was directed had, through fear, to take shelter beneath the beds in their houses.  Sheriff Fyfe reminded the accused that the penalty for such a one-off as they had been charged with was three months imprisonment.  There was a mistaken notion among trade unions that so long as no violence was used there was no intimidation.  He would like to impress upon them that that was a mistake.  No doubt the employment of Poles exasperated the men, and his Lordship was willing to make every allowance for them.  At the same time, he pointed out that the Poles had a perfect right tot work, and the accused might understand, and let their colleagues understand, that this kind of intimidation would not do.  He would, however, impose a modified penalty in their case, and fined each of them £8.  The fines were paid.

24/09/1901 – Dundee Courier – Glenboig Union Fireclay.—The accounts of the Glenboig Union Fireclay for the year ending 31st August last after providing for the maintenance of works and all current charges, and including £1982 16s brought forward from the previous year show, subject to completed audit a gross profit of £17,902 5s 4d. The directors at their meeting today agreed to recommend to the shareholders at their annual general meeting to be held next month that the same be disposed of in the following manner:- For depreciation on capital expenditure£3000; in payment of a dividend at the rate of 10 per cent., £13,500 leaving a balance to be carried forward of £1402 5s 4d – £17, 902 5s 4d.

Below – 1903  –  James Dunnachie points out the positives of using his Dunnachie kiln as opposed to a ‘kiln of Dunnachie type’! See page 500

james dunnachie 1903

Below – March 1903 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1903

17/10/1903 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company – A meeting of the shareholders of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company was held yesterday in the company’s offices, Glasgow-Mr John Wilson, the chairman, preceding.  Mr Richard Baxter, the secretary, read the notice calling the meeting.  The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, congratulated the directors and shareholders upon its favourable character.  It was the most favourable report that the directors had had the pleasure of submitting to the shareholders.  The balance on the credit and loss was the largest in the history of the company.  The directors had been able to write off £5000 for depreciation, they had debited revenue with the large sum of nearly £6000 for repairs, and over and above they had added to reserve the large sum of £5000; and above all, they were able to pay a dividend of 10 per cent, and to carry forward to next year £2764.  The amount standing at the credit of reserve was now £15,000.  This enabled the directors to carry through a very desirable operation.  It enabled them to get rid of the liability for a further call upon the shareholders, as the £9 shares would after this be represented at £10 fully-paid shares.  The dividend of 10 per cent, would be subject to income tax, but the bonus of £1 per share which the directors had decided to get rid of the liability of £1 per share at present existing on the company’s stock would be free of income tax. Mr James Craig, Kilmarnock, seconded.

Replying to a shareholder, Mr James Dunnachie the managing director, said that, in reply to similar questions, he used to give the life of the clayfields at 300 years, but he had departed from that because they were going through the clay at a very rapid rate.  He repeated, however, what he stated at last meeting, that he was perfectly satisfied that the clayfields would last far longer than the lifetime of any of the present shareholders of the company. The report was adopted.

1904 – Petone Borough Council, New Zealand – Evening Post, Volume LXVIII, Issue 100, 25 October 1904, Page 6 – purchase of Glenboig retorts for making gas.

Petone , New Zealand purchase Glenboig retorts 1904

Below – 1904 – 1905 – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co advert.

1906 – Marlborough Express, Volume XXXIX, Issue 83, 9 April 1906, Page 3 – Malborough, New Zealand town budget refers to outlay for Glenboig bricks.

Glenboig bricks New Zealand 1906

Below – 1908 – Illustrated album of the International Building and Art Exhibition St Petersburg.  – From the Ministry of Trade and Industry Bronze medal 6. Glenboig Factory for firebricks. (Many thanks to Vladimir Smirnov for sending me this and the translation)

1909 – Archibald Henry Dunnachie died in February 1909.

He was a son of Mr James Dunnachie and was general manager of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Ltd., at Glenboig. He had had a wide experience in some of the largest steelworks in France and was much interested in the chemical aspects of the refractory materials industry, and ably supervised the well-equipped laboratory installed at Glenboig. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1890.

1909  – Much of the work was dirty, hard, and dangerous. One accident, in 1909, resulted in four clay-miners being killed after an underground roof fall.

Below – 06/08/1909 – Belshill Speaker – 4 men die after roof collapse at the Glenboig Starworks clay mine.

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Below – September – October  1909 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1909

Below – 1910 –  Trading House selling foreign bricks in St.Petersburg in 1910.

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Below – December 1910 – Jan 1911 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1910

Below – 1912  – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1912.

Below – 1912 – Glenboig Advert

Glenboig advert 1912

Below – August 1912 and Feb 1914 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert August 1912

Below – 1913 – Photo depicting workers at the Old Glenboig Brickworks – Source unknown.

Below – Feb – Apr 1913 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert February 1913

Below – 1915 – 1916 – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co advert.

1915 glenboig unuin fire clay advert

25/03/1916 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Blacksmith wanted. Good jobbing man wanted. Apply The Glenboig Fire Clay Works, Glenboig.

c.1919  – The Glenboig Union Fireclay Company operated Castlecary Fireclay Co; … Faskine and Palacerigg Bricks and Coal; … George Turnbull and CoBonnymuir and Dykehead Works.

Below  – 1910 – St Petersburg Times –  Trade House “Grabovsky” represents the exclusive sale of the highest quality British firebricks Glenboig Star Works in Russia. Annual import of 20 000 000 pud. The advert mentions other imports such as cast iron so the weight of goods imported appears to refer to everything rather than just the Glenboig firebricks. (1 pud = 40 pounds weight)( Many thanks to Vladimir Smirnov for this information)

1921 – The Glenboig Union Fireclay Company employees gave a reception for J. D. after 60 years of service to Glenboig. In his speech of thanks, the 88-year-old Dunnachie recalled how Glenboig had been a hamlet of 120 inhabitants and how it had grown to a thriving community of 3000-4000 people with its own railway station, churches, shops and a world name for firebricks. Ten days later James Dunnachie died and was succeeded by his son.

Below – 25/01/1921 – The Scotsman – Court of Session. Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd V Commissioner of Inland Revenue. Glenboig Union owned Gartverrie Fireclay Works and in 1908 clay excavations near the railway was stopped by court order following a complaint from the railways. Subsequent court cases awarded Glenboig Union £26, 230 in compensation. The Inland Revenue thereafter taxed same and the Glenboig Union took the IR to court.

01/06/1928 – Kirkintilloch Gazette – New works, Glenboig – A site of 20 acres has been acquired north of Glenboig Station and adjacent to the Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company’s Star Works by an American Syndicate, the Bussey Coal Distillation Company (Limited), and large works will be erected for the purpose of distilling coal and selling oil and other byproducts. It is anticipated that the incoming and outgoing material from the works will reach almost 1000 tons per day. The main industry of the village is fire brick manufactory carried on by the Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company and P and M Hurll (Limited). The depression in the steel trade has, however, been very much felt in the Glenboig district, though employment has been better than in many places owing to the large export of fire brick and other material. Messrs Bussey intend to commence operations immediately, and when their plans have been fully developed the scheme will, it is believed, give employment to a large number of workers. The preliminary work will, it is expected, more than absorb the unemployed of the district.

Below – 02/02/1929 – Falkirk Herald –  Bust of the National bard. Work of the late Mr John Douglas, Fireclay Works manager, Glenboig Fireclay Works. Mr Douglas died in August 1928. – Our picture is from a photograph of a bust modelled in clay the late Mr John Douglas.  Every statue and print the poet available was carefully studied, and the variety of likeness in these was arresting – scarcely two quite agreeing. Before completing his congenial task with the above, Mr Douglas ruthlessly broke some dozen prior attempts to fix the elusive features before his critical eye was satisfied with his hand’s work. The above result perhaps leans to the ideal but that is common at present, and Mr Douglas, in his own medium, is only in line with speakers. He was a keen admirer of the bard and delighted to tell how an ancestor of his own used frequently see him passing her door in Ayrshire, lying on his back on top of a load of coal. His face to the with an absorbed look and some book in his hands—the horse ‘gangin’ his ain gait. Douglas had many friends and admirers in Bonnybridge district, and it was well known that commerce was fortunate in having his services when art might well have been triumphant.

09/10/1929 – Yorkshire Post – Company reports – Glenboig Union Fireclay – Including £4,218 brought forward, profits for the year ended August were £15,000. A dividend of 7 1/2 per cent is proposed, placing £1,000 to depreciation, £1,500 to taxation reserve, and carrying forward £4,000.

1930 – Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd purchase the mineral rights held by the Greenfoot and Gain Sand and Fireclay Works, Glenmavis.

Below – August 1932 – Glenboig Advert.

Glenboig advert 1932

Below – 29/10/1932 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser –  50th Annual General Meeting of the Glenboig Union Fireclay  Co shareholders.

19/11/1932 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser –

04/06/1934 – The Scotsman  (06/06/1934) – Death  – At Glenboig House, Glenboig on 4th June 1934 James Dunnachie, J. P. beloved husband of Naomi Napier, and late chairman and managing director of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co Ltd. Funeral on Thursday. Cars will leave, St George ‘ s Place Glasgow, for the Necropolis at 2 pm. Friends wishing to be present please notify Messrs Wyle & Lochhead. ( No flowers, by request.)

07/11/1935 – The Scotsman – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company. Presiding at the 53rd annual general meeting of the shareholders in Glasgow yesterday, Mr Robert Henderson, chairman of directors had more pleasure in presenting the accounts this year than they had for some time back.  A material in advance on past years had been made in the period under review, and the outlook was much more hopeful.  Shareholders might be disappointed that though sufficient had been earned to pay some dividend, the directors had not done so.  The directors had thought it advisable, in the interests of the Company, to transfer £5000 towards plant improvement, and to carry forward a sum of £2335.  A revival in the home trade was experienced during the past year, and a sure index of their improvement was the progress of the iron and steel trades.  Foreign business, on the other hand, had been very difficult, but on the whole, he thought he could speak more hopefully at the moment than at any time during the past three years.  Mr Henderson mentioned that the Queen Mary, now being completed at Clydebank, had been fitted out with bricks made at Glenboig.  The report and accounts were approved.

1936 The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co was purchased by General Refractories Ltd, of Sheffield.

Below – August 1936 –  Glenboig Advert  – Queen Mary.

1937 –  Listed Exhibitor, British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Firebricks and Sanitary Pipes of every description. Specimens of the famous Glenboig clay will be shown and also shapes similar to those used in the “Queen Mary”. (Stand Nos. D.913 and D.810) 

Below –  1937 –  Glenboig Advert.

Below – 1937 –  Glenboig Advert.

Below –  1937 –  Glenboig Advert.

01/04/1937 – Aberdeen Press and Journal – 37th annual general meeting of General Refractories Limited – … We are now heavily interested in the exceedingly important firebrick industries of Scotland and Stourbridge. We have acquired almost inexhaustible reserves of high-grade fireclay in both areas. It would have been easy for us to have erected extensive modern works near them, but we preferred rather to take the line of least resistance and enter the field by the purchase of existing interests, as for instance Glenboig, Turnbulls, Castlecary, and Stevens. Another advantage of this policy is that we thus acquire an existing connection and perhaps (as in the case of Glenboig) a brand held in high respect throughout the entire world. Our expansion cannot be complete until our organisation is rounded off, and by our control of a supply of refractories of every known type and for every industrial purpose, and there are still left a few departments with which we are not close enough in touch (notably glass, cement, and refractory hollow-ware), and with which we must make alliances and provision therefor in our capital structure.

15/04/1937 – Western Mail – Welsh Fair Industries Exhibition – Glenboig firebricks, manufactured from the finest range of fire-clay in Scotland, are renowned for their superlative qualities. These firebricks were used throughout the boilers in the Queen Mary and many other vessels. So great is the demand for these firebricks that the local Labour Exchange has had to close down due to the fact that the Glenboig Company has absorbed all available labour.

17/07/1937 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – An enquiry was also made into the death of David Hunter, engine fitter. Leckethilll, Gartcosh, who died on April, at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow from a fracture of the base of the skull sustained by him as a result of an accident on the same day at the doorway of the engineering shop at Barrachnie Colliery Garrowhill occupied by the Gartocher Coal and brick Co.. Ltd. While in the employment of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co.. Ltd., General Refractories, Glenboig, he was removing a coal cutting machine from the engineering shop by means of a chain block and tackle attached to an unfixed overhead steel girder. The girder was pulled from its position and fell to the ground striking the deceased on the head and body.

1938  – Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited, 48 West Regent Street, London; mine name – Cumbernauld Fireclay; Situation – Cumbernauld; Manager – A.H.MacBroom; 15 employees below ground and 4 above ground.

1939  – Edinburgh Gazette 06/01/1939 – Faskine, Palacecraig brick and coal limited. Members voluntarily winding up. At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above-named Company, duly convened, and held in the Offices of The Glenboig Union Fire lay Company Limited. 48 West Regent Street, Glasgow, on Tuesday the third day of January 1939, the following Resolution was duly passed as a Special Resolution, viz. :— ” That, the Company be wound up voluntarily. and that Leslie Jack Rowley. Chartered Accountant, of Genefax House, Sheffield, be and is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding-up. John J.M McMurdo. Chairman. 3rd January 1939.

Castlecary Fireclay Company Limited. Members voluntarily winding up. At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above-named Company, duly convened, and held in the Offices of The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company Limited. 48 West Regent Street. Glasgow, on Tuesday the third day of January 1939, the following resolution was duly passed as a Special Resolution, viz. :— ” That it is desirable to amalgamate the Company with The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company Limited, and accordingly that the Company be wound up voluntarily; and that Leslie Jack Bowley, Chartered Accountant, of Genefax House, Sheffield, be and is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding-up. John J.M McMurdo, Chairman. 3rd January 1939.

1939 – 1940 – Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co Limited  – fire brick, gas retort and sewage pipe manufacturers. Head Office Glenboig. Works Glenboig, Gartcosh, Cumbernauld, Castlecary, Dykehead, Levenseat,  and Carlops. Depot head of Glebe Street, St Rollox C4. Telephone numbers 6108 -9 10 Douglas. Telegraphic address Bricks Glenboig.

1944 – 1967 – Map of the brickworks at Glenboig.

Below – 10/10/1944 – Foundry Trade Journal – Glenboig advert.

Below – 10/04/1945 – The Scotsman –  General Refractories – Demand for Genefax products.

Below – 03/12/1949 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser -An article written by Mr J McWilliam, Technical Manager, Glenboig Union Fireclay Company. “From the clay of a ‘mossy glen’ grew an industry of world renown.

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26/12/1951 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Men’s Club – The attraction at the St Andrews Men’s Club on Tuesday last was Mr A. McKendrick of Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company and of course his subject was brick making. Mr McKendrick had on view a number of fire clay ‘bricks’ in a variety of surprising shapes and in his talk he explained in a simple way, the whole process of manufacture, right from the mining to the despatch of the finished article. He also referred to a special undefined quality in the Glenboig clay which was not found anywhere else in the Country; and also drew attention to the fact that 25% of their products were sent abroad to make the name of Glenboig known almost all over the world …

24/11/1954 – Kirkintilloch Herald – Clerkess senior required immediately; previous invoicing experience an advantage, must be accurate with figures. Apply stating full details of age, experience, and salary required to Personnel Office, Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co Ltd, Glenboig, Lanarkshire.

13/07/1957 – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser – Did Not Have Guard on Machine The Gienbnig Union Fireclay Company, Ltd., were fined £5 and ordered to pay £1 0s 6d. expenses at Airdrie Sheriff Court yesterday, when they admitted failing to have a guard on one of their brickmaking machines at the Star Works, Glenboig. between 2nd and 23rd April. A factory inspector told Sheriff Thomas Young that the (company employed about 180 persons in the works. The Inspector stated that a guard should have been provided for the belts and pulleys on one of the machines, but it appeared that it had been taken off to carry out repair work on the machine, and had been left “lying in a corner” and had not been put back on the machine. On Tuesday. 23rd April, the inspector continued, this machine was in use and it was found that there was no guard on the belts and pulleys, and on that day at least one man had been working in close proximity to them. On enquiries being made, it was discovered that a sheet metal guard had been provided for the machine. The guard was quite suitable for the purpose of covering the belts and pulleys. In conclusion, the inspector stated that the company had failed in their duty to ensure that the guard was put back after the repairs had been effected. An agent, appearing on behalf of the Glenboig firm tendered a plea of guilty. He pointed out that the guard had been taken off to carry out some minor repairs on the conveyor belt of the machine and this had been done a week or two before the offence was discovered. The agent said that he had been told that the repairs to the machine had not proved completely satisfactory and, in fact, it was the intention of the company to do away with the machine which could obviate the necessity of a conveyor belt being used at all. The responsibility of the guard being replaced lay with the company, he continued, although, in practice, it was left with the foreman on the machine platform to see that this was carried out. “My clients.” said the agent, both on this occasion, and on many occasions in the past, have made it very clear and obvious to all their foremen that if a guard was removed from a machine for any reason, it must be replaced. My clients have many large establishments up and down the Scottish industrial scene and this is the first occasion that any complaint has been brought against them under this Act. They have thousands of machines in operation in their factories and make strenuous efforts to ensure that they are guarded. The complaint is the result of an isolated occurrence. Sheriff Young fined the firm £5 and ordered them to pay the costs of the case.

1958  – The “Old Works” in Glenboig closed (and were demolished by 1965).

Below – c. 1960 The Glenboig Starworks.

01/05/1964 – West Lothian Courier – Appeal – Restrictions imposed by West Lothian County Council’s planning committee on a development proposed the Glenboig Union Fireclay Co to win and work minerals at Fauldhouse are to be the subject of an appeal to the Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Michael Noble. The company plan to extend existing workings to the Crofthead and Croftfoot Districts. A county official said, “The conditions concern the amount of fireclay to be taken out. The reason for the restrictions is to safeguard the surface land for possible future development”.

1967  – General Refractories became G. R. Stein Refractories Ltd.

1974 – The “Star Works” closed sometime after 1974.

06/09/1978 – Glasgow Herald – Article on Richard Smith who used to work for Thomson Mclean & Co.

A further source of information – The manufacture began some 4-5 miles west of Glenboig in Garnkirk at Cardowan Fireclay in 1833/4, near the village of Gartcosh.  The records show that in 1836 a John Hillcoat was engaged in firebrick melting at Garnqueen, but in spite of the fact that the fireclay in the Gartcosh, Garnkirk and Cardowan areas was inferior to that at Garnqueen, John Hillcoat didn’t enjoy great success because in 1860, some 26 years later, the population of the village of Garnqueen only numbered 120.  In this period, it would appear that the village acquired the name ‘Glenboig’, and Garnqueen was incorporated into Glenboig village.  [By 1891 the population was 1,500, and in 1981 it was 2,000].

By 1843 Glenboig Fire Brick and Tile Works was owned by Mr John Thomson, and the original works (the Old Works) was built beside the Monkland-Kirkintilloch railway.  Around 1860, Messrs Thomson, McLean & Company acquired the right to work the fireclay in the Glenboig area, and firebricks were beginning to be produced on a much larger scale.  Messrs Hurll, Young & Company were operating at Heathfield and Cardowan works, using the same seam of clay, although of a different quality, and they took over from Thomson McLean & Co in 1865, forming the Glenboig Fireclay Company with Mr James Dunnachie as Managing Partner.

The partnership dissolved in 1872 when John Hurll acquired sole ownership of the Glenboig Fireclay Co., (the Old Works) and for a period of around eight years, they expanded to become one of the best-known firebrick manufacturers in Britain with a market in many countries around the world.

After James Dunnachie left the Glenboig Fireclay Company he set up in business for himself, forming James Dunnachie & Company and he built the Star Works, literally across the road from Hurlls. Dunnachie’s bricks, at that time, were stamped ‘J.D.’ and the title ‘Star Works, Glenboig’ or ‘Glenboig’ with a star below the word. 

The quality of Star and Glenboig firebricks became well established throughout the world. Between 1875 and 1882 they won major awards for refractory products in exhibitions as far apart as Santiago, Melbourne, Paris, London and Sydney. Even before amalgamation, Glenboig bricks had won awards at exhibitions around the world. James Dunnachie and John Hurll had made Glenboig famous.   For ten years Dunnachie and Hurll were in an intense competition until August 1882 when they amalgamated the Old Works and the Star Works and founded The Glenboig Union Fireclay Company with their head office at 4 West Regent Street, Glasgow. (At that time the company also operated Cumbernauld Fireclay Co; Faskine and Palacerigg Bricks and Coal; G. Turnbull & Co).

Between 1870 and 1881 James Dunnachie had taken out three patents on inventions, the most important one which brought him fame and fortune was the Continuous Regenerative Gas Kiln which was designed to burn gas in a more economic, even way with the benefit of a reduction in atmospheric pollution.

 Dunnachie had great business acumen and is credited with the development of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company into a major industry providing the world with firebricks of unequalled excellence through his inventions and organising ability. 

The company specialised in the production of furnace lining bricks and pipe-work for the iron and steel industry which was flourishing in the nearby industrial towns.  They also made cattle troughs, cisterns, horse mangers, washing tubs, sheep-dipping troughs, pig troughs, pickling dishes, garden edging, fountains, balusters and much more.

 In 1889 the company reorganised the method of supplying the clay to the moulders which allowed one man to do work previously done by eight and a simplification to the method of breaking up the rock-like clay so that the amount and cost of labour was reduced to a minimum.    Hand moulders were said to have made in excess of two thousand bricks each per day, men being preferred to machines which required constant repair due to the very hard particles in the Glenboig clay.  Glenboig was firmly established as the leading centre of refractory products in the world. Even today Glenboig bricks turn up all over the world.

End of an eraDeath of James Dunnachie. It was the end of an era for Glenboig.   James Dunnachie died and left a movable estate of £19,297, less than he had been paid for his patents in 1822.  He had spent 60 years of his life in Glenboig and had been responsible for making it world-famous.  He wrote his memoirs in 1903 covering the period of his life from 1835 to 1903 and the typescript is held in the University of Glasgow Special Collections, but there is no official memorial to his services to the area, not even a street name. The company was unable to cope with the depression of 1929, and trading losses were made in 1931 to 1935, and in April 1936 the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited was purchased by General Refractories Limited of Sheffield. There was a revival when Glenboig bricks were used in the building of the Queen Mary, and again at the outbreak of the Second World War, but the Old Works were closed in 1958 and demolished before 1965.

In 1967 General Refractories amalgamated with G.R. Stein Refractories Ltd.  The Star Works was closed by 1966., and the chimney demolished by 1988.  John Hurll had retired in 1882, but his two sons Peter and Mark, returned to Glenboig in 1888 starting Garnqueen and Gartliston works.  Little information is available about the company, but it employed 300 men and women above ground at Gartliston works and a further 100 men below ground.  Production was about 3,000 tons of firebricks a month.  The company went into liquidation in 1980.

 Info – Below –  Nocilis  – No known examples exist (with relevant brickmarks).

Glenboig_Union_Fire_Clay_Co_Ltd - Trade Marks

Manufacturers of fire clay goods of every description  – Sole Makers of the “Glenboig” and “Star Glenboig ” Brands of Fire Bricks, also the ” Cumbernauld ” and ” Gartcosh ” Brands. Blue Bricks for Acid Chambers— “CONTACIC Brand. Glenboig Ironstone Corrugated Tile for Railway Stations. Special Bricks for Forge, Rolling Mill, and Puddling Furnaces. The Siemens-Martin, the Bessemer, and the Thomas-Gilchrist Furnaces. Copper Roasting, Calcining, and Refining Furnaces. Gas Retorts and Special Bricks for all the best modern Retort Settings. Special Bricks for the newest kinds of Coke Ovens. Class and Chemical Furnaces; Blast Furnace Blocks. Glazed Sewage Pipes, Patent Junctions, &c. Works: Glenboig (Old Works). Glenboig (Star Works). Cumbernauld Works. Gartcosh Works, Glebe Street Head Offices: 48 West Regent St., Glasgow.

The Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Limited, Glenboig near Coatbridge, and 4, West Regent Street.— This well-known and representative concern (which is by far the largest of the kind in Europe and whose extensive operations illustrate a very important and typical branch of Scottish industry, has been known in Glasgow commercial and industrial circles under its present style as the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Limited, since 1882. The undertakings of the company and the industry it controls are of much earlier origin, however, dating their history back as far as 1836. In 1860 the concern was reconstructed and came under the management of Mr James Dunnachie. The firm at that time was Thomson, MacLean & Co. In the year 1865, the Glenboig Fireclay Company was formed, Mr Dunnachie being the managing partner. In 1872 this firm was dissolved, and in the following year Mr Dunnachie established the Star Glenboig Works, when, after competing for ten years with the old works, the two concerns amalgamated and were turned into a limited company under the present designation, the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Limited, with a capital of £150,000.

The company now control two extensive working establishments at Glenboig, the Old Works and the Star Works respectively, and have another large place at Cumbernauld, each of these works being the headquarters of some branches or department of the company’s operations, which embraces the mining for fireclay and the subsequent production of bricks, tiles, and all descriptions of superior fireclay goods.

Glenboig has long been known favourably for its possession of a most valuable seam of fireclay. The analysis of this clay by Edward Riley, F.C.S., in 1875, manifested its possession of the most valuable properties of fireclay in a high degree, and showed it to be “very free from any bases, such as oxide of iron, lime, &c., that have a tendency to make the clay soften with heat”. Many other favourable reports and analyses on the same fireclay have been forthcoming, and they tend to indicate that the Glenboig Union Company is now possessed of, and actively working, one of the most valuable beds of fireclay in the United Kingdom. The works are of great extent and admirable equipment, and upwards of six hundred men are constantly in employment.

The Glasgow offices constitute the commercial headquarters of the concern. At the head of Glebe Street, St. Rollox, there is also a large depot at which stocks of great magnitude are held.

The company’s specialities comprise the various bricks, blocks, &c., required for Siemens’ patent regenerative gas furnace, forge, and rolling mill furnaces, copper-calcining and refining furnaces, glass and chemical furnaces, puddling and blast furnaces, &c., and in addition to the above there are produced special bricks for Ford & Moncur’s stove, Cowper’s stove, Whitwell’s stove, Bauer’s coke oven, Klonnes’ gas furnaces, Siemens’ producer, and the Wilson and the Sutherland producers. The company are likewise sole makers for Scotland of basic bricks for the Thomas-Gilchrist dephosphorising process, and they also manufacture the special bricks for the Siemens’ process, Gorman tubes, Bessemer tuyeres. Silica bricks, blue bricks for acid chambers, gas retorts, and all descriptions of settings ; enamelled bricks, glazed sewage pipes, enamelled and salt-glazed cattle troughs and sanitary appliances, and the Glenboig ironstone paving tiles for railway stations, all hold prominent places in the list of special features developed by this great and progressive industry.

A very large and important trade is controlled, extending to all parts of the world, and the home connection is of the most influential order throughout the three kingdoms. The Glenboig works are in many respects unique, and have the advantage of improved methods of manufacture, several of them patented. The most important of these is Mr Dunnachie’s patent regenerative gas kiln, which saves from fifty to seventy-five per cent, in the cost of burning, abolishes smoke, and improves the quality of the manufacture.

The company have carried off many distinguished medallic honours, and of these well-earned successes the following are a representative selection : Paris, 1878, three silver medals ; Santiago, Chile, 1875, a prize medal ; London, 1884, first-class award ; London, 1885, a gold medal ; Calcutta, 1884, highest award for firebricks ; Amsterdam, 1883, gold medal ; Glasgow, 1880, two medals of the Philosophical Society ; Melbourne, 1880, three medals ; Inventions Exhibition, 1885, a silver medal ; Glasgow Mining Exhibition, 1885, silver medal ; Antwerp, 1885, a gold and a bronze medal ; and a medal at the Smoke Abatement Exhibition, held in London in 1882 ; at the Edinburgh and Liverpool Exhibitions of 1886, silver medals were awarded.

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The chairman and managing director of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Limited, was born at Pollokshaws in 1835. His paternal ancestors were Jacobite Highlanders, but on the mother’s side, he is a Lowland Scot. It was in 1860 that he went to Glenboig. The clayfield had been discovered and first exploited in 1846, at the time of the great expansion of the iron industry in Lanarkshire. The brick made from it was used for lining the iron furnaces which sprang up everywhere in the region. But Mr Dunnachie vastly improved the manufacture, and on the dissolution of the firm of which he was managing partner in 1872, he took a lease of the unlet portion of the Glenboig Clayfield, consisting of six-sevenths of the whole, and started the Star Works. Here he gave special attention to the needs of the new steel industry, which required a brick that would not split off inside the furnace and fill the metal with impurities. In a paper read before the British Association, he described this as “a brick high in silica, yet containing a fair proportion of alumina, and comparatively free from alkalis and other impurities.” Very soon, owing to his energy, the Star Works became the largest producers of fireclay manufactures in the kingdom. In 1882 the Star Works and the Glenboig Company’s old works were amalgamated, with a capital of £150,000, and since that date, other works have been acquired at Cumbernauld and Gartcosh.
Among Mr Dunnachie’s many improvements in the process of manufacture is the continuous regenerative gas kiln, which has not only abolished smoke, and reduced cost by more than one half, but improved the quality of the brick. But this is only one of his numerous patents. Each of the works is devoted to a particular branch of the manufacture, but every kind of fireclay work is produced by the company. About one thousand “hands” are employed, and the effect of the industry on the prosperity of the region may be judged from the fact that, while in 1860 the village of Glenboig contained only some 120 souls, it has now a population of nearly 3,000.
Mr Dunnachie is assisted in the management by his son, Mr Archibald H. Dunnachie, who is general manager of the works, and who has had special scientific training. Apart from the business, Mr Dunnachie is a J.P. for Lanarkshire and a liberal patron of the fine arts. He has travelled much abroad and possesses trophies and curios gathered in many lands, savage and civilised.

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Company History –  The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co. Ltd was founded by James Dunnachie & partners by the amalgamation of the “Old Works” and the “Star Works” in Glenboig. The company specialised in the production of refractory ceramic goods (e.g. furnace lining bricks and pipework) for the iron and steel industry which was flourishing in numerous nearby large industrial towns. By expansion and/or take-overs the company went on to operate several other works, viz.: Cumbernauld Fireclay Works & Mine (c.1882); Gartcosh Works (1890); Castlecary Fireclay Co. Ltd (1919 ?); Faskine & Palacerigg Bricks & Coal Ltd (1919 ?); George Turnbull & Co. Ltd – Bonnymuir and Dykehead Works (1919 ?). The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co. Ltd was purchased by General Refractories Ltd of Sheffield in 1936 which in turn became G.R. Stein Refractories Ltd in 1967.

The “Old Works” in Glenboig closed in 1958 and were demolished by 1965.

The “Star Works” closed sometime after 1967. The company was subsequently purchased by General Refractories which later became part of GR Stein, and its activities wound down. It was listed as dormant in 2002.

James Dunnachie – Fire-clay brick manufacture began in the Scottish Central belt at Glenboig in the 1830s but its development to a major industry providing the world with firebricks of unequalled excellence must in large part be credited to the invention and organising ability of James Dunnachie at Glenboig, from 1860.

Born at Pollockshaws, son of a Renfrewshire bleacher, James Dunnachie came to Glenboig at 28 years old and soon became Manager of the existing small fire-clay company.
In 1865 he formed the Glenboig Fire-clay Company with John Hurll and John Young, themselves pioneer firebrick manufacturers, and when the partnership folded in 1872, Dunnachie built the Star-Works immediately adjacent to the old works and in competition with them.

His bricks at this time bore the legend J D and the title “Star Works, Glenboig” or “Glenboig” with a star imprinted below the word.  In the rescued brick below you can see the remnants of the Star below the letters NB.

Glenboig Star

In 1882 the two companies decided to amalgamate as the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company Ltd with Dunnachie as Managing Director.

Glenboig images

Glenboig Union Fireclay Co – of Glenboig, near Glasgow, Scotland. Telephone: Glenboig 66. Telegraphic Address: “Glenboig, Scotland”

Fire-clay brick manufacture began in the Scottish Central belt at Glenboig in the 1830s but its development to a major industry providing the world with firebricks of unequalled excellence must in large part be credited to the invention and organising ability of James Dunnachie at Glenboig, from 1860.

The Glenboig Union Fireclay Co was founded by James Dunnachie and partners by the amalgamation of the “Old Works” and the “Star Works” in Glenboig. The company specialised in the production of refractory ceramic goods (e.g. furnace lining bricks and pipework) for the iron and steel industry which was flourishing in the nearby industrial towns.

Born at Pollockshaws, son of a Renfrewshire bleacher, James Dunnachie came to Glenboig at the age of 28, and soon became Manager of the existing small fire-clay company.

It had already been proved that Glenboig bricks were superior to all others in Britain including the highly regarded Stourbridge and Newcastle bricks. James Dunnachie was to build on this reputation such that regular orders were received from as far as Russia, Canada, India, Australia and South America as well as over Europe. Medals and awards for Glenboig products were won all over the world.

James Dunnachie   1835-1921

  • Refractory manufacturer, Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Justice of the Peace.
  • Manager, Thomson McLean & Co., brickworks, Glenboig, 1860-1865; owner, 1865. Formerly Thomson McLean & Co
  • Partner with John Hurll and John Young, Glenboig Fire Clay Co., 1865-1872.
  • Owner-manager, James Dunnachie Star Works, Glenboig, 1872-1882.
  • Managing Director, Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co. Ltd (formed by the merger of James Dunnachie Star Works and Glenboig Fire Clay Co.), 1882-1921.
  •  Star Works Refractory makers, Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Established by James Dunnachie, 1872.
  • Born Pollockshaws, Renfrewshire, 29 April 1835.
  • Married (1) Jane Allan Hendry (d. 1882), 1860; (2) Elizabeth Miller Levack, 1897.
  • Died 14/06/1921

James Dunnachie Jun – Died – 04/06/1934 at Glenboig House, Glenboig. Beloved husband of Naomi Napier and ex-chairman and managing director of the Glenboig Union Fire clay Co)

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Below – 3 metal gully grates or grills seen in Glenboig and marked Glenboig and Glenboig Cumbernauld Coy.

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Below –  brass stamp photographed at Glenboig – Glenboig.

Below – A small salt glazed trough seen in a garden at Glenboig. It is not stamped but it is believed to have been made at the Glenboig Union Fireclay Works.

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Below – 2 unmarked narrow slips found on the Glenboig Union Fireclay site. One is 1 1/2″ deep and the other 1″. Undoubtedly this is a Glenboig product.

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Below – The Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey published a report in 1985 entitled ” A survey of Scottish brickmarks. During the compilation of this report in which the survey officers visited working and derelict brickworks sites, many items of interest were donated or found. Many of these items were thereafter donated to the National Museum Scotland. The item below is one of these items.

A fireclay wall plaque approx measuring 16″ x 10″ x 1 1/2″. It was recovered from James Dunnachies house. Notes on the recovery date it to c. 1880. The notes also say that Mr Dunnachie travelled all over the world with regards to his fireclay business. One returning from one such trip (location not given) he gave his fireclay moulders a drawing of something he had seen while he was abroad and asked them to replicate it. This was the result. No explanation is given as to what it represents.

 

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