Found by Peter Williams in Bonnybridge. I am not in possession of this example. Allan Rae suggests that this fire brick was manufactured by Smith and Wellstood and it was probably a back brick to protect the rear surface of a firebox for the ‘Modern Mistress’ stove and that MDN MRS is an abbreviation of…
Smith & Wellstood Brickworks, Bonnybridge
The company was incorporated in 1887 and specialised in making solid fuel cookers after the American style stove & range manufacturers. Their ESSE brand cooker became famous and was exported all over the world. Firebrick tiles to line the fireboxes were made in their own own brickworks which was started in 1892. They had 3 kilns of about 20 tons capacity each which were expanded to 40-ton capacity each after the 1939 – 45 war. The brickworks closed in the 1970’s. – source The Scottish Refractory Industry 1830 – 1980.
31/01/1885 – Falkirk Herald – State of trade – The firm of Smith and Wellstood of the Columbian Stove Works, on account of the dullness of the stove trade have been compelled to part with between 20 and 30 hands, embracing moulders, labourers and others.
1887 – Company incorporated?
Below – 18/02/1924 – Smith and Wellstood invoice.
Below – 05/11/1928 – Smith and Wellstood invoice.
Below – 28/09/1931 – Smith and Wellstood invoice.
Below – 24/10/1944 and 30/10/1944 – 2 x invoices from Bonnybridge Silica & Fireclay Co Ltd to Smith & Wellstood for ganister
23/04/1949 – Falkirk Herald – Foreman required to take charge of brickworks producing 70/75 tons of range and stove bricks per week; the appointment is subject to acceptance of a contributory superannuation scheme. Apply giving details of age, experience and salary expected to Smith and Wellstood Ltd, Ironfounders, Bonnybridge.
08/04/1950 – Falkirk Herald – Kiln burner wanted. Good prospects and steady employment for an experienced man. Apply brickworks manager, Smith and Wellstood Limited, Bonnybridge.
10/06/1950 – Falkirk Herald – Boy age 15-16, required to train as an Analytical Chemist in Works Laboratory. Reply, giving full particulars of education, etc., to Works Manager, Smith & Wellstood, Ltd., Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire.
07/03/1953 – Falkirk Herald – Bricklayers – two men required for maintenance work, experience in fireclay work would be an advantage. Full employment guaranteed.
c. 1970′s – Closed
John Campbell Leith, born 1903 in Kilsyth began working in Smith and Wellstood’s in 1917 as an apprentice pattern maker. He entered management in 1926. He became the company draughtsman/designer then production manager and eventually the works manager/director.
The raw materials were acquired from Dougall’s and Bonnybridge Silica Brickworks. Mined clay was bought. The workforce consisted of 30 girls and 12 men who punched clay into moulds. Mr Leith described the brickworks as resembling the ‘Roman Baths’. Green bricks were laid on the floor to harden them and were fired for 4 1/2 days. The result was a brownish, yellow biscuit coloured brick.
The furnace bricks were bought from Steins. These had a high refractory value and would stand up to a terrific heat. they were of very high quality and therefore expensive.
The output depended on demand and varied between 40 – 55 tons per week.
Smith and Wellstoods Iron Founders had their own brickworks, but they produced only building bricks and got their refractory bricks from Steins. When the foundries closed, the brickmakers market was reduced considerably. Smith and Wellstoods closed about c. 1959. – Source Falkirk Museum and Archives.
Below – So is this S & W actually made by Stein for Smith and Wellstood?)