Brown, Stewart & Co.
Brown, Stewart & Co., Papermakers, Dalmarnock Paper Mills, Springfield Road, Bridgeton.—
The history of paper-making within the past twenty or thirty years is well worthy of perusal. Thirty years ago the broadest paper-making machine was about forty inches ; its highest speed was from fifteen to twenty feet per minute, as calculated from the revolutions of the drying cylinders, and it was counted a large week’s work to turn out about five tons of paper. At the present day a machine of a hundred and twenty inches broad is quite a common thing, a speed of two hundred feet per minute is as common, and a week’s turn-out is not counted much at fifty tons.
The Messrs. Brown, Stewart & Co., who form the subject of this notice, have taken a most effectual part in the development of this trade, and have attained to a most prominent position in the paper-making world. They were established originally in Greenock in the year 1851, and, through increasing business, took these large premises in Springfield Road, Dalmarnock — formerly known as the old Glasgow Water Works — in 1866. The works here, through their improvements since that date, have become very extensive, and now cover about five acres of ground. Their machinery is all of the most modem description.
In this mill of the Messrs. Brown, Stewart & Co., where it is all news, printings, and writings which are made, the coarser parts of the raw material, such as esparto, straw, &c., have to undergo considerable boiling and bleaching manipulation, the spent lyes from the boilers, going to what are termed the roasters, where they go through a considerable exordium of chemical regeneration. After the materials in question are thoroughly bleached, they are forwarded by a well adapted system to undergo the milling process. They receive their proportionate admixtures here, which include generally Esparto, wood pulp, and straw, the former having the preponderance of late years.
The milling is the reducing of these materials to a pulpy state, and in this department — a large and spacious building or buildings — there is a series of oval-shaped tubs, measuring on an average about twelve feet by six feet, and about two and a half feet in depth, with a division in the centre, termed a feather. These tubs, or engines, as they are called, have a stationary plate set with steel knives projecting upwards. Against this plate there is a revolving roller also fixed with steel knives ; the tubs or engines are filled with a proportionate amount of water and raw material, and being kept in motion by the action of the roller, is run through again and again for perhaps the space of two or three hours. When it is thus reduced to a fine consistency, it is sent down through large pipes communicating from the bottom of the engines to the chests — huge round tubs about twelve feet deep by fourteen feet in diameter, with two-armed propellers in the centre, called agitators, which revolve round at considerable speed and keep the prepared pulp in a working condition for the machine.
The elementary process thus complete, the next branch is the machine, and it is here where the paper receives its form. This machine to the uninitiated is something like the Sphinx’s riddle, and it would only mislead to attempt anything like even a faint description of it. It is most extensive in its constituent parts, and as intricate as it is extensive. It will measure from beginning to end from a hundred and fifty to two hundred feet, and costs generally from £5,000 to £6,000. Its principal parts consist technically of strainers, wirecloth, felts, pressing rolls, drying cylinders, calendering or finishing rolls, and a complete and powerful system of driving wheels and belts. The paper when complete is rolled in web form, and the book and writing papers especially are then taken to a cutting machine and cut into sheets ; the news being rolled into huge webs, are conveyed in that form to the newspaper establishments and printed by machines specially adapted to them.
The Dalmarnock mill has two of these paper-making machines, and the mill is otherwise well proportioned and equipped in the most complete form. The Messrs. Brown, Stewart & Co. turn out splendid papers in all the three kinds already mentioned. In the printing papers they supply the Glasgow Herald, Evening Citizen, Evening Times, and the Edinburgh Scotsman, Leader, and other provincial papers all over the United Kingdom, and export largely to the colonies. They employ about two hundred and fifty workpeople.
Mr. Watson, the able manager, has contributed very considerably to the success of the business ; his intelligent foresight, long experience, and characteristically high abilities have been devoted to it with an unsparing singleness of purpose and the confidence which the proprietors all along have reposed in him has been productive of the best results.
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