Robert Forrester, Roughrigg Collieries, 75, West Nile Street.—
A house whose operations within the past thirty years have exercised a very considerable influence in industrial and steam-using circles is that of Mr. Robert Forrester, proprietor of the well-known collieries situate at Roughrigg, to the west of Slamaman, in Stirlingshire. This prominent house, controlling to-day a most important and extensive share of the business of the Scottish coal-fields, was founded in 1856 by its present proprietor, Mr. Robert Forrester, and has Glasgow offices at the above address.
The operations of the business are entirely confined to dealings in the coal produced from the Roughrigg mine, now under the control of Mr. Forrester. It was from this noted pit that the first Scottish coal of a semi-anthracite nature was taken ; and the present output of the pit — about 600 tons in bulk per day — is similar in quality to the coal of Wales, though it also possesses some characteristics which render it superior as a steam-coal to almost any produced in the Principality. Especially noteworthy is the fact that the Roughrigg coal does not contain visible pyrites, does not generate gas, and is, therefore, free from liability to spontaneous combustion or explosion. Its anthracite characteristics are also strongly in its favour, and render it comparatively smokeless. It has been very favourably reported upon by eminent scientists, and over the signatures of no less distinguished authorities than Dr. William Wallace, F.R.S.E., F.C.S., Dr. Stevenson Macadam, F.R.S.E., F.C.S., and Mr. John Pattison, F.C.S., has been denominated it “peculiarly safe from liability to spontaneous combustion” and “eminently adapted for shipping to foreign countries”. Its admirable qualities as a steam-coal for use both on land and sea have commended it to the attention of many great industrial and shipping institutions, and it is now very largely supplied to the Admiralty. For locomotive use it has also proved most valuable, by reason of its superior heating powers and smokeless qualities, and has been extensively adopted in railway circles. Certainly upon the basis of the many merits it has unquestionably manifested it is eminently worthy of the consideration of all manufacturers, engineers, steamship owners, and railway companies, to whom nothing could be more acceptable than a steam-coal at once economical, effective, and calculated to aid in the abatement of the intolerable smoke nuisance which is the bane of all great industrial centres.
At the Roughrigg Collieries about four hundred hands are constantly employed, and the greatest activity prevails throughout the mine — an ample indication of the large volume of trade influenced by a steadily increasing demand for the Roughrigg coal.
Mr. Robert Forrester is well known and highly repulted in Glasgow as a civil and mining engineer, and a justice of the peace, and to the citizens of the western metropolis he needs no personal introduction in these pages. He lived for many years in Carbeth, Stirlingshire, and there also he is well-known, and was individually popular as a captain in the Ayrshire Volunteers. He was formerly proprietor of the Westburn Colliery, at the time of a great explosion there, which resulted in great pieces of the boilers at the works being hurled for many hundreds of yards from their original position. This explosion was remarkable for the very fortunate circumstance that despite the magnitude of its destructive effects and the fact that there were hundreds of hands working at the time of its occurrence, it did not result in the injury of a single man.
Mr. Forrester devotes himself to the development of the Roughrigg pit with exemplary energy and vigour, and, conducts a most successful business upon principles and methods that are well calculated to perpetuate a prosperity which is in every respect justified and deserved.
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