Wm. McGeoch & Co.
Wm. McGeoch & Co., Ironmongers, 108, Argyle Street.—
There are few mercantile houses in Glasgow that are so renowned or interesting in their history as that of Messrs. Wm. MeGeoch & Co., whose fame extends to all parts of Scotland. It may be said at starting that this establishment forms a very remarkable instance of what may be accomplished by industry, perseverance, energy, and, of course, ability. Many years ago Mr. MeGeoch, senior, was apprenticed to a then celebrated old firm, namely, that of John Stewart & Co., in whose days railways were unknown and conveyances scarce, to say the least. It is probable that there were none from Wigtown to Glasgow, and consequently Mr. McGeoch, who was then very young, had to walk all the way. Years after, in 1832, the same individual laid the foundation of a business that is now in its own particular line unrivalled. Mr. McGeoch first started business in premises at 113, Argyle Street, where he carried on a general trade. About fifteen or sixteen years ago these were greatly enlarged by the addition of four large flats, having an entrance through the original shop, and the establishment was then devoted to the business of a high-class furnishing house. About three years ago this branch was transferred to Mr. Davie, consequent upon a dissolution of partnership.
The present firm, whose trade name is known as that of Messrs. Wm. McGeoch & Co., consists of the original founder’s three sons, Messrs. William, Andrew, and Alexander McGeoch, the last mentioned having lately been added to the partnership. The premises in which the business is now located have been occupied about twenty years. About sixteen years ago they were burnt down to a very great extent, and have since been remodelled and enlarged. It consists of a spacious block of buildings that comprise four flats and an extensive basement, the whole of the establishment being built on what is known as the “well” system, with galleries on every flat.
The scope of the firm’s business operations is so comprehensive that it would be impracticable to go into any minute details. Mention must therefore be confined simply to the chief departments, which are distinguished by letters. For instance, Department A is devoted to what is known as black ironmongery, and includes such as vices, chains, pulleys, blocks, and similar articles. It also includes all descriptions of heavy goods, such as those used by contractors and railway companies.
Department B is devoted to the supply of all kinds of fittings used by such as joiners, builders, architects, &c., and included with these may be mentioned brass and iron screws. Some idea of the extent of the trade done may be gathered from the fact that the firm have something like £2,000 to £3,000 worth of screws alone in stock. They are agents for Nettlefold’s brass and iron screws, and this last is a name that has a worldwide reputation.
The department known as C includes all kinds of requisites used in shipbuilding. This forms one of the leading features of the firm’s trade, and the various branches and goods incidental to this department are set forth in the most complete illustrated catalogue that has ever been issued in this connection. It has a list of everything comprised within the terms of ship’s fittings and chandlery, and the firm command a most extensive trade in this branch.
Department D next claims attention, and this is somewhat dissimilar to any of the others, as it consists mostly of goods that come under the heading of upholsterers’ fittings. It also includes a variety of fittings used by undertakers, &c. The stock is very varied in this department, and a large trade is done therein.
Department E is one in which the firm appear as manufacturers. It consists of ships’ lamps, lamp fittings, &c. For the construction of these goods the firm have very extensive works in Birmingham for the manufacture not only of lamps but also of electric fittings and general brass work. The factory, called Warwick Works, is situated at 46, Coventry Road, Birmingham, in premises which cover an area of more than four thousand square yards, and capable of accommodating over two hundred people. The works are fitted with every form of modem and improved machinery, and are complete in every detail. The hands employed are selected from skilled artisans, and all work is executed under very careful supervision. The firm have achieved exceptional success in this branch, and manufacture goods which are superior alike in material, design, and construction. A leading speciality of the firm remains to be noticed
For over twenty years Messrs. McGeoch have been agents for the widely renowned Patent Enamel Company of Birmingham. Everyone is acquainted with the enamelled iron that is now used so extensively, particularly for such purposes as railway names at stations, showplates, notices, waggon plates, street plates, door numbers, in addition to such decorative purposes as those for wall and ceiling, art panels, flower-box plates, stove plates, &c. The advantage of this patent is so very evident that anything said in its favour must be entirely superfluous, apart from the fact that its worth and value have been testified by the award of numerous prize medals, notably that of the Inventions Exhibition.
Messrs. McGeoch & Co. command a very large trade among the principal shipbuilders, shipowners, electric light companies in all parts of the United Kingdom. Railway companies also are among the principal patrons of the establishment. In addition to the home trade the firm also export largely.
It need scarcely be remarked that in every department the firm have confined their trade exclusively to dealing in goods of a very superior manufacture. With a reputation of over half a century to maintain, it is very certain that only the highest class of trade would be found in Messrs. McGeoch & Co.’s establishment. Few houses have become so renowned, and the present pre-eminent position occupied by this firm speaks highly for the ability and energy displayed in the management not only by the original founder, but also by the present enterprising and well-known proprietors, who have placed their business in a prominent position.
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