Duncan Stewart & Co.
Duncan Stewart & Co., Engineers, Millwrights, Machine Makers, &c., London Road Iron Works.—
No review of the many industrial pursuits whose successful development and exemplification have made Glasgow world-famous could claim a degree of completeness without embodying some mention of the distinguished house named above. Messrs. Duncan Stewart & Co., engineers, millwrights, machinery manufacturers, boiler-makers, ironfounders, brassfounders, and tinsmiths, controlling the well-known London Road Iron Works, have achieved a celebrity that is second to that of no other engineering firm in Glasgow to-day, and their immense industry stands prominently forth as representative of one of the greatest of the city’s branches of manufacturing and productive activity.
This notable house was established in 1866, at its present centre of operations, by Mr. Duncan Stewart, and its founder, to whose personal efforts and remarkable engineering capacity it owes its continuous and uninterrupted progress in the industrial world, still retains his post as sole principal and director of its important undertakings. The works of the firm are of very great extent, occupying a large area of ground, almost entirely covered by the various buildings devoted to the industry, and possessing lengthy frontages on Summer Street, William Street, and London Road. The whole of this great establishment, one of the most thoroughly typical of its kind in existence, is fitted throughout with a valuable plant of the most modem and improved machinery, equipped with every convenience and facility, and manned in its numerous busy departments by a force of upwards of a thousand hands.
Messrs. Duncan Stewart & Co., are famous in particular for sugar machinery, hydraulic apparatus, pumping engines, calico-printing machinery, finishing and dyeing machinery, and land and marine engines. These may be regarded as the six leading specialities of the firm, and each of these has been developed as such in a masterly manner. In the matter of sugar machinery, Messrs. Stewart are probably one of the largest producers in the world ; certainly no other firm has excelled them, either in the aggregate magnitude of their operations or in the individual importance of their achievements. They are patentees and sole makers of the hydraulic attachment for sugar mills, which we are unable to adequately describe here, but which may be specified as possessing five notable advantages : (1) A higher percentage of juice ; (2) the power of maintaining this percentage in constancy ; (3) freedom from breakdowns ; (4) less attention required to regular feeding ; and (5) the power by such equal crushing to regulate the boiler furnaces for burning the wet “megass”. This hydraulic attachment ranks among the greatest improvements recently perfected in modem sugar machinery, and has been recognised as such at many of the leading centres of sugar production. The firm have fitted up mills for sugar extraction in all the West Indian Islands, Canary Islands, Chili, Argentine Republic, the British colonies, wherever sugar is produced, and have also equipped most of the large home mills. The capabilities of the works in this department are such that they can turn out the whole of the machinery necessary for a large plantation within four months. They have made the largest plants of sugar machinery in existence, and are known as manufacturers of such plant in every quarter of the globe in which the sugar industry is exemplified.
In hydraulic machinery Messrs. Stewart are manfacturers of presses for baling cotton, jute, wool, &c., and find their principal markets for this class of apparatus in Bombay and Calcutta. Pumping engines are a very notable item in the list of specialities above set forth, particularly those of large power and capacity for waterworks. The firm produce a great many engines of this class, and have made them with pumping capacities of from 60,000 gallons to 1,000,000 gallons of water per day. One of especially high effective power was built for Hastings, and another for the progressive town of Rosario, in the Argentine Republic, whose citizens were undoubtedly well-advised in their “placing” of this important order. Messrs. Stewart also make all kinds of hydraulic and pumping machinery for drainage and irrigation purposes. The textile and dyeing trades are also indebted to Messrs. Stewart’s comprehensive industry for all kinds of apparatus for dyers and finishers. The various classes of machinery in use in these industries have been much improved by Mr. Stewart, and the firm hold a very valuable patents for machinery for calico printing, scouring, and finishing cloth.
And lastly, as engineers, Messrs. Duncan Stewart & Co. hold a position of exalted eminence in the manufacture of improved engine attachments and connections, and in the construction of every description of land and marine engines. They have completed many important contracts in this connection in a most notably satisfactory manner, one of the foremost among these in point of importance and pretension being the production of a magnificent compound horizontal engine with two steel Lancashire boilers, for the celebrated flax works of Messrs. Ireland Frères, of Houplines, near Armentières, France. This engine has been a distinct success, remarkable at once for splendid efficacy and economic action. Messrs. Stewart have only recently taken up the making of marine engines, but their successes have commenced ab initio, and they have already supplied engines to many large shipbuilders on the Clyde and elsewhere. And beyond all this, every branch of the boiler-making, tin-smithing, ironfounding and brassfounding industries are represented at the London Road Works in the most thorough and creditable manner.
Few Glasgovians in any walk of business life have greater cause for self-gratulation on the result of their labours than that possessed by Mr. Duncan Stewart. Beginning his active career in connection with commerce and industry at an exceptionally early age, and favoured with few advantages at the start other than those comprised within his own individual capacity, spirit, energy, and determination, he has worked long and earnestly, and always faithfully, in the cause of progress and improvement ; and the outcome of something like a quarter of a century of such effort and endeavour could hardly have been anything more gratifying or creditable than the magnificently developed industry now centred under his sole control in London Road. Mr. Stewart’s business career has simply been one long and unbroken success, influenced entirely by his own exertions, and owing nothing to favour and very little to fortune — giving the latter word its usual significance, that of a benefit secured on the Micawber principle of “waiting for something to turn up”. Mr. Stewart has never “waited” — of that fact there exists the clearest evidence. He has been constantly in the van of progress, prominent in every forward movement ; and upon principles of the soundest order, and by methods of the most honourable character, he has built up a trade that is world-wide in its present scope, and not second to any in the extent and influence of its connection.
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