JAMES DUNNACHIE

    THE chairman and managing director of the Glenboig Union Fireclay Company, Limited, was born at Pollokshaws in 1835. His paternal ancestors were Jacobite Highlanders, but on the mother's side he is a Lowland Scot. It was in 1860 that he went to Glenboig. The clayfield had been discovered and first exploited in 1846, at the time of the great expansion of the iron industry in Lanarkshire. The brick made from it was used for lining the iron furnaces which sprang up everywhere in the region. But Mr. Dunnachie vastly improved the manufacture, and on the dissolution of the firm of which he was managing partner in 1872, he took a lease of the unlet portion of the Glenboig Clayfield, consisting of six-sevenths of the whole, and started the Star Works. Here he gave special attention to the needs of the new steel industry, which required a brick that would not split off inside the furnace and fill the metal with impurities. In a paper read before the British Association, he described this as "a brick high in silica, yet containing a fair proportion of alumina, and comparatively free from alkalis and other impurities." Very soon, owing to his energy, the Star Works became the largest producers of fireclay manufactures in the kingdom. In 1882 the Star Works and the Glenboig Company's old works were amalgamated, with a capital of 150,000, and since that date other works have been acquired at Cumbernauld and Gartcosh.
    Among Mr. Dunnachie's many improvements in the process of manufacture is the continuous regenerative gas kiln, which has not only abolished smoke, and reduced cost by more than one half, but improved the quality of the brick. But this is only one of his numerous patents. Each of the works is devoted to a particular branch of the manufacture, but every kind of fireclay work is produced by the company. About one thousand "hands" are employed, and the effect of the industry on the prosperity of the region may be judged from the fact that, while in 1860 the village of Glenboig contained only some 120 souls, it has now a population of nearly 3,000.
    Mr. Dunnachie is assisted in the management by his son, Mr. Archibald H. Dunnachie, who is general manager of the works, and who has had a special scientific training. Apart from the business, Mr. Dunnachie is a J.P. for Lanarkshire, and a liberal patron of the fine arts. He has travelled much abroad, and possesses trophies and curios gathered in many lands, savage and civilised.

Back to Index of Glasgow Men (1909)