THE senior partner of the engineering firm of G. & J. Weir, Ltd., was born near Airdrie in 1842, removed to Glasgow when a boy, and served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Randolph, Elder & Co., when that firm was at the beginning of its enterprise. In his twenty-third year he went to sea as a marine engineer, but in 1871 began business for himself in Liverpool. Two years later, however, he returned to Glasgow, to manufacture Silver's patent marine governor. Next, in seeking a remedy for the corrosion of marine boilers, he invented his patent feed heater, and devised a direct-acting feed pump, and later, on the introduction of triple-expansion engines, and consequent necessity for fresh water, he produced his patent evaporator. In 1887 he set up the Holm Foundry at Cathcart for the manufacture of these and his other inventions, and from a single building employing 40 men, the business has grown into works covering 13 acres and employing 1,450 workers.
The establishment was among the first to adopt electricity as a motive power, and among its other features is a system of bonuses to labour by which the extra diligence and speed of the workman add to his remuneration.
Mr. Weir has written a good deal on technical subjects related to his business. He is the author of a treatise on "Terrestrial Energy," and among papers contributed to the Transactions of various engineering societies was one on "Boiler Feeding," read before the Chicago Exhibition Engineering Congress, another on "The Problem of Combustion in Water-Tube Boilers," read to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, and a third on "Steam Engine Efficiency" delivered before the meeting of the Institute of Marine Engineers at Sheffield. The last-named has been since issued in book form.
Among other public offices he is a Vice-President of the Institute of Marine Engineers, a Councillor of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland and a representative of the latter on the Board of Trade Consultative Committee. He was also selected a member of the Committee on Electricity and Engineering for the Glasgow Exhibition of 1901.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)