Papers of Thomas W Burt, Consultant Engineer

Scope and Content

  • Production records, 1878-1929;
  • Photographs, c1900-c1930;
  • Administrative records, 1911-1970;
  • Financial records, 1920-1926.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas W Burt lived at 4 Orchard Avenue,  Bothwell. Mr Burt and his father were the designers of the first Burt Single Sleeve Valve Engine which was used by the  Argyll Motor Co and eventually became the Bristol Hercules Aero Engine which played a large part in the Second World War. This collection consists mainly of material relating to licence agreements for the Burt Single Sleeve Valve Engine

The Argyll car was designed by Alexander Govan (1869-1907) in Bridgeton, Glasgow, Scotland, in the  1890s  . The  Argyll Motor Co began in  1896  but its bid for a place in the British car market did not take place until  1906  when a factory was established at Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. In  1905  the directors formed  Argyll Motors Ltd . Govan had started the firm with a capital of £500,000 and it was poised for production on a scale similar to that of the Henry Ford Motor Co, USA. In 1907, Govan died suddenly at the age of 38 and in 1908 there was a partial liquidation and refloatation of the company when it became known as  Argylls Ltd . It was this company which developed Peter Burt's invention of the single-sleeve valve engine and Perrot's four wheel braking system. In a single day in 1913 at the Brooklands track in Surrey, England, an Argyll broke thirteen world records and twenty-eight Brooklands track records. Even with this achievement the company could not achieve commercial success. There were costly legal battles over Burt's patents and in 1914 the shareholders lost their confidence. No new backing was forthcoming and the company went into liquidation in  1914.

Source: GB 248 UGD 103  Sydney Checkland, Slaven, A and Checkland, S (eds.), vol 1'Vehicles',Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960(1986, Aberdeen)


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Loan : Burt family : 1976.

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures.

Custodial History

Held by the family of Peter Burt


None expected.

Related Material

No related material

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Jenny Cooknell, Assistant Archivist, 2 July 1999. Lower level description compiled by members of Glasgow University Archive Service staff. Revised by Jenny Cooknell, Assistant Archivist, 22 July 1999. Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 26 April 2002. Amended by Sam Maddra, Assistant Archivist (cataloguing), 21 January 2014.