Records of James Bennie & Sons Ltd, engineers and machine tool makers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes 1963
  • Cost ledger 1958
  • Register of directors holdings 1948-1961
  • Financial records 1968-1973
  • Catalogues, undated

Administrative / Biographical History

Newton, Bennie & Co was founded in 1835  at the Caledonian Iron Foundry, West Street, Glasgow, Scotland. By the mid- 1840s  the firm was known as James Bennie & Co and was chiefly engaged in the manufacture of marine engine castings. The manufacture of machine tools for shipyards and bridge building commenced about 1857. In 1867, ironfounding was discontinued and the firm concentrated on the manufacture of machine tools. In 1879, the business moved to Polmadie, Glasgow, following a fire at the West Street works. Following another fire at Polmadie, the company moved in 1900 to the Clyde Engine Works, Govan, Glasgow. In 1921  , the firm was incorporated as a limited liability company as James Bennie & Sons Ltd . The company was nearly abandoned following another fire in 1924 but Hugh Osbourne Bennie, son of the founder, rebuilt the works. The types of products produced were expanded to include lathes, slotting, planing, boring, beam bending and screwing machines. Between 1905-1910 the firm turned out 278 tools, of which 54 per cent went overseas, mainly to European countries; of the remainder 34 per cent went to English, Welsh, and Irish customers and only 13 per cent to Scottish firms.

In 1937  , the company came together with 4 other engineering and machine tool makers to form Scottish Machine Tool Corporation Ltd . These companies, G & A Harvey, Glasgow; Loudon Bros Ltd, Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland; Craig & Donald Ltd, Johnstone; and James Allan Senior & Sons Ltd, Glasgow; all retained their separate autonomy, even though they had amalgamated. Fifteen months after the amalgamation, Hugh Osbourne Bennie was appointed managing director of the new company, a post he held until 1945 although he remained involved with James Bennie & Sons Ltd until his retirement in 1949. Joint catalogues were produced under the name Scottish Machines Tools Corporation Ltd yet machines were branded with the name of their own manufacturer. In the late 1960s  , Scottish Machine Tool Corporation Ltd became an associate of Wilkins-Mitchell, forging equipment manufacturers, and in 1982  it went into liquidation.

Source: A Slaven & S Checkland,Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography: 1860-1960(Aberdeen, 1986) and M Moss & J HumeWorkshop of the British Empire: Engineering & Shipbuilding in the West of Scotland ( London , 1977  )


This material is arranged into series, which consist of numbers of items related by format and/or function. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : Strathclyde University Department of History : Glasgow 1987 : (Additional deposit)

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2556) and London (NRA26837)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

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

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

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This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 175/1 Records of Scottish Machine Tools Corporation Ltd

GB 248 UGD 175/2 Records of James Allan Senior & Sons Ltd

GB 248 UGD 175/3 Records of Loudon Bros Ltd

GB 248 UGD 175/4 Records of G & A Harvey

GB 248 UGD 175/6 Records of Craig & Donald Ltd

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


Hume, John R,  'Shipbuilding Machine Tools', Butt, John & Ward, JT (eds),Scottish Themes: Essays in Honour of Professor S G E Lythe(Edinburgh 1976)

Additional Information

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Geographical Names