Records of A F Craig & Co Ltd, engineers, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes 1895-1974;
  • Correspondence 1921-1958;
  • Ledgers 1896-1979;
  • salary records 1885-1973;
  • Cost books 1908-1980;
  • Invoices, contracts and calculation records 1925-1987;
  • Quotations 1933-1982;
  • Order books 1878-1971;
  • Stock registers and inventories 1884-1969;
  • Photographs 1896-1965;
  • Drawings 1933-1975 (contracts 600-1110, 29163-34220, not inclusive);
  • Drawing registers 1900-1928;
  • Miscellaneous job books, abstract books, financial records and estimates 1866-1982;
  • Unlisted plans (currently unavailable).

The plans in this collection are currently unavailable for consultation in the searchroom. For more information please contact the Duty Archivist

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1868  Archibald Fulton Craig started in business as a manufacturer of cropping machines at the Caledonia Engine Works, Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Two years later, in 1870, he was joined in the business by his uncle, James, and the company became known as A F Craig & Co . From then, until James retired in 1875  , they concentrated on improving the cropping machine. In 1880  , Archibald's brother, Robert F Craig, who was also an engineer, joined him as a partner and acted as works manager. During this partnership, which lasted until Robert's death in 1894  , the company prospered and expanded. Iron-founding and boiler making were added to the general engineering being carried out, but the most important product was the cropping machine which gained a prize at the Paris Exhibition in 1878. Agents were resident in France and Belgium and in 1885 a small shop manned by experienced engineers from the Caledonia Engine Works was set up in Armentieres, France. By 1900, the cropping machines were being used by textile firms in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. Other textile machinery was being produced including thread-polishers; spool-making, bleaching and dyeing machines; and carpet looms.

The development of the shale oil trade in Scotland in the 1850s and 1860s opened up a new line of business for the firm which gained both experience and recognition for the erection of shale distillery and refining plant. Plants were erected in both France and Spain.

In 1894  , following Robert's death, the business was incorporated as a limited company as A F Craig & Co Ltd . Between 1899 and 1914 a policy of modernisation of plant and machinery was pursued with electric lighting being installed, electric motors added to cranes, hydraulic plant and new tools being purchased. The new plant allowed for the production of boilers, steam engines, cranes and hoists, condensers, hydro-extractors, filter presses, knitting machines, sugar mills and pumps.

In 1930  , the company amalgamated with H W Aitken & Co Ltd , sugar machinery manufacturers, Paisley, and then, in the 1950s  , an association was formed with D Crabtree & Son Ltd (incorporated 1923), textile machinery manufacturers, Sheffield, England, which led to the creation of Craig-Crabtree (Contracts) Ltd in 1968  . In 1982  A F Craig & Co Ltd went into receivership, but part of the business was acquired by a management buy-out to trade as A F Craig (Ironfounders) Ltd. In 2002 the company no longer traded.

Source: Anthony Slaven & Sydney Checkland, vol. 1Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography 1860-1960(Aberdeen, 1986)


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


The plans in this collection are currently unavailable for consultation in the searchroom. For more information please contact the Duty Archivist

Acquisition Information

Deposit : A F Craig & Co Ltd : Paisley : 1982 : ACCN 0042

Other Finding Aids

File level list available in searchroom and at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)2551) and London (NRA26838)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

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

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

Appraisal Information

Following appraisal, UGD173/3 daybooks and UGD/173/4 cash books were destroyed in April 1993

Custodial History

Received directly from the creator, following liquidation


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 173/16 Records of H W Aitken Co Ltd

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Collection catalogued by Jenny Cooknell, Assistant Archivist, 30 August 1999. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 11 June 2002. Edited by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 14 May 2002, and Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 2 April 2012.

Geographical Names