Records of A & W Smith & Co Ltd, sugar machine manufacturers, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes 1909-1947
  • Order books 1845-1886
  • Duplicate order books 1863-1906, 1926-1965
  • Sub-order books 1872-1919
  • Job books 1900-1962
  • Cost price books 1906-1934
  • Photographs 1907-1924
  • Drawing registers 1859-1959
  • Miscellaneous volumes and historical notes 1897-1963
  • Production order books 1954-1970
  • Sugar machinery drawings [to be identified]

Administrative / Biographical History

In  1837,  the brothers Andrew and William Smith, millwrights, entered into a partnership as agricultural and general engineers in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, under the name  A & W Smith & Co , millwrights and machine engineers. Their first machine was a 16 inch x 30 inch steam-driven sugar mill for Tobago, West Indies. In  1855,  the firm moved to the Eglinton Engine Works in Tradeston, Glasgow, Scotland, and began to specialise in the manufacture of sugar machinery, having been introduced to the sugar industry by W & A McOnie, engineers, Glasgow, who had subcontracted to them the manufacture of cattle-driven sugar mills. In  1896,  they became a limited company,  A & W Smith & Co Ltd , and the first chairman was John Wilson, MP. As well as producing sugar machinery, the firm also produced bridge and structural steelwork for locomotive sheds and buildings. Railway wagons and weighbridges were also a speciality and in 1869 the company produced its first tank locomotive for Robson Maynard & Co, coalmasters, Middlesborough, England.

In the twentieth century, the inter-war period saw the sugar machine industry struggle in the general depression of the world economy. Most of the sugar-producing areas were equipped with relatively new machinery with a long life expectancy so the stable demand for sugar meant little work for machinery builders. Most of the West of Scotland firms survived, but only through diversification. A & W Smith & Co Ltd, for example, bought the power hammer business of  R G Ross & Sons Ltd in the  early 1930s  , made Loudon planes for Russia, and took out a licence for sandslingers for foundry use. In  1953  , the company was acquired by Tate & Lyle Ltd, sugar refiners, London, England.

The 1950s and 1960s saw a collapse in the industry with A & W Smith & Co Ltd acquiring the goodwill of most of its former rivals. In  1967  they acquired  The Mirrlees Watson Co Ltd , and subsequently traded as  Smith Mirrlees . Smith Mirrlees was acquired in  1988  by  Fletcher & Stewart Ltd , sugar machine manufacturers, Derby, England. They ceased to operate at the Eglinton Works in the  late 1980s  . In 2002, A & W Smith & Co Ltd was a non-trading subsidiary company of United Molasses, itself a subsidiary of Tate & Lyle plc. The company was the last sugar machinery manufacturers in Scotland.

Source:   Michael Moss and John Hume, Workshop of the British Empire: Engineering and Shipbuilding in the West of Scotland(London, 1977)


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

Access Information

Access to all records dating within the past 50 years must be cleared with the company. Apply in the first instance to the University Archivist

Acquisition Information

Smith Mirrlees : Eglinton Works : Glasgow : 1972

Smith Mirrlees : Eglinton Works : Glasgow : 1976 (Additional deposit)

Smith Mirrlees : Eglinton Works : Glasgow : c1982 (Additional deposit)

Fletcher & Stewart Ltd : c1988 (Additional deposit)

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom as part of the Smith Mirrlees finding aid (UGD 118)

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)3119) and London (NRA14656)

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

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Acquired directly from creators


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 062 Records of The Mirrlees Watson Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 116 and UGD 118/6 Records of Blairs Ltd

GB 248 UGD 118/2 Records of Mirrlees Watson & Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 118/3 Records of Pott, Cassels & Williamson

GB 248 UGD 118/4 Records of W & W McOnie

GB 248 UGD 118/5 Records of John McNeil & Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 118/7 Records of R G Ross & Sons Ltd

GB 248 UGD 118/9 International Sugar Bulletin

GB 248 UGD 118/11Records of Fletcher & Stewart Ltd

See source list on Sugar available via Glasgow University Archive Services homepage at

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


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Additional Information

This material is original

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Geographical Names