glasgow iron tons industry bleaching clyde manufacture
INDUSTRIES. - The most outstanding feature in the industrial position of Glasgow is the great variety and wide range of its manufactnring and trading activity. While no one of the great industries occupies a position of predominant importance so as to stamp itself as the peculiar characteristic of the town, there are numerous leading departments of industry which have been long established and are prosecuted on a great scale, while a variety of special manufactures have found their principal centre in Glasgow and the Clyde valley. When to this fact is added the consideration that Glasgow is one of the three principal seaports of the 'United Kingdom, it will at once be obvious that the wealth and prosperity of the city arc contributed to by many separate and important streams. The circumstances and conditions which have favoured the establishment of the leading industries in Glasgow are quite as varied as are the industries themselves. The abundance of pure water in the hill streams around the city led at an early date to the introduction of bleaching, calico-printing, and allied pursuits ; and these, in their turn, reacted favourably on hand-loom weaving and other textile manufactures. In a similar way the first beginnings of the now great chemical industries are clearly related to the early stages of the bleaching and printing trades. The fact, however, that the town is actually built within the richest coal and ironstone field in Scotland has had, of all causes, the most important influence in determining the current and prosperity of local industries. Further, the river Clyde, rendered navigable for vessels of the largest tonnage, flowing through the centre of that great coal and iron region, presents incomparable facilities for the prosecution of shipbuilding and marine engineering. But beyond the advantages of natural position and mineral wealth it is right to say that Glasgow owes much of her industrial prestige to a long line of highly-gifted, ingenious, sagacious, and energetic citizens, whose influence has not only been stamped on local industries, but has been felt and acknowledged throughout the entire world.
The principal industries of Glasgow range themselves under the heads separately noted below. With respect to many of them it is a matter of regret that no trustworthy source of specific information exists ; and thus the origin, vicissitudes, and progress of really important trades can only be recorded in vague and general terms.
Textile manuftectures. - The industries embraced under this head were the first which gave Glasgow a place among the great manufacturing communities ; but though. through many changes and fluctuations, they continue to yield extensive employment, they now occupy a comparatively secondary position. In the cotton trade, which originated about 17S0, Glasgow possesses several factories which are reckoned among the largest in the trade ; the industry has, however, for a number of years been in a stationary if not declining condition. The manufacture of light textures has always been the leading feature of the Glasgow trade, - plain, striped, and figured muslins, ginghams, and fancy fabrics forming the staple. Thread manufacture, although specially a Paisley industry, is also extensively prosecuted in Glasgow. According to a return obtained in 1875 the whole cotton industry of Scotland afforded employment to 33,276 individuals, and excepting about 10 per cent. it was entirely centred in Glasgow and the surrounding district. Jute and silk are staples worked only to an inconsiderable extent in Glasgow, though about a century ago the manufacture of silk gauze flourished extensively, and has left traces of its former importance to the present day. The most characteristic of woollen and worsted manufactures is carpet weaving, all the leading kinds of carpets being extensively made, and the " tapestry " curtains and portieres made by several firms are examples of highly artistic woollen fabrics.
Bleaching, Printing, and Dyeing. - These allied industries took root in the Glasgow district at an earlier period than that of their introduction into the rival regions of Lancashire, calico-printing having been begun near Glasgow in 1738. The use of chlorine in bleaching was first introduced in Great Britain at Glasgow in 1787, on the suggestion of the illustrious James Watt, by his father-in-law, a local bleacher ; and it was a Glasgow bleacher - Charles Tennant - who first made and introduced bleaching powder (chloride of lime). The dyeing of Turkey red was begun as a British industry at Glasgow by two eminent citizens - David Dale and George M'Intosh - and that unequalled colour was long locally known as Dale's red. All these industries continue to hold a foremost place in Glasgow, a large amount of grey cloth being sent from the Lancashire looms to be bleached and printed in the Scotch works. In particular Turkey red dyeing and printing have developed to an extent unequalled in any other manufacturing centre.
Chemical Manufactures. - The operations of bleaching and calico-printing in the early part of last century gave rise to such chemical manufactures - the preparation of dye liquors, &c. - as these industries demand. The discovery of bleaching powder by Charles Tennant in 1799 led directly to the development of the great chemical works of C. Tennant & Co. at St Rollex and its various branches, and gave the first great impetus to chemical manufactures in Glasgow. Among the prominent chemical industries are to be reckoned the alkali trades - including soda, bleaching powder, and soap-making - the preparation of alum and prussiates of potash, bichromate of potash manufacture (an industry peculiarly identified with Glasgow), the extraction of iodine and other products from sea-weeds, dynamite and gun-powder manufacture, the making of flint glass, bottle glass, paper, white-lead and other pigments, and brewing and the distillation of spirits. The numerous chemical preparations used in the bleaching and calico-printing trades are also among the local manufactures, as well as the preparation of starch, British gum, and dextrine, and the manufacture of lucifer matches.
Iron Manufacture aml other Metallurgical liulustries. - Although the blast furnaces of Scotland are distributed over several of the midland counties, the great proportion of them are in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, and the trade is entirely controlled and practically monopolized in Glasgow. The discovery of the value of blackband ironstone by Alushet and the invention of the hot-blast by Neilsomwere two events which exercised a wonderful influence on the development of iron smelting in Scotland. So rapid was the expansion of the industry during the earlier half of this century that in 1859 one-third of the whole iron produced in the United Kingdom was Scotch. • For 20 years post the trade has shown little elasticity, the annual production averaging about a million of tons of pig iron, - the maximum output having been reached in 1870, when 1,206,000 tons were smelted. In 1877 of a total of 152 furnaces existing there were 109 in blast, and of the whole 131 were situated in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire, 102 of these being in operation. The entire .output of pig -iron in that year was 932,000 tons, while in 1878 from 90 furnaces in blast the production is estimated at 902,000 tons. The number of malleable mon works in Glasgow and its neighbourhood is 22, having' had during 1877 345 puddling furnaces and 53 rolling mills in operation. Mild steel is manufactured on an extensive scale by the Siemens-Martin process, and a small amount of crucible cast steel is also made. Other metallurgical industries include the extraction of copper by Henderson's wet process, and a limited amount of zinc smelting.
Engineering. - With abundance of iron and coal, and great facilities of both land and water carriage, it is only to be expected that mechanical engineering should be carried on in Glasgow with peculiar energy and success. Almost all departments of engineering work are well represented in the district ; and among the special features of the industries may be enumerated the great water and gas pipe casting establishments, sanitary and general iron-founding, malleable iron tube making, locomotive engine building, the manufacture of sugar machinery and of sewing machines, - two great establishments on the model of American factories for the latter trade being conducted by the Singer and the Howe ',Machine Companies respectively. The marine engineering works of the Clyde - which in many instances are worked in direct connexion with shipbuilding yards - are equipped on a scale worthy of the great industry of which they form an important part ; and few establishments exist in any other quarter capable of producing the enormous forgings for propeller shafts, &c., of ocean steamers, which form a regular item in the undertakings of Glasgow engineering firms.
Shipbuilding is the greatest of all the modern industries of Glasgow, and the position attained by the shipbuilders of the Clyde is a matter of imperial consequence and national pride. The shipbuilding yards of the Clyde extend front Rutherglen above Glasgow to Greenock, - Dumbarton, Port Glasgow, and Greenock having an important stake in the industry. In sonic years about half the total tonnage built in the United Kingdom has been launched from the Clyde yards, as is shown by the following statement : - During the year 1878 the tonnage launched on the Clyde from the yards of 35 different firms amounted to 222,353 tons, one vessel, the "Gallia.," built for the Cunard. Company, being of 5200 tons burthen, - a tonnage, however, which has been exceeded by the Guion steamer " Arizona " (5500 tons), launched in 1879. The work turned out is very diversified, but as a rule of the highest class, and includes armour-plated and other vessels for the Royal Navy, mail and passenger ocean steamers for the great Transatlantic and other lines, river steamboats famous throughout the world for swiftness and elegance of appointments, merchant sailing vessels, dredging plant, and hopper barges. With the exception of a very insignificant proportion of wooden vessels, the whole of the shipping built on the Clyde is of iron and steel, the latter having recently been introduced with great success. The shipbuilding trade, in Glasgow indeed owes its extraordinary expansion almost entirely to the rapid supplanting of wood by iron as a building material. Twenty years ago, in 1859, the tonnage launched measured only 35,709 tons, front which amount, by rapid strides, it reached in 1863 a total of 123,262 tons, and in 1874 the maximum amount of 262,430 tons was floated off.