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David Colville and Sons

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January 1888.
1912
1919.
1919.
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1923.
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1939.
1960

Colvilles, of Dalzell Steel Works, Motherwell, near Glasgow, and Ravenscraig.

1871 Company founded by David Colville. The Motherwell works date from 18th October 1871, having started as a malleable iron works, manufacturing bars, beams, etc.

1880 The firm switched to steel production. To meet the rapidly-growing demand for mild steel in boilermaking and shipbuilding, David Colville built the Dalzell steel works on ground adjoining his ironworks, manufacturing steel by the Siemens process. The new plant was completed by February 1881[1]

1888 Glasgow International Exhibition. Siemens plates, rolled bars and hammered blooms. [2]

1890s Colville finally allowed control of the company to pass to his sons

1895 The loans from J S Napier were repaid John was elected to Parliament. The company was incorporated as a private limited company. John Colville was the first chairman of the limited company.

1898 David Colville died. David junior was the driving force behind the policy of expansion and continuous modernization which by the eve of the First World War made the firm the largest in the Scottish steel industry and second only to Dorman Longs in Great Britain. His brother Archibald grappled with the commercial and financial implications of his David's plans. David sought and adopted the latest steelmaking practices, dealt ruthlessly with the growing and increasingly well organized labour forces and secured the loyalty of the senior managers by offering them shares in the company.

1901 Archibald became chairman after John's sudden death

1910 John Craig became a Director. [3]

1914 Manufacturers of steel and iron, Siemens open hearth mild steel, high tensile steel and nickel steel, boiler, ship and special quality plates, angles, bulb angles, channels, zed bars, tee bars, rounds and other sections, billets, blooms, ingots for forgings etc. [4]

1915 Colvilles took over the Clydebridge Works

1916 Colvilles also purchased Glengarnock Iron and Steel Co and, as enemy submarines had become active, the Ministry requested Colvilles to undertake large expansions, to meet the acute demand for steel plates to build Standard Ships. The enlargement of both works began in October 1916, at a cost of £1½ million.

Also gained control of the Fullwood foundry, and purchased the ordinary shares of a major colliery company, Archibald Russell Ltd, in order to safeguard fuel supplies for the steel works.

1916 Both David and Archibald died. John Craig took on the management of the firm.

1916 Harland and Wolff with John Brown and Co acquired a large share in the Motherwell steel works of David Colville and Sons, together with their collieries, to supply the yards.

1919 The Engineer published a summary of the company's history, read it here.

1920 Harland and Wolff acquired a controlling interest in the company[5]

1926 The firm's Dalzell Works reopened in December.[6]

1930 Became a public company

1931 The Lithgow brother agreed to merge their holdings in James Dunlop and Co with David Colville and Sons, as a consequence of which they joined the board of the Colville companies, forming Colvilles. It was decided to centralize pig iron manufacture at the former Dunlop's Clyde Iron Works. This resulted in the blast furnaces at Glengarnock closing down and the old rolling mill was also closed down.

See Colvilles.

Clydebridge Steel Works

"The Clydebridge Steel Works of David Colville and Sons, Ltd., are equipped for an output of over 5000 tons of plates per week, and, so far as the new portion of the works is concerned, represent the latest methods in steel works practice. Before giving a detailed account of the new plant, which we propose to so in what follows, reference may be made to the origin of the Clydebridge works and the development which has taken place during the last ten years." From The Engineer 1923/08/31.

Read the series of articles on The Clydebridge Steel Works

No. I - The Engineer 1923/08/31


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • History of Clydebridge[1]
  1. The Engineer 1881/03/18
  2. The Engineer of 27th April 1888 p338
  3. The Engineer 1957/02/08
  4. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  5. The Engineer 1921/01/14
  6. The Engineer 1926/12/24
  • Biography of the Colville family, ODNB