Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,650 pages of information and 235,200 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Guilherme McHardy

From Graces Guide

Guilherme (William) McHardy of McHardy & Cia., Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This entry currently includes the Brazilian companies with which McHardy was associated.

Guilherme McHardy was a mechanical engineer from Drumblair, Scotland, who arrived in Brazil in 1872 to work at the Lidgerwood and Co in Campinas. In 1875, he founded his own company, McHardy & Cia.

In 1880 he entered a double partnership, constituting the firm Guilherme McHardy & Cia (John James Ross and McHardy & Cia – Foundry Campineira de Ferro e Bronze – for which he associated with Joseph James Sims.

For more information, see here for more information.

We published on Tuesday last a very graphic letter from John J. Ross, manager for Mr William M'Hardy of Drumblair, Huntly, the owner of a great engineering business in Campinas, Brazil, addressed to that gentleman, who is presently in this country, giving an account of a very appalling outbreak of yellow fever in the town of Campinas. It was stated that 10,000 out of 16,000 inhabitants had fled town, and that a large proportion of the numerous workmen employed by Mr M'Hardy had been laid aside by sickness, had died, or temporarily left the place. Subsequent to the writing of the letter, as previously stated, a telegram was received in this country by Mr M'Hardy, stating that poor Mr Ross, as fine a fellow as ever breathed, had died. Just immediately before his death, Mr Sims, partner of Mr M'Hardy, had also fallen victim to the ravages of the plague, and from telegraphic information since received, it appears that Mr Ross, in his anxiety to relieve Sims of his responsibility and in trying to save Mr M'Hardy's partner, had lost his own life. The blow to Mr M'Hardy from the loss of his trusted colleagues must be very severe, it severs him from respected personal friends. It is gratifying, however, to state that recent telegrams indicate a more hopeful state of affairs at Campinas, and there is every prospect that by-and-bye the plague will die out and at last confidence will be restored. So far as the business of Mr M'Hardy, our energetic countryman, is concerned, we are glad to learn that it has been practically unaffected beyond the temporary dislocation of the work by what has occurred. No interruption, however, will occur to the works, which are being conducted meantime by the bookkeeper, Mr Bloem, and the foreman, Mr Galloway, with great energy. Mr M'Hardy himself is preparing to at once go out and put himself at the head of a business which is one of the largest and most important of the kind in Brazil. The many friends of Mr M'Hardy will sympathise very deeply with him in the loss of his personal friends, but his indomitable energy, which has earned for him the title of "The Iron Man," will very speedily enable him to put matters into their usual excellent order. While referring to the sad occurrences in Campinas, it is interesting to note that our townsman, Mr John Harper of Seafield, with Mr John Harper, jun., managing director of Harper (Limited) Iron Works, paid a visit in July of last year to Mr M'Hardy, and spent a month in Campinas and the surrounding district. During his stay in Campinas Mr Harper was almost daily in company with Messrs Ross and Sims, and it was very pleasant to observe the harmony that existed between employer and employed. On the day that Mr M'Hardy and the Messrs Harper left Campinas, after a most enjoyable and novel experience, they received a singular honour. Messrs Sims and Ross, with the entire staff of the M'Hardy factories, and influential friends of all nationalities, to the number of many hundreds, preceded by the excellent band of "The M'Hardy Club," which is entirely made up of Mr M'Hardy employes, accompanied them to the railway station as an evidence of the good feeling and kindly wishes entertained towards them on leaving for Europe. There is no doubt that much of the success of the demonstration was due to the elaborate arrangements made by poor Ross and Sims.'[1]

1889 'Monument to an Aberdeen Man in Brazil.
It will be recollected that in April last year a plague broke out in Campinas, Brazil, resulting in the death of many of the inhabitants, and cutting off among others Mr John James Ross, the manager for Messrs Wm. M‘Hardy & Co., engineers, brass and iron founders, and Mr Joseph James Sims, of the firm. Mr Ross was Aberdeen man, who was well known and greatly respected in this city for his fine manly qualities, and Mr M'Hardy, who is at present resident on his property at Drumblair, Forgue, has just erected in Campinas a costly and handsome monument in memory of these two gentlemen. The "Diaro de Campinos," a copy of which has been sent by Mr M'Hardy to Mr John Harper of Seafield House, who had been entrusted with the arrangements for sending out the monumsnt, contains a description of the monument. It is the form of obelisk, from 10 to 12 feet high. The base is of Aberdeen granite, and the die is of polished Peterhead granite. This is surmounted by a very massive ornamental capital of Aberdeen granite from which rises a shaft of polished Peterhead granite. The whole has very fine effect and is much admired by the natives, whose monuments are chiefly of wood of a durable character. On one of the sides of the monument on a polished tablet, of which there is one on each face, is the following inscription:-

of Drumblair, Scotland,
And Campinas, Brazil,
In Memory of
Guilherme Hardy & Co., Engineers,
Brass and Iron Founders, Campinas,
And late of Aberdeen, Scotland,
Who died at Campinas, 8th April, 1839,
Aged 32 years,

'And of JOSEPH JAMES SIMS, of the Firm of
M'Hardy, Founders, Campinas,
Who died at Campinas, 3rd April, 1889,
Aged 43 years.

'The monument, which is enclosed by an ornamental iron railing, is from the hands of Mr James Taggart, granite polisher, 92 Great Western Road, Aberdeen, and is a fine piece of work. The many friends of Mr Ross in the north, and of Mr Sims, who was a Devonshire man, also known in the north, will be glad to know that the memory of these men will be thus perpetuated.'[2]

1916 'Death of Mr W. F. M'Hardy of Drumblair,
William F. M'Hardy of Drumblair died last night at his residence, and by his death there is removed one who was well known at Scottish athletic gatherings as a judge, and who had in former years been one of the most successful competitors himself.
On 16th November, 1872, Mr M'Hardy sailed from Glasgow for Rio Janeiro, where he landed on New Year's Day, 1873. Then commenced his marvellously successful career in Brazil. He revolutionised the coffee industry in San Paulo by inventing and patenting new machinery. Finally established a huge foundry and engineering establishment at Campinas, Brazil.
He was known to the natives of Brazil as "the man of iron."
In 1893, Mr M'Hardy bought the estate of Drumblair and transferred the Marnoch games to a field near the mansion-house, the name of the gathering being changed from Marnoch to Drumbiair in 1896.
Mr M'Hardy took a very keen interest in all that pertained to the welfare of Strathdon. He was a regular attender at the Lonach Highland Gathering for many years, invariably appearing in the Highland costume in accordance with the established custom. He was a generous subscriber to the prize-fund, and did all he could to promote the success of the games.'[3]

Notable Career Abroad.
The death took place on Sunday night, after a short illness as the result of a chill, of Mr William F. M'Hardy of Drumblair.
The story of Mr M'Hardy's career is one of the finest of the many which can written of the success of the Scot abroad. A native of Forglen, Banffshire, and engineer by profession, was in his earlier days employed in Banff as a millwright and cartwright, as well as an engine fitter and artificer. He had ambition to out into the world, and so, on 16th November, 1872, he sailed from Glasgow to Rio Janeiro on the s.s. Andes. It was an adventurous voyage, for in the Bay of Biscay, in the course a storm which threatened to engulf the vessel, fire broke out on board, and part of the crew mutinied and had to be put in irons. Landing at Rio on New Year's Day, 1873, M'Hardy was not long in realising, on looking around on the great coffee and sugar-planting industries, that there a was wide field for the application of mechanical science.
In November, 1875, he came home and made arrangements for the construction of the first coffee machines of his own invention. Those were made Meadow bank, Forglen, the ironwork of the first lots being supplied by Messrs G. W. Murray and Co., Banff Foundry. The results obtained from the machines completely eclipsed those produced by anything else in the market, and Mr M'Hardy at once scored a magnificent success.
Many other labour-saving machines were invented and patented by him, and for fifteen years he could not turn his appliances out fast enough. Huge foundry and engineering works were laid down by him at Campinas, Brazil, his employees numbering about 500.
In 1890 resolved to form his increasing business into a limited liability company, and one with a capital of £800,000 was floated and took over the works in January, 1891. For the first three years he acted as managing director, and he then retired, though continuing to hold for a time a considerable monetary interest in the concern.
Before returning to Scotland he had purchased the beautiful estate of Drumblair, Forgue, and in 1901 he bought the estate of Auchernach, Strathdon. He was a perfervid Scot. In the "Club M'Hardy" for his workers at Campinas, the decorative scheme was that of "Scotland's bonnie hills and dales," with "the gathering of the clans", and a large-sized figure of a 93rd (Argyll and Sutherland) Highlander in full dress uniform. When he came home he invariably wore the garb of Old Gaul. His was a striking figure. Indeed, he was a man amongst men, not only mentaly — as evidenced by his inventive genius — but physically. Not without reason had the Brazilians described him "Omen de ferri" - "the man of iron." They were confident that the combination of mere bone and muscle could have withstood the labour of his first years in Brazil, when most of his sleeping was often done in the saddle! His arduous life abroad had left his exceptionally robust frame unaffected, and long after his return home he demonstrated that he had few equals of his years for agility and stamina. No-one did more for Scottish athletics. ......
..... Mr M 'Hardv was a widower, his wife having died about eighteen months ago, and is survived by family of four daughters.'[4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Aberdeen Press and Journal - Tuesday 23 April 1889
  2. Aberdeen Press and Journal - Wednesday 18 December 1889
  3. Aberdeen Evening Express - Monday 17 January 1916
  4. Aberdeen Press and Journal - Tuesday 18 January 1916