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British Industrial History

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J. and A. Taylor

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J & A Taylor of Townhead Works, Smith Street, Ayr.

1847 Founded by James and Andrew Taylor

1859 See Andrew Smith Taylor

1869-71 Built a railway locomotive for the Dalmellington Iron Co [1]

1883 Made haulage machinery and boilers for Ayr Harbour slipway. Described.[2][3]


1894 Description of Works[4]

One of the firms engaged in the engineering and millwrighting industries of Ayrshire is that of Messrs J & A Taylor, of Townhead Works, Ayr. This notable and thoroughly representative house was founded in 1847 under the auspices of its present proprietors.

The business has its headquarters in premises covering a large area of ground, and comprising spacious buildings and sheds laid out upon a convenient scale and plan, and admirably adapted to all the purposes of the engineering industry and the commercial operations associated with the same.

All the various departments of the Townhead works are equipped with the most improved and powerful machinery for the class of work carried on, and the whole establishment affords an exposition of that remarkable industry of making machinery by machinery. Messrs J & A Taylor have a very good equipment of lathes, planning and drilling machines, boring, slotting and shaping machines, punching and shearing machines, &c., &c., all constantly at work on their premises, in the production of those goods for which the house has gained a national renown. A considerable number of hands are employed, and the industry is carried on throughout with a degree of vigour and active progress in its several stages that speaks well for the perfect organisation, development and effective value of all its working resources.

Messrs J & A Taylor have exceptional productive facilities, and they are consequently in a position to produce first-class work on the shortest possible notice. Their manufactures in all the modern designs and types of cranes, wheels, hauling machines for slip-dock purposes, dock gates for harbours, stationary engines, shafting, pulleys, &c., &c., are highly esteemed both at home and abroad for soundness of materials, excellence of constructive detail, and faultless workmanship. The engineering output of the firm represents careful accuracy and finish, as well as the highest condition of efficiency in action and effect, and in all their parts and details these productions exemplify a care that ensures the finest finish and quality that can be secured in any class of mechanical apparatus of the several kinds. Repairs are undertaken and executed with precision and despatch.

We may mention, as indicating what the firm is capable of achieving, a few of the more noteworthy contracts that have recently been carried into effect by Messrs J & A Taylor. Among these may be classed two twenty-ton cranes for the Harbour Trustees of Ayr; engines, boilers and shafting for the extensive boot manufactories of Messrs John Gray & Co., Maybole; T A Gray, Maybole; James Ramsay, Maybole; John Lees & Co., Maybole; R Dobbie & Co., Ayr; A Cuthbert & Son, Ayr; William Alexander & Sons' sawmill; hauling engines and gearing for Ayr Slip Dock; hauling engines for George Taylor & Co., Annbank; coal-screening machinery for the Dalmellington Iron Co.; William Baird & Co. Ltd; the Garrockhill and Duchray Coal Co.; engines for Messrs Templeton & Sons' mill, Ayr; and Wyllie & Co., manure manufacturers, Ayr; two powerful disintegrators for the Carron Iron Co., Falkirk; and one disintegrator for Messrs William Baird & Co. Ltd., Lugar.

It is not using language of too laudatory a character to say that the firm's entire business is conducted with energy and enterprise. Messrs J & A Taylor are constantly extending the scope of their operations and adding new features to a long list of notable productions; and by the merits of their engineering and millwrighting output, and the honourable straightforwardness of the firm's commercial dealings, they have won the confidence of a far-reaching connection, and have established upon a sound basis a trade whose volume and influence are constantly increasing throughout the length and breadth of the county


1896 Registered as a Joint Stock Company in Edinburgh. No 3187. J. & A. Taylor of Townend Works, Ayr.[5]

1909 Listed as 'Engineers and Implement Makers' - J. and A. Taylor Ltd., Townend Works, Smith Street, Ayr.[6]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  2. The Engineer 1883/12/07
  3. The Engineer 1883/12/14
  4. Ayrshire Historical Commercial and Descriptive
  5. Glasgow Herald - Saturday 09 May 1896
  6. 1909-10 Post Office Directory