Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Cook and Co

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of Glasgow

c.1785 James Cook commenced business as millwright and engineer, in premises near St. Enoch Square, Glasgow, constructing sugar mills, driven by water wheels and windmills, and later by steam power.

About 1800 he removed to the south side of the Clyde, where he erected extensive works.

1812 His first marine engine was fitted into the Elizabeth, a small vessel built by John Wood and Co in 1812 for John Thomson, making Cook the first on the Clyde to design and construct machinery expressly for a steamboat.

Supplied engines for the Margery, which moved to work on the Thames at the end of 1814, and the Argyle, re-named Thames, which did the same early in 1815.

In about 1815 James Cook, who had a works at Tradeston, Glasgow, built a sugar mill driven by a beam engine for a West Indian plantation, laying the foundations of what was to become a significant speciality.

1820 Advert. Selling cast iron pipes. James Cook of Tradestown.[1]

1822 Mentioned as 'James Cook, engineer in Glasgow'[2]

By about 1824 Cook had supplied the machinery for over twenty steamers.

1829 Listed as 'Cook, James, & Co. engineers and machine makers, 95 Commerce street, Tradeston, ho. Kingston place'[3]

c1830 James Fenton was apprenticed to James Cook and Co of Glasgow as a mechanical engineer

1834 Listed as 'Cook, James, & Co. engineers and machine makers, 95 Commerce street, Tradeston'[4]

About 1835 James Cook died.

The business passed into the hands of his former manager, although not a relative, David Cook, who established the firm of D. Cook and Co. David Cook does not appear to have continued the marine engineering side of the business but concentrated on sugar machinery.



Cook Street in Glasgow is named for James Cook, a well-known engineer whose works were there. He engined some of the earlier steamers on the Clyde




See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Glasgow Herald - Monday 24 July 1820
  2. Glasgow Herald - Friday 26 July 1822
  3. 1828/9 Post Office Directory for Glasgow
  4. 1833/4 Post Office Directory for Glasgow