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Matthew Andrew Muir

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Matthew Andrew Muir (1812-1880)

1880 Obituary [1]

MR. MATTHEW ANDREW MUIR was born in Glasgow in the year 1812, and died in January l880 in the same city.

In early life he entered the establishment of Messrs. Houldsworth and Sons, where he acquired a general knowledge of iron-founding and machine-making work.

When the engineers' and mechanics' strike of 1830 occurred, he removed to Manchester to further develop and prosecute the knowledge he had obtained. At that time cotton-spinning and weaving machinery, with which he was subsequently so closely connected and largely interested, was in its infancy. Shortly afterwards his former employers offered him an appointment in their works as draughtsman, and by his industry, shrewdness, and perseverance, he gradually advanced from this position to be the managing partner of the firm, which was then changed to that of the Anderston Foundry Co., somewhere about the year 1850.

In the manufacture of machines and looms for both cotton and wool, the newly-organised firm maintained the foremost position in Scotland, attributed in large measure to the sagacious and competent management of Mr. Muir ; and whilst he personally took out numerous patents, and NaB interested in many joint inventions, for looms and other machinery, the business of the firm was gradually extended to the manufacture of railway chairs and other descriptions of permanent-way materials.

To Mr. Muir the credit is due of what is known in the foundry trade as plate moulding, he having been the first to introduce that system, which has done more than anything else to revolutionise the power of production, both in quantity and quality, at a cheap price. His aim in business was always directed towards economy in manufacture, whilst never deteriorating quality, by producing large quantities. In castings alone the make of his firm exceeded 1,000 tons weekly, the produce being distributed to all quarters of the globe.

Mr. Muir was naturally of a quiet and retiring disposition, and whilst his benevolence was extended with unstinted hand to many, it was done unostentatiously, and in that simple Christian-like way of not letting his right hand know what his left did. He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1865.

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