Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Thomas Mercer (d.1831)

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1810 'HIGHLAND SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND. The Anniversary General Meeting of this Society, .... The Secretary laid before the Meeting, a letter from the Rev. Douglas of Galashiels, a Member of the Society, with an accompanying drawing of a machine, stated to be invented by Mr Thomas Mercer, clothier at Wilderhaugh, near the village, for raising the pile of wool on cloth and blankets, and also an improvement made by Mr Mercer, in the common Cranks used in machinery. The Society remitted to the Directors, to investigate the merits of Mr Mercer’s inventions or improvements in machinery, with power to the Directors to bestow such mark of the Society’s approbation on Mr Mercer, as they should see proper and expedient.'[1]

1831 Died. At Wilderhaugh, Galashiels, Thomas Mercer, Woollen Merchant, 'who first introduced the spinning jenny and carding engines into Scotland'.[2]

1831 Death notice: 'At Wilderhaugh, Galashiels, on 26th February last, Mr Thomas Mercer, woollen manufacturer, who first introduced the spinning-jenny and carding engines into Scotland, and to whom Galashiels has been indebted for all its subsequent improvements in carding and spinning wool. He was the first in Galashiels who adapted his engines to the manufacture of foreign wools, which trade he introduced in various branches, & flannels from these wools were made at his factory to equal the Rochdale fabric in fineness. He also made the first pieces of broad cloth that were manufactured in that town, and was the first who applied water power to his spinning jennies. While the loss of his experience and unwearied assiduity in search of improvements in machinery will be felt by his townsmen, the want of his clear and comprehensive views on almost all subjects, and the quaint and genuine humour with which he enlivened matters of ordinary occurrence, and which atoned for any eccentricities in his habits, will form a void that cannot be supplied from the circle of his friends.'[3]


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Sources of Information

  1. Perthshire Courier, 18 January 1810
  2. Belfast News-Letter - Tuesday 5 April 1831
  3. Dumfries & Galloway Courier