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 163,113 pages of information and 245,598 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.

Thomas Morton (of Kilmarnock)

From Graces Guide

of Kilmarnock

According to Samuel Smiles:

"The principal part of his business related to carpet-weaving machinery. The improvements in the loom that he made effected quite a revolution in the carpet manufacture: to one of the chief of these improvements he was led by having been entrusted to repair a barrel organ. The mechanism of the instrument suggested to the keen, thoughtful observer an important improvement in the loom, and he introduced a barrel into his carpet loom, with which he afterwards combined a modification of the Jacquard loom. He also made excellent bagpipes for the home trade, and that were exported in considerable numbers.

"When still in his apprenticeship he invented a lathe for turning ovals. In 1816 he fitted a boat with what he called "his windmill under water" — really a screw propeller — which operated with complete success, but nothing came of the invention then: he was before his time....

"Mr. Morton erected an observatory at Kilmarnock, which was the pride of the town, and a means of valuable instruction and unmixed delight to thousands. The Board of Trade voted him thanks and a grant to encourage him to prosecute his labours. The Emperor of Russia made him a tempting offer to go to Russia and establish the carpet manufacture, but he preferred to remain. The Royal Scottish Society of Arts honoured him by electing him an honorary member. His fellow-townsmen elected him the first Chief Magistrate of Kilmarnock on the passing of the Municipal Reform Act in 1835."


1834 Death. 'At Inverness, of malignant cholera, on the 30th ult. Mr Thomas Morton, jun. civil engineer, Edinburgh, second son of Baillie Morton of Kilmarnock.'[1]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 22 October 1834