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 163,165 pages of information and 245,632 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.

John Duffus and Co

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of Footdee Ironworks, Aberdeen

Iron founders, shipbuilders, marine engineers.

Originally a firm of rope makers in Aberdeen

Steam Boats

When rope was displaced by chain, the owners brought in John Duffus, a blacksmith in Aberdeen, to develop make chains; part of the works was set aside to make steam engines, which was managed by Mr Johnstone, recruited from Cook's Engine Works in Glasgow.[1]

1826 Advertisement: 'STEAM-BOAT, Of One Hundreds and Forty Horse Power, FOR SALE BY PRIVATE BARGAIN, NOW BUILDING at ABERDEEN, to be Launched in January next, and completed for sea early in May following. Length of Keel 136 feet-on Main Deck 150 feet-breadth within the Paddles 26 feet-clear hold 154 feet -having two Condensing Engines of 70 horse power each, constructed on the most approved principles and of the best materials, with malleable Iron Shafts, Connecting Rods, &c. The Subscribers having erected an Extensive Establishment for constructing MARINE and other ENGINES, are building this Boat purposely for inspection and sale, as a specimen of their work. She is thus early advertised, to afford intending purchasers all opportunity of inspecting her Hull and Materials; the timber is of excellent quality, perfectly squared, free from sap, and well seasoned, having been in the frame for the last four months, and as she is partly planked, will be best seen at present, or during the months of August and September. In the event of an early sale, the Vessel may be completed and her Cabins finished in any manner to suit the views of a purchaser. Any farther information may be obtained (if by letter post-paid) by applying to ' JOHN DUFFUS & CO., Chain Cable, Anchor, and Steam Engine Manufacturers, Aberdeen. Aberdeen, July 28, 1826.'[2] They built engines for the Queen of Scotland and the Duke of Wellington which opened the steam service between Aberdeen and London but Johnstone left to work in Russia.

1832 Captain Bourne ordered the Royal Tar

1845 Sale

1845 Notice in the Fife Herald, 9th September 1845:-

'IMPORTANT SALE OF IRON GOODS. TO IRON MERCHANTS, BLACKSMITHS, IRONMONGERS, ENGINEERS, BOILER MAKERS, SHIP-BUILDERS, SHIPOWNERS, AND OTHERS. Upon Tuesday the 23d September, and following Days, there will be Sold by Auction, at FOOTDEE IRONWORKS, very Large and Valuable STOCK of GOODS belonging to John Duffus & Co., of which it is impossible to give an adequate description within the limits of an advertisement. Catalogues of the whole are course of preparation, and will ready for delivery Twenty Days previous to the Sale. The following is a List of some of the leading Articles of each day's Sale:-

'First Day — TUESDAY, 23d September. General Ironmongery Goods. Kettle-pots, Camp Ovens, Girdles, Frying-pans, Boilers, Cart-ringing Machines; Furnace, Stove, and Grate Metal, Pulleys and Wheels, Swedge Blocks, Tue-irons; about tons of Common, Best, and Crown S C Iron, in Bars, &c. &c.

'Second Day — WEDNESDAY, 24th September. Weighing Beams, with and without Stands; Umbrella Stands ; a number of Copying Presses of the most approved make; Vices, Iron and Copper Wire Weights, Hammers, Caulking Irons, and a very large assortment of Double and Single Joint, Chest and T, Bed, Flapper, Table, Dovetail, and other Hinges, and 12 tons of Iron.

'Third Day — THURSDAY, 25th September. The whole Stock of Files, comprising all the usual sizes; Sad Irons, Black Lead, Joiners' Cramp, Water Sink 'Rainwater Pipes and Spouts, large assortment of Sash Weights, Balluster Railing, Second-Hand Chains, Builders' Crabs or Cranes, Stoves, &c. &c.

'Fourth Day — FRIDAY, 26th September. Plough Metal, of all the favourite makes ; Fanner Wheels' Thrashing-Mill Castings, Water Tanks, Cattle Bindings, Britchen Irons, and other Agricultural Articles and about 20 tons of Common, Best and Crown S C, and Jobbing Iron, of all the most useful sizes.

'Fifth Day - SATURDAY, 27th September. A large assortment of superior Stock Locks, Nails, Screws,°Stovcs, Kitchen and Elliptic Grates, Hammer and Wedge Forged Blocks, and about 70 tons of the various qualities of Iron.

'Sixth Day — MONDAY, 29th September. Various kinds of Material suitable for Engineers, Chainmakers, and Boilermakers— consisting of Angle Iron, Forged Bars, Boiler Plates, Rivets, Rivet Iron, Tackle Blocks, Borax, Red Lead, Boilermakers Punching Machine, a large oblong Malleable Iron Pan, a PADDLESHAFT and CRANK; about 4½ tons of Castings, including the Cylinder bored for an 18-horse HIGH-PRESSURE ENGINE ; capital portable CONDENSING STEAM-ENGINE, of 18-horse power, with Boiler, complete ; about 16 tons of Gas and Water Pipes of different sizes; Pipe Bends and Branches; ; four large Metal Boilers or Trypots, and a large assortment of Castings, Cooler Plates, Chain and Anchor Shackle Forgings, and upwards of 80 tons of best Cable Bolts.

'Seventh and Eighth Days - TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, the 30th September and lst October. The Goods more particularly adapted for Shipping, among which may be mentioned upwards of two hundred ANCHORS of first-rate workmanship, up to 39 cwt. each; about 90 tons of CHAIN CABLES from 5/8 inch to 1¾ in diameter; Cabooses, Deck and Hawse Pipes, Windlass Metal, Rudder Irons; Topsail Sheet, and Single Blocks; Barge Stoves, Gin Blocks Rigger Screws, Copper Sheathing, Bolts and Nails Ship Knees, Sheet Iron Buoys, Ship's Pumps, one large Wool-packing Screw Press, Spike and Batten Nails, and upwards of 60 tons of Iron.

'Sale to begin each day at Ten o'clock forenoon. P. & G. BROWN, Auctioneers. The large quantity and well-known superior quality of the above Stock, make it an object deserving the attention the Trade, not only in Aberdeen, but in the various ports of Great Britain and Ireland. Catalogues will be furnished by Messrs Jopp & Shand, Advocates, Aberdeen, or the Auctioneers.'


The business and the Footdee Ironworks were taken over by Blaikie Brothers

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1875/10/29
  2. Glasgow Herald, 11th August 1826