Alexander Mathieson was
born in 1797 and in the 1841 census was described as a
master planemaker. Also listed at 38 Saracen Lane was
his son, Thomas, aged 15, described as a journeyman
impression given is that by the 1840’s, although having
traded for 20 years, the business had not grown that
much. The expansion only really started with the
arrival of the second generation. Perhaps the time was
ripe with a rapidly growing industrial city (i.e.
Glasgow) and the improved transport facilities of the
Mathieson seems to have been expanded not only by
internal growth but also by a series of acquisitions;
first taking over J&W Stewart, the principal
planemaker in Edinburgh (1849), followed by the J.
Dryburgh business in Dundee (1853/54) and eventually
David Malloch of Perth (1913). The Dundee Works
were managed by James Lumsden from 1867-1870.
evidence of surviving planes, Mathieson were probably
the most prolific British planemaker of all time. At
the end of the century the business was making a wide
range of tools for most trades being particularly strong
in some of the heavier trades (especially coopering and
Eighth Edition catalogue (1899) illustrated the
comprehensive range of planes available. Mathieson
introduced model numbers for planes by 1899 and planes
marked with these numbers date from the late 19th
or early 20th Century.
planemaking had largely ended during World War II and
by the late 1950’s the demand for traditional tools was
much reduced. The firm did however have a large export
trade in heavy duty auger bits widely used throughout
the world for boring railway sleepers.
reason, Mathieson was acquired by William Ridgway
in 1957 and transferred to Sheffield where they
eventually became a dormant subsidiary of
Record-Ridgway Tools Ltd.