Vintage Tools

Vintage Tools




Alex Mathieson & Son, Ltd., Saracen Tool Works - Glasgow, Scotland

  Mathieson Companies, 1822 -1966

2 of 2


    Companies incorporated
into Mathieson's organization
 Mathieson, Alexander

1822 – 1825
14 Saracen Lane, Glasgow

1826 – 1853
38 Saracen Lane, Glasgow

Mathieson, Alexander & Son (Ltd.)

1854 – 1966
Saracen Tool Works,
11 & 13 East Campbell St, Glasgow

1 Gilmore St, Pauls Work, Edinburgh

1858 – 1862
48 Nicholson St,

1863 – 1900
21 & 23 Cockburn St,

1856 – 1870
42 Murraygate, Dundee

1875 – 1910
(6) 8 Church St, Liverpool

1896 – 1924>
41 Byrom St, Liverpool

Aberdeen (Dates and address unknown)


Manners, John
1792 – 1822

14 Saracen Lane, Glasgow

Manners seems to have been a master of his trade.  A number of rare plane types including both three and four-iron moulding planes bearing his mark provide evidence of Scottish sophistication in planemaking at this date and an early attachment to multi-iron types.   The business and the premises were taken over in 1821 by Alexander Mathieson, who in later years claimed establishment in 1792, the date at which John Manners started in business.

Mathieson T.A. & Co

1849 – 1854
65 Nicholson St, Edinburgh

1854 – 1855
1 Gilmore St, Edinburgh

When Alexander Mathieson took over J & W Stewart’s business at 65 Nicholson St in 1849 it would appear that his son Thomas, then aged 23 years, was put in charge.  In 1854 they moved to 1 Gilmore St, the premises of C&H McPherson who succeeded David Arthur & Sons.  In 1856 the business was reunited with Alex. Mathieson & Son.

Saracen Tool Works,
1854 – 1966
11 & 13 East Campbell St, Glasgow


Arthur, David

1793 – 1803
Foot of Leith Wynd, Edinburgh

Arthur & Son

1804 – 1824
1 McDougall St, Leith Wynd, Edinburgh.
(Note that McDougall St and the Foot of Leith Wynd are the same place)

Arthur, David & Sons

1825 – 1844
1 Gilmore St, St Pauls Work, Edinburgh



In the 1820’s, David Arthur described himself as both a planemaker and as a turning lathe manufacturer.  He manufactured tools for wrights.

C&H McPherson

1 Gilmore St, St Pauls Work, Edinburgh


C&H McPherson took over the premises at 1 Gilmore St.

Dryburgh J.

1837 – 1854
42 Murraygate, Dundee

1856 – 1858
Agnes St, Toronto, Canada


John Dryburgh gave training and employment tin the trade of planemaking to his young nephew James Lumsden following Lumsden’s return from Canada in 1843 before emigrating himself in 1856. 

By 1865 he was farming in North Easthope, Ontario but his sons, William and John, are recorded as continuing to make planes in North Easthope and later Bright, Ontario.  Alex Mathieson & Son started trading at 42 Murraygate from 1853/1854.

Lumsden James

1871 >
20 South Lindsay St, Dundee

Lumsden James & Son

1920 <
20 South Lindsay St, Dundee


James Lumsden (b. 1826, d. 1918) emigrated to Canada as a young boy with his father James (i) and mother Janet (nee Dryburgh), sister of John Dryburgh, planemaker.  Shortly after arriving in Canada, Janet died and James (i) remarried. 

James (ii) did not get on with his stepmother and returned to Scotland in 1843 aged 17 years.  At this point he described himself as “James Lumsden, Plain (sic) Maker, Narrow Murraygate, Dundee”.  Family records show him working as a coachmaker at Cupar, Fife. 

His uncle, John Dryburgh, was working as a planemaker in Murraygate, Dundee and it is most probable that Lumsden learnt his planemaking skills from his uncle before joining Alex Mathieson as manager of the Dundee Works from 1867 to 1870. 

He then established the business of James Lumsden Planemaker and Tool Dealer (later to become James Lumsden and Son) at the shop in 20 South Lindsay St, Dundee where he continued to work before passing the business to his son Samuel.  Samuel carried on until 1920 when failing eyesight forced him to stop.

McGlashan J.

High St, Perth

1837 – 1842
50 St John St & 81 High St, Perth

1843 – 1845
72 High St & South Methven St, Perth

1845 – 1849
57 South Methven St, Perth


John McGlashan was born in Blairgowrie in 1796 and is recorded as paying personal stent (local tax) in Perth in 1827.  His earnings must have been quite small as he only paid the minimum amount of one shilling for the year. 

His earliest directory entry was in the P.O. Directory of 1837 when he used the style “John McGlashan & Co. Wrights’ Tool Makers”.  By 1843 he was trading as John McGlashan.  It is possible that he was associated with Adam Robertson who was also listed as wrights’ tool maker at 129 High St, Perth. 

The entries between 1837 and 1848 describe him variously as wrights’ toolmaker, tool cutter, toolmaker, planemaker and finally tool manufacturer.  The Mortality Register records that he died on 11 June 1849 of typhus fever, aged 55 years.  The business was continued by David Malloch.

McPherson, Chas & Hugh

1844 – 1854
1 Gilmore St, St Pauls Work, Edinburgh


David Arthur and Sons ceased trading from this address in 1844.  When C&H McPherson ceased trading in 1854 the premises and presumably the business were taken over by T.A. Mathieson & Co.

Malloch, David

1850 – 1860
57 South Methven St, Perth

1860 – 1870
25 St John St & Kirkside, Perth

1870 – 1878
50 South St, Perth

Malloch, David & Son

1878 – 1913
50 South St, Perth (The Perth Plane Works)

1914 – 1932>
11 East Campbell St, Glasgow

Subsidiary of Alexander Mathieson, Glasgow



When John McGlashan died in June 1849, his business was taken over by David Malloch who was almost certainly an employee.  Malloch also worked for Stewart in Edinburgh as shown by his mark “MALLOCH LATE OF STEWART’S EDINH”. 

In the 1851 census he is recorded as employing 5 men.  Also recorded are his wife, two daughters and a son (William) aged two years.  Living with the family was his brother-in-law, William McLaren, aged 18 years and also a planemaker.

A notice in the Perthshire Courier of Tuesday 26 April 1870, recorded that “David Malloch, Plane Manufacturer and Edge Tool Merchant …. has removed from Kirkside to more commodious premises at 50 South St. …”

It is apparent that the Malloch business had steadily grown and with the move to South St, further expansion was possible.  These were extensive premises for a firm that seems to have undertaken little or no other work than planemaking.

The firm closed in Perth in 1913 but the name was purchased by Alexander Mathieson of Glasgow.  Presumably the good name of Malloch was a considerable trading advantage as Mathieson were still listing the firm at 11 East Campbell St, Glasgow up to 1932 and it would seem likely that planes were still being supplied with the Malloch mark or there would have been no reason to maintain the directory listing. 

After Mathieson, Malloch was probably the most prolific Scottish planemaker and his name is common amongst planes sold by dealers.  Model numbers found on some planes are an indicator that they were made by Mathieson after the takeover. 

Stewart, John
1774 – 1798
Nicholson St, Edinburgh

Stewart, John & Son
1799 – 1822

65 Nicholson St, Edinburgh

Stewart, James (& Sons)
1823 – 1836

65 Nicholson St, Edinburgh

Stewart, William
1837 – 1844

65 Nicholson St, Edinburgh

Stewart, James & William
1845 – 1848
65 Nicholson St, Edinburgh


Wrights toolmakers.  In 1799 they took Andrew Laurie (son of William Laurie ??) as an apprentice.  One of Stewarts other employees was David Malloch

The firm was taken over in 1849 by T. A. Mathieson & Co.  During the latter period of operation Stewarts were prolific makers and the leading planemakers in Edinburgh.


2 of 2


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