R. A. Whytlaw, Son & Co.
R. A. Whytlaw, Son & Co., Manufacturers, Grove Park Mills, and 207, Ingram Street.
It is particularly interesting in reviewing historically
the industry and commerce of Glasgow and the vicinity to meet with a firm of
such old standing and extensive connections as that of Messrs. R.A. Whytlaw,
Son & Co., of the Grove Park Mills, and to accord to this eminent house that
special prominence in these reviews which its influential position in the trade
so justly demands.
Reverting for a moment to the early history of the firm, we find that the business was established in the year 1850, and in 1857 the handsome premises at Grove Park were built. In 1878 there was a dissolution of partnership, when the Grove Park Mills were at this period enlarged, and, with additional extensions since made, cover upwards of nine thousand square yards of ground. The buildings of the preparation department are five storeys high, and are constructed on the most approved principles, both as regards facilities for manufacture and the health and comfort of the numerous employees.
The machinery is of the most modem and improved description that skill, experience, and mechanical science have devised to command economical production and to meet advancing competition together with perfect and uniform manufacture. The weaving department is carried on in an extensive building under one roof, and contains 540 looms in active operation, and at the time of writing extensive additions are being made. The motive power is communicated from two powerful steam engines having a combined force of 240 h.p. A marked and impressive feature is the perfect organisation that prevails throughout the whole establishment, whilst the noise and vibration inseparable from the running of so much machinery is reduced to a minimum by the perfect and accurate adjustment of all its parts and the admirable construction of the buildings.
In the buildings adjacent to the weaving department, a number of men are engaged in beaming, an operation by which the webs are prepared for the dressing machines previous to being twisted or drawn for the looms. In another part of the same building is the mill warehouse, in which the manufactured goods are folded and given out to the finishers, afterwards to be received in the sales warehouse for distribution to customers at home or packed for shipment. The principal goods manufactured are Zephyr Fabrics and fancy cotton and woollen fabrics.
Some idea of the magnitude of the operations here carried on may be gathered from the fact that over six hundred workpeople are regularly employed, and that 80,000 yards of fabrics are manufactured per week, in addition to which, during the busy season, the firm give out a large quantity of work to other manufacturers.
It is interesting to note that the senior of this firm received honourable mention at the London Exhibition of 1862, and was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition, 1878, for the excellence of the manufactures. The firm have a first-class business connection, extending to all parts of the United Kingdom, and also do a large and continually-increasing export trade, being well known in the Continental, American and Colonial markets. Both the extent of the manufacturing operations and the importance of the mercantile transactions well justify the position of this firm as one of the largest and most influential of the great industrial establishments of this district, and the superior style and quality of their goods well uphold the honourable position that Messrs. R. A. Whytlaw, Son & Co., have achieved when placed in competition with the manufacturers of the world.
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