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The Garnkirk Colliery and Brickfield Company started exploiting the Glenboig / Garnkirk fireclays and making firebricks around 1831.  The partnership was made up of Thomas Sprot, Mark Sprot, and James Murray.  By 1833 the company was advertising a full range of products including firebricks of every descriptions, tiles, gas retorts, crucibles, water pipes, ornamental vases and chimney cans.  In September of 1849, Murray severed his connection with the company.  For most of its life, the company was noted as having an immense wholesale home and export trade. 

By 1860 the company had agents in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.  In 1878 the principal overseas markets were in France, Germany, Russia, and the East and West Indies.  Products are also noted as being shipped to New Zealand.  By the 1860s the company was the largest fireclay firm in the world covering six acres, employing 300 men and boys, and manufacturing 200 tons of fireclay products each day. 

By the late 1860s the firm was surpassed by J. & M. Craig of Kilmarnock, which in turn was surpassed by the Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company in the 1880s.  The Garnkirk fireclay pits were finally exhausted around 1895. 

Apparently the company went out of business around 1898 and the buildings were being advertised for sale in the spring of 1901.  Garnkirk Fireclay Works noted as being built over by 1979. 


Manufacturer(s):           Gartcosh Fireclay Works (1863-1884)

Gartcosh Silica & Fire Clay Works (1884-1890)

The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company (1890-1965)

Office: 69 Bath Street, Glasgow, Scotland (1884).

Works: Situated about a mile east of Heathfield and Garnkirk, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Dates:                           ca. 1863 - 1950

Remarks:                      This was the fourth fireclay works to start in the Garnkirk area.  It was founded by James Binnie in 1863.  In addition to firebricks they also produced silica or ganister bricks, ornamental chimney pots, garden paving and edging tiles, and glazed pipes of every description.  The works lay two miles east of Garnkirk.  The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company bought the firm in 1890 after the death of the owner.  In its 1930 catalog, The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company (page 10) still offered GARTCOSH brand firebricks as a good fire-brick at a cheap price. The Gartcosh works continued in operation until the 1950s when local supplies of fireclay were exhausted.  The works were demolished by the 1960 and the site was built over by 1979.  Brand noted as being found in New Zealand (Harris 1984:17).



Manufacturer(s):           Glenboig Firebrick & Tile Works (1843-1865)

The Glenboig Fire Clay Company (1865-1882)

The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company, Limited (1882-1936)

General Refractories, Limited, Proprietors (1936-1965)

Office: 48 West Regent Street, St. Rollox, Glasgow, Scotland.

Works: Cumbernauld, Gartcosh, and Glenboig, Scotland.

Dates:                           C 1836 - 1965

Robert Hillcoate is known to have been working the fireclays in this area beginning in 1836.  By 1843 Hillcoate was gone and John Thomson was managing director of Glenboig Firebrick & Tile Works.  In 1858 James Dunnachie joined the company as secretary and salesman.  In 1860 Thomson was joined by Richard Smith and Charles McLean as partners in Thomson, McLean & Company. 

 Dunnachie persuaded John Hurll and John Young to join him after the death of Smith in 1865 and The Glenboig Fire Clay Company was formed.  The partnership was broken up in 1873 when Dunnachie left to build the Glenboig Star Works (see below), John Young left to concentrate on his Heathfield and Cardowan interests and John Hurll stayed on at Glenboig. 

The partners reunited again to form The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company in 1882.  In the same year the company purchased the Cumbernauld Fireclay Works and the Glencryan Fireclay Mine.  The Gartcosh Fireclay Works was purchased in 1890.  It was the largest fireclay company in the world at the end of the 19th century and GLENBOIG firebricks were being exported to nearly every industrial country in the world. 
The companys development was largely the work of James Dunnachie and after his death in 1921, the companys fortunes declined.  The company was purchased by General Refractories of Sheffield in 1936.  In the same year Weirs Clastlecary Works became part of the company. 

The old Glenboig Works, Gartcosh Works, Dykehead and Bonnymuir Works as well as the Glasgow office were closed in the early 1960s.  Shortly after Glenboig Union became part of the General Refractories Stein division of Hepworth Ceramics.  The Old Works noted as being demolished by 1979.  Brand also noted as being made by the Glenboig Star Fireclay Works (see below).  Brand also found in New Zealand (Harris 1984:17).


Manufacturer(s):           Heathery Knowe Coal Company (ca 1862-1867)

Heathery Knowe Colliery & Fire Clay Works (ca 1867-1889)

Offices: Baillieston and Glasgow, Scotland.

Works: Baillieston, Bargeddie, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Dates:                           ca.  1862 - 1889

Remarks:                      Coal mines opened in the Baillieston area as early as 1832.  The Heathery Knowe Coal Company started in the coal business in 1861/2.  Between 1867 and 1882 it was owned by James McNaughton Son & Co.  Started making hand-pressed firebrick in the mid to late 1860s.  Company may have continued under the management of Ferrier and Strain of  Bargeddie in 1896.  The Heathery Knowe coal mine was still in existence in 1896 but had been abandoned by 1908.  Noted as being manufacturers of firebricks, sewage pipes, facing bricks, yellow and glazed sinks, and every description of fire clay goods.  Bricks have been found with depressed or raised letters and with and without a frog on back.


Manufacturer(s):           Peter Ferguson & Company (ca 1832-1846)

Ferguson, Miller & Company (ca 1846-1862)

Hurll, Young & Company (ca 1862-1873)

John Young & Sons (ca 1873-1880)

Heathfield & Cardowan Fire Clay Company, Limited (ca 1880-1970)

Offices: 52 Robertson Street (1901-1918), 146 West Regent Street  (1921-1936), 141 West George Street (1937-1963) Glasgow, Scotland.

Works: Heathfield, Cardowan, and Glasgow fire clay works, Garnkirk, Scotland.

Dates:                           ca. 1832 - 1970

Remarks:                      Peter Ferguson established a fireclay works at Heathfield around 1832.  About 1846 the firms name was changed to Ferguson, Miller & Company.  Around 1862, Hurll, Young & Company (of the Cardowan Fire Clay Works) took over the Heathfield works.  See the brand CARDOWAN (above) for additional information about this company.  The Heathfield site was continuously worked until 1970. Works noted as being mostly demolished by 1979.  Brand also noted in New Zealand (Harris 1985:17).


(40)Brand(s):                 STARWORKS / J D / GLENBOIG

Manufacturer(s):           The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company.

Office: 48 West Regent Street, Glasgow, Scotland.

Works: Star Fire Clay Works, Glenboig, Scotland.

Dates:                           ca. 1872 - 1965

Remarks:                      Began as a separate company in 1872 and merged with several other companies to form The Glenboig Union Fire Clay Company in 1882.  The "J D" stands for James Dunnachie, the owner.  See GLENBOIG brand above.  By 1930 the company claimed the GLENBOIG, CUMBERNAULD and GARTCOSH brands in addition to the STARWORKS brand noted above.  The Star Fireclay Works (Glenboig) are noted as being in use only as a tile works in 1979. Note the recessed star in the center of the brand stands for place of manufacturer.  Brand found in New Zealand (Harris 1984:17).

Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co. Ltd

Refractory makers, Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Formed by merger of James Dunnachie Star Works and Glenboig Fire Clay Co., 1882.

Purchased by General Refractories Ltd of Sheffield, 1936; became G.R. Stein Refractories Ltd, 1967. The Old Works in Glenboig closed, 1958; demolished before 1965. Star Works closed after 1974.

James Dunnachie   1835-1921 
  • Refractory manufacturer, Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Justice of the Peace.
  • Manager, Thomson McLean & Co., brickworks, Glenboig, 1860-1865; owner, 1865. Formerly Thomson McLean & Co
  • Partner with John Hurll and John Young, Glenboig Fire Clay Co., 1865-1872.
  • Owner-manager, James Dunnachie Star Works, Glenboig, 1872-1882.
  • Managing Director, Glenboig Union Fire Clay Co. Ltd (formed by merger of James Dunnachie Star Works and Glenboig Fire Clay Co.), 1882-1921.
  •  Star Works Refractory makers, Glenboig, Lanarkshire. Established by James Dunnachie, 1772.
  • Born Pollockshaws, Renfrewshire, 29 April 1835.
  • Married (1) Jane Allan Hendry (d. 1882), 1860; (2) Elizabeth Miller Levack, 1897.






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