Camelon Iron Works

Kilns Foundry

Crosthwaite, Miller & Co.                   1845-1854

Smith, Fullerton & Co.                         1854-1870

Camelon Iron Co.                                         1870

Illus: The original site of Camelon Iron Works shown on the 1862 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Sites & Monuments Record

Camelon Iron WorksSMR 690NS 880 804
Bleachfield, FalkirkNS 866 799


1845:  Camelon Iron Works was founded by RW Crosthwaite, John Miller and John Smith at Lock 16.   Crosthwaite was in charge of outdoor work and sales, Miller of bookkeeping and correspondence.

1854: Partnership dissolved.   Works purchased by John Smith, writer, Camelon House, with Mr Fullerton (an Edinburgh publisher) as a partner.  Now called Smith, Fullerton and Co.

1859: John Edward Gibson managing partner and Andrew Allan (Mr Smith’s law partner) secretary.

Fullerton retired leaving Smith as sole proprietor.  He was later joined by James Anderson.  Mr Callander works manager.

1870: New works built at Bleachfield next to the Forth and Clyde Canal – overseen by JE Gibson.  The site had been feued by Smith in 1863.  It had a link to the Midland Junction railway, which bordered it on the south.  The principal erection was a brick building facing the canal, 194ft long, 132ft wide and 16ft high, covered by four roofs supported by iron pillars and partition walls dividing the patternmakers’ and blacksmiths’ shop and the warehouse from the moulders’ department.  The latter occupied the largest part of the building.  The workshops were unusual in being provided with piped water to every part for wetting the moulding sand, etc.  The large gas pendants were connected with flexible pipes and suspended on lines stretched between the pillars, so that they could be drawn to any place.  There was also a large core-drying stove and a cupola built in the form of an inverted cone, provided with blast from a Roots blower.  Raw materials were delivered to the top of the furnace by rail.  This new foundry became known as Kilns Foundry.  Production on the new site began in January 1871 as a gas and water pipe factory.  In 1873 plant was transferred from the old foundry and the site sold to Walker, Turnbull & Co for £6,000.

1873: John Smith died.

1875: Old works purchased by Walker, Turnbull & Co and its name changed to Portdownie Iron Works.  Kilns Foundry extended and the Camelon Iron Company carried out their work there.  Before long it became known as the Camelon Foundry and Iron Works.

1876: George Binnie, who had been head foreman for 12 years, left to become managing partner of the Callendar Iron Co.

1880: Some of their land taken for North British Railway.

1885: The main products were gas and water pipes, stable fittings, cattle troughs, pans, baths, gates, railings, street and roof furniture, sewing machines, gas stoves and ranges.  The latter included the following brand names – Climax, Standard, Crown, Star, Eclipse, Duplex.  The partners were Mrs E Smith of Eltham in Kent, Charles Jeffrey a Falkirk bookseller, Andrew Allan writer and JE Gibson.

1890:  July.  Became a limited company with a capital of £27,500 divided into 5,500 shares of £5 each.  Anne E Anderson (wife of James George Anderson of New York,  merchant) – 1155 shares, Janet Anderson Smith of Kent spinster  –  1155, John C Jeffrey Smith of Kent cement manufacturer – 1155, Catherine Smith  spin­ster of Kent – 1155, John Edward Gibson ironfounder in Falkirk – 440, Harriette Gibson  his wife – 220, Andrew Allan solicitor in Falkirk – 220.   John Gibson appointed managing partner and director.

1891(4): JE Gibson left to start his own business at Salton Foundry.  JC Jeffrey Smith (only son of John Smith the original founder of the company) took over the management, with Thomas Waugh as secretary.

1892: New railway sidings constructed.

1898: New moulding shop and a loading shed erected along with two new cupolas.

1900: J C Jeffrey Smith bought most of the Gibson shares and moved to Torwood­lea in Larbert to manage the business.  Alexander Callender works manager.  Works Committee established with two elected representatives from each department.  This later set up a Provident Fund Scheme.

1900-1911: Additions in this period included an extension to the offices, and a Berlin Black shop.

1925:  John Smith’s son JC Jeffrey Smith retired from management after 31 years.   Replaced by his nephew Arthur S Anderson.   Gilbert L Anderson became Director of Works.

1928: In June, a large wooden shed containing straw, patterns and moulds was consumed by a fire, causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.  Fortunately, the building was near the canal and the fire was extinguished before it had the opportunity to spread.

1930: JC Jeffrey Smith died.

1936:  Taken over by Federated Foundries Ltd and the head office moved to the Grange Foundry.

1953:  Joseph Jarvie St Clair director died.  William Rennie, James H C MacLeod and Thomas Macmillan Saunders decided upon liquidation.

1953/4: Company went into voluntary liquidation though still solvent.


1879: 180

1901: 230

1911: 220

1913: 200

Illus: The later site of Camelon iron Works on the 1947 OS map (NLS).


Many and varied manufactures were undertaken, such as baths, hot water, soil and rainwater pipes, gutters, and engineering castings.  In the 1930s the company concentrated on fitted goods and was amongst the first to introduce the combination grate in 1910, then the twin fire back-to-back – with names such as Signet, Ensign, and Cameo.  In 1945 the firm produced the Sunray Openable Stove.

G.B.Bailey, 2021