Dundyvan lron Works

Dundyvan lron Works, comprising both a blast furnace and a malleable iron works, is one about which very little has been written. Its life was short. Only forty-two years after its first furnace had been completed the whole site had been completely cleared.

Yet Dundyvan was a complex of nine blast furnaces and their ancillary equipment and a malleable iron works with 44 puddling furnaces and 8 rolling mills, a works at the time the largest and most advanced in Scotland.
Its founders were Dunlop, Wilson and Company, otherwise the Dundyvan Iron Company.

Colin Dunlop, a son of James Dunlop of Garnkirk, was the owner of Clyde Iron Works which he had purchased in 1810. A lawyer by training, he had been called the Scottish bar in 1799 but never practised.

In 1835 together with James Oswald he was elected to represent Glasgow in Parliament. He died unmarried in July 1837.  His partner John Wilson came from farming stock. Born in 1787, ho assisted his father on the family farm until in 1805 he went to Clyde Iron Works to manage coal pits. He pursued studies, became a competent draughtsman and ultimately became manager of the works.

At Clyde he and Dunlop had encouraged J.B. Neilson in his experiments in developing hot blast and together with Neilson and Mackintosh they formed a company to exploit Neilson's invention.
In 1833 Dunlop and Wilson selected the site for their new iron works, apparently originally intended for production of pig iron only. Foundations for furnaces were begun in March 1834. Two furnaces were completed that year and the first went on blast on 4 November 1834.

A third was built in 1835 and a fourth in 1836, completing the first section of the works blown by an engine procured from Glamorganshire.           

After the death of Colin Dunlop an Edmund Buckley appears to have joined Wilson but he retired in June 1839 leaving John Wilson as sole proprietor.      A start was made on the second section of the works in 1838 when a fifth furnace was erected; three followed in 1840, one in 1841 and one in 1842. For this second section the blowing engine was supplied by Murdoch and Aitken of Glasgow,

Meantime, on the west side of the blast furnaces, Wilson, towards the end of 1839, had begun to lay, down an extensive malleable iron works completed had 44 puddling and 12 heating furnaces, one helve hammer and two steam hammers, eight rolling mills - three forge mills and five finishing mills including one guide mill and two plate mills. They could turn out 350 tons of finished iron a week.

This vast establishment, when complete, cost little short of 300,000. In 1845 it had the first Nasmyth steam hammer in Scotland.
John Wilson expanded his kingdom beyond Dundyvan. He was the first of the Monklands ironmastors to venture into Ayrshire where in 1841 he became a partner in the latest Muirkirk Iron Co, in nine years he was sole partner.

That works had three blast furnaces. In 1845 he secured from the Duke of Hamilton a lease of Kinneil for 31 years from Whitsunday 1843 at a fixed rent of 7000 a year.    This lease required him to erect within the first five years from the inception of the lease, not fewer than four blast furnace of the most improved construction and dimensions and all the machinery of proper arrangement and adequate power for blowing at least six such furnaces

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