A. & J. Main & Co. Ltd


B/W Advertisement for A. & J. Main & Co. Ltd., 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 193

A. & J. Main & Co. Ltd were gate, bridge and iron-roofing fabricators established in the later 1860s in Port Dundas, Glasgow, by brothers Alexander J. and James A. R. Main, who were an estate factor and an iron-gate and wire manufacturer respectively, originally from near Edinburgh. 1 They developed their own patent for continuous bar-fencing, self-supporting wire fencing, agricultural gates and stable fittings. 2 In the mid-1870s, the firm opened the Clydesdale Iron Works, Possilpark, making complete cattle sheds, hay-compressing machines and game-proof wire netting. 3 They also produced garden seats, lawnmowers, galvanised iron roofs and prefabricated fireproof sheds, and in the 1890s claimed that 'Main's Waterproof Covers have the largest sale and ... are the best in the world'. 4

Alexander died in 1873, leaving branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London to his brother James, and son, Robert. James died at his home in Skelmorlie in 1896, a coastal resort town popular with wealthy Glasgow businessmen. 5 Robert, and a second-generation James Main Junior, continued into the 20th century as a firm of structural engineers. They incorporated the business of the Arrol Bridge & Roof Co. around 1908, taking over the latter's Germiston Works, Springburn, Glasgow. A. & J. Main closed down in 1968. 6

B/W Advertisement for A. & J. Main & Co. Ltd., 'Glasgow Building Trades Exchange', 1896, p. 246


1: Edinburgh Gazette, 28 September 1875, p. 638; Glasgow Post Office directories, 1865–8; census information, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 25 June 2012].

2: Scotsman, 2 March 1870, p. 6; 6 March 1876, p. 2.

3: John R. Hume, Industrial Archaeology of Glasgow, Glasgow and London: Blackie, 1974, Site M18, p. 278; Scotsman, 6 March 1876, p. 2; 27 February 1878, p. 1.

4: Scotsman, 26 April 1876, p. 5; 1 April 1878, p. 1; 22 May 1885, p. 1; 23 August 1893, p. 12.

5: Edinburgh Gazette, 28 September 1875, p. 638; death information, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 26 June 2012].

6: Glasgow Post Office directories, 1908–10; Edinburgh Gazette, 19 July 1968, p. 621.