Thomas Main

Supplier of grates and tiles

B/W Advertisement for Thomas Main, 'Glasgow Post Office Directory', 1890–1,p.210

Thomas Main (c. 1850–1904) was born at Old Cumnock in Ayrshire, the son of a handloom weaver. By 1871 he was working in Glasgow as a stone-cutter or mason. 1 . By the early 1880s he was established as a master mosaic-tile decorator, employing two men, and advertising as 'pavement merchant, mosaic, encaustic and art tile layer', later adding 'keramak fixer' and 'art metal worker'. He expanded into busy Sauchiehall Street around 1887, where he sold his own-brand 'slow-combustion grates', 'art-painted tiles, slabs and pictures from the ... most famous artists' and 'Persian French and English Art Ware Vases, and Brass and Copper Work'. 2 After Thomas's death and the retirement of his elder son, younger son Robert continued the firm 'for his own behoof' on 'tile work of every description'. 3

Main showed a fireplace at the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition (part of a dining room designed by John Gordon), and lectured on 'Fireplace Construction' to the Glasgow Architectural Society in 1891. 4


1: Census information, [accessed 25 June 2012].

2: Census information, [accessed 25 June 2012]; Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1890–1, appendix of advertisements, p. 210; Glasgow and its Environs, London: Stratten & Stratten, 1891, p. 162.

3: Edinburgh Gazette, 9 February 1906, p. 164.

4: Glasgow Herald, 1 September 1888, p. 9; Scotsman, 20 January 1891, p. 5.