Old and New Edinburgh

Old and New Edinburgh

Volume IV

220 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Founhbridge. vulcanised rubber-the largest pieces of the material ever manufactured, as each tire weighed 750 lbs. The company employ at an average 600 workpeople in their establishment ; but in the preparation of the cloth, thread, &c., used in the manufacture, as many more are employed in an indirect way. The health and comfort of a.ll are carefully provided for ; and ip no department can it be said that the labour is heavy, while that assigned to the women is peculiarly well suited to them. washing, kneading, and cleansing the rubber is precisely similar to that used by the North British Company. There are other departments which produce respectively combs, jewellery, and miscellaneous articles. In the comb department the steam cutters are so expert-rising and falling with rapidity, and fed by skilled workmen-that each produces some hundred dozens of combs per day. Besides dressing and fine coabs, a variety of others are made, and much taste and ingenuity are ex- THE SURURBS OF THE WEST FORT, 1646. (Aftcr GordaofRotkiemni'.) c, The West Port ; i, The Suburbs. The adjacent Scottish' Vulcanite Company was formed in 1861 by several shareholders of the preceding establishment ; but the two are every way distinct. At the commencement many difficulties had to be overcome. The chief of these was the training of the people to a work so novel, and the waste thereby of material; but now the original factory has had a fourfold increase, and employs about 500 souls. The factory consists of a large central block, 230 feet long, and seven detached buildings. The former is four storeys in height. A remarkably beautiful engine, of 120 horse-power, erected in one of the most elegant of engine-rooms, supplies the motive power. The machinery used in breaking, pended on ladies' back combs, which are often mounted with metal, glass, porcelain, or carving in vulcanite. The company was created chiefly for the manufacture of combs. In Kay's work we have an interesting and quaint portrait of an aged denizen of Fountainbridge in the Scottish Lowland costume of his day, " Adam Ritchie, born 1683; died 1789; drawn from the life." This old man, who died at the age of 106 years and two months, had followed the humble occupation of a cow-feeder; but his life was not an uneventful one ; he had been under arms in 17 15, '' on the side of the House of Hanover, not from choice (as he said) but necessity, he having been forced into the ranks to supply the place of his
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