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Upright Retorts in Chemical Works

Sir, in your publicationof the 19th inst. I observe a paragraph headed "Airdrie, Manufacture of Mineral Oil," wherein George Bennie & Co., founders, Glasgow, receive the credit for having erected almost all the manufactories in the Bathgate district for the production of that article, and also the invention of having placed the retorts on end rather than horizontally.

Messrs George Bennie & Co. started their foundry in 1859 or 1860, while the Bathgate Chemical Works, in the erection of which I was early employed, started in 1851; and on reference to my books, I find I made upright retorts for these works in January 1852. Since then I have been employed, and continue to be so, by that company for castings, steam engines, tanks, and machinery of the different sort required by them, and that to a great extent. I am informed by Mr Meldrum, the resident acting partner of the chemical works at Bathgate, that it was only in December 1861 he first employed Messrs Bennie & Co. to make upright retorts, and that they then made them for the first time, and from drawings furnished by the Bathgate Chemical Works Company.

Years before Messrs George Bennie & Co.'s works existed, I made hoppers for feeding the retorts at the top, and troughs for a water lute at the bottom, by which means the upright retorts are kept continually going.

Mr Meldrum further informs me that the other inventions detailed in the said paragraph are mere copies of what have been used for many years at the Bathgate Chemical Works. I am, &c John Scott

The Scotsman, 24th October 1863


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