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British Industrial History

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George Johnston

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George Johnston (1855-1945) was a Scottish engineer.

1855 Born the son of the Reverend James Johnston, of Springburn's United Presbyterian Church.

George spent the early part of his career in locomotive engineering before designing and constructing Scotland's first automobile, the Mo-Car, which led to the formation of Arrol-Johnston

George Johnston worked as a locomotive engineer for the Hyde Park Locomotive Works of Springburn, Glasgow.

1894 Commissioned by the City of Glasgow to build an experimental steam tram-car to replace the horse trams. When it was having a final test before a Corporation committee it took fire and it was abandoned.

Johnston's attention was then turned to a detailed examination of continental makes of motor car. He came to the conclusion that he could design and make a better vehicle than any of them and in particular a better engine. The first British-built motor car was thus conceived and by the end of 1895 was ready for financial backing.

1895 Description of the car he used in Glasgow.[1]

In the autumn of 1895 Johnston was joined by his cousin Norman Fulton and Thomas Blackwood Murray, former Works Manager with Mavor and Coulson, makers of mining machinery in Bridgeton, and Johnston formed a joint venture with Sir William Arrol, an engineer of the Forth Bridge to form the Mo-Car Syndicate, which was to produce his car. Sir William was Chairman and Johnston was Managing Director, and the Syndicate included Archibald Coats, and John Millar of Paisley, while his cousin Norman Fulton was Works Manager. Sir William's main interest in the business was as the financial backer.

Fulton and Murray later parted company with Johnston in 1899 to set up Albion Motors.

1903 Johnston departed the Arrol-Johnston company in after it had been restructured financially, as a result of a disagreement, to join the All British Car Co

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