Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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1901. Arrol-Johnston Dogcart. Exhibit at the Glasgow Museum of Transport.
1902. 12hp.
February 1905.
February 1905.
February 1905.
February 1905
September 1905.
September 1905.
September 1905.
May 1906.
The racing team in 1906.
1906. 24-30 h.p.
1906. 12-15 h.p.
1906 Q4. 12-15 h.p.
1906. TT Model 18. Reg No: G 1481. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
1906. TT Model 18. Reg No: G 1481. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
18 hp. Winner of the Tourist Trophy Race. Published in 1906.
December 1906. Four-cylinder engine.
1908 Racing team.
June 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
November 1909.
November 1910. Four-cylinder engine.
December 1910. The 15.9 Arrol-Johnston gear box.
June 1911.
June 1911. Touring Phaeton.
1912. 15.9hp Tourer. Reg: LE 8582. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
1912. 15.9hp Tourer. Reg: LE 8582. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
August 1912.
1920. 15.9hp Model A Sports Car. Exhibit at Glasgow Museum of Transport.
January 1920.
February 1921.
June 1923.
August 1926.
1920s. Arrol-Johnston Mascot, bronze, (front view).
1920s. Arrol-Johnston Mascot, bronze, (back view).

Arrol-Johnston of Paisley

1895 George Johnston formed a joint venture with Sir William Arrol to form the Mo-Car Syndicate. Norman Osbourne Fulton was works manager.

1898 Advertisement. 'The Mo-Car Syndicate will exhibit a horseless carriage...'[1]

1901 Mention of an Arrol-Johnston 6hp light car entered in a race by the Motor Car Syndicate [2]

The first Arrol-Johnston car was a six-seater "Dogcart" (a vehicle with two transverse seats placed back to back), which went into production at a factory at Camlachie, in the East End of Glasgow.

The Dogcart was a wood-bodied vehicle powered by a 10 hp flat-twin horizontally opposed engine with four pistons mounted beneath the floor, which was started by pulling on a rope. The vehicle boasted chain final drive and its high-wheeled, solid-tyred, horse-carriage type of body was retained well into the 1900s. The brakes were arranged in the form of shoes which could be pressed on the back of the solid rear tyres, and the suspension comprised full elliptic leaf springs at the front, and half-elliptics at the rear. Transmission and brake control levers were mounted close to the driver’s right hand.

1901 The company's Camlachie premises were destroyed by fire and production was moved to Paisley.

1902 William Beardmore took the largest single shareholding in the company, creating a captive customer for his iron and steel components. He later became Chairman when A-J (as it was widely known) became a public company.

1902 John S. Napier appointed Managing Director

1903 'The Mo-Car Syndicate which works the Arrol-Johnston patents...'[3]

1903 A-J was restructured financially. New finance, mainly from Beardmore, became available, Beardmore wishing to help the firm stave off bankruptcy, and there were important changes in staff, including the arrival of John S. Napier. George Johnston left as a result of a disagreement and founded the All British Car Co, a venture that was to be short-lived. A-J became effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of William Beardmore and Co

1904 Mention of an "Arrol-Johnston seated" for six persons [4]

1905 August. Display advertisement for Arrol-Johnston cars, and lorries - the address is the Mo-Car Syndicate, Underwood, Paisley.[5][6]

1905 September. The company's name was changed to the New Arrol Johnston Car Company, Underwood Road, Paisley, to adopt and carry into effect a minute of agreement between the Mo-Car Syndicate, Limited, and William Beardmore, of the Parkhead Forge. Capital increased, £100,000 in £10 shares.'[7]

1905 September. Details of the 18-hp car.[8]

1905 September. In the eliminating trials for the Gordon Bennett race and Arrol-Johnston driven by J. S. Napier won.[9] Details of the TT car.[10]

1905 Introduced a 3,023cc 12/15hp model using an opposed-piston engine. The 12/15 hp twin survived in production until 1909. There was also a three-cylinder version of the dogcart; this was a16 hp with the centre cylinder being of greater bore than the outer two.

1905 September. Details of the T.T. car.[11]

1905 November. Details of their 12-15hp cars.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

1905 November. Details of the 15-hp car.[18]

1905 December. Details of the 12-hp car.[19][20]

1905 Dogcart with solid wooden disc wheels still survives in Khartoum, where it was supplied as a searchlight tender for the Sirdar of Egypt.

1906 Introduced the 24/30 hp vertical four of 4,654cc

1907 Introduced the 38/45 hp of 8,832 cc.

1907 T. C. Pullinger joined Arrol-Johnston as manager of the Paisley works. He went onto design the new factory.

Introduced the new 15·9 hp of 2,835cc. That model featured a dashboard radiator and four-wheel brakes (the latter were dropped in 1911).

1909 October. Details of the 15.9hp car.[21]

1912 Incorporated (under new name) as a Limited Liability Co.

1912 A 1,794 cc 11·9 hp, a 3,640 cc 20·9 hp and a 3,618 cc 23·8 hp were introduced.

1912 October. Details of the 11.9hp, 15.9hp and the 23.9hp.[22]

1913 May. Details of the 15.9-hp car.[23]

1913 June. Details of a Dumfries to London run in the Arrol-Johnston electric car. Designer is E. W. Lewis and driven by E. Fox.[24]

1913 October. Details of the new 15.9hp and the 20.9hp cars.[25]

1913 December. Details of the electric car.[26]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices see the 1917 Red Book

1913 Arrol Johnston bought land at Heathhall, just outside Dumfries, and commissioned an American firm to build a factory. Claimed be the first factory in Britain to use ferro-concrete, and was designed by Albert Kahn, architect of the Ford factory at Highland Park, Michigan, where the Model T was produced.

A-J contracted to build 50 electric cars for Edison at the new plant but it is not certain how many were actually made.

Several models of car including the six-cylinder 23/9 were built up to the outbreak of war.

1914 November' Details of the new 17.9hp car. Also 15.9hp and 20.9hp models.[27]

WWI Produced Austro-Daimler and Beardmore aero-engines.

The authorities brought Frank Halford back from France to develop the 160 h.p. Beardmore engine with a view to designing a more powerful unit, which he did with Arrol-Johnston in Dumfries. The outcome was the B.H.P. (Beardmore-Halford-Pullinger) — a 230 h.p. vertical six-in-line water-cooled engine embodying cast-iron cylinder heads, steel cylinder liners, and sheet-steel water jackets. In the B.H.P., Halford departed from the practice of using single large inlet exhaust valves, and used two small exhaust valves and a single large inlet valve per cylinder. The design was turned over to Siddeley-Deasy, who changed the cylinder heads and water jackets to aluminium and the name to Puma. They made over 6,000 Pumas.[28]

Post WWI Employing 2,400 men

1919-20 Produced less than fifty of the Victory designed by G. W. A. Brown with help from L. J. Shorter

1919-24 Produced more than 2,000 of the Fifteen (also known as the 15/40)

1920s The managing director was J. S. Napier

1922 Directors: Lord Invernairn (Chairman), Thomas Charles Pullinger, J. D. G. Hendry, William Lowe. Secretary A. L. Mackillop. Manufacturer of Motor vehicles, aero engines and aeroplanes.

1927 Merged with Aster Engineering Co to form Arrol-Johnston and Aster Engineering Co; the cars became known as Arrol-Asters.

Heathhall became the new home of the North British Rubber Co where Alexander Johnston had been MD since the early 1920s


1905 The company was producing a 24 bhp at 950 rpm four-cylinder vehicle with a British Hele-Shaw Patent Clutch Co metal-to-metal friction clutch, an enclosed differential shaft and roller chains.

1906 Produced 12-15 h.p. (horizontal engine) and 24-30 h.p. (vertical engine) shaft drive models. Listed as the New Arrol-Johnston Car Company [29]

1908 A new model was introduced and 30 of these were used in London.

1915 The last Arrol-Johnstons were made.

Early Registration Numbers

1927 The company merged with Aster in 1927 but did not survive.[30]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Belfast News-Letter - Monday 11 July 1898
  2. Dundee Courier - Wednesday 04 September 1901
  3. The Scotsman - Saturday 07 February 1903
  4. Dundee Courier, Thursday 19 May 1904
  5. Illustrated London News - Saturday 10 June 1905
  6. Illustrated London News - Saturday 19 August 1905
  7. Dundee Courier - Saturday 30 September 1905
  8. The Autocar 1905/09/23
  9. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 15 September 1905
  10. Automotor Journal 1905/09/23
  11. The Autocar 1905/09/09
  12. Automotor Journal 1905/11/18
  13. Automotor Journal 1905/11/25
  14. Automotor Journal 1905/12/02
  15. Automotor Journal 1905/12/09
  16. Automotor Journal 1905/12/16
  17. Automotor Journal 1905/12/23
  18. The Autocar 1905/11/18
  19. The Autocar 1905/12/09
  20. The Autocar 1905/12/16
  21. The Autocar 1909/10/30
  22. The Autocar 1912/10/26
  23. The Autocar 1913/05/10
  24. The Autocar 1913/06/14
  25. The Autocar 1913/10/04
  26. The Autocar 1913/12/13
  27. The Autocar 1914/11/14
  28. Flight Archive [1]
  29. The Automobile Vol. III. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck and published by Cassell in 1906.
  30. Automotive Mascots - A Collector's Guide to British Marque, Corporate & Accessory Mascots' by David Kay and Lynda Springate.
  • Ian Allan - British Buses Since 1900 - Aldridge and Morris
  • Buses and Trolleybuses before 1919 by David Kaye. Published 1972
  • A-Z of Cars of the 1920s by Nick Baldwin. 1994. ISBN 1 870979 53 2