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Engineering Firms

Arrol-Johnston

Arrol-Johnston

In 1895 George Johnston, a Glasgow locomotive engineer, built his first car. A couple of years later he formed a company with William Arrol, architect of the Forth Bridge, to build the petrol- engined Arrol Johnston car. Supported by William Beardmore, a giant of the Scottish engineering industry, the Paisley-based business was a pioneer of the motorcar industry within the decade, developing the world's first "off-road" vehicle for the Egyptian government, and another designed to travel on ice and snow for Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole. In 1913 Arrol Johnston bought land at Heathhall, just outside Dumfries, and commissioned an American firm to build a factory. Not only was the result the first factory in Britain to use concrete reinforced with metal in its construction, it was also reputed to be a copy of the Ford Factory at Highland Park, Michigan, where the Model T was produced.

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