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British Industrial History

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W. B. Dick and Co

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January 1920.
February 1921.
September 1925.
May 1930.

Oil refiners, merchants and factors, of Glasgow

Railway and tramcar builders and contractors, of 101 Leadenhall Street and (oil merchants) 16 Marine St Bermondsey (1882)[1]

of 33 Eastcheap, London, EC (1914),

of 26 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1, also of Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Cardiff, Barrow-in-Furness and Hamburg.

1854 William Bruce Dick established the business in Glasgow[2].

1856 (James Young) is suggested [3] and [4] to have first produced paraffin oil on Dick's premises in Glasgow. Young had been involved in paraffin extraction from natural sources at Alfreton from 1847-50. Subsequently he was involved in producing paraffin from coal at his works at Bathgate from 1851. Later authors consider this claim relating to Dick to be poorly founded.[5] and [6] not least because it is not clear that Dick's business was involved in oil merchanting until a later date, so the situation is far from clear.

1859 Dissolution of the Copartnery Concern of MORE and DICK, Manufacturers of Rivets, etc., at the Clyde Rivet Works, Glasgow, of which the Subscribers were the sole Partners, on the 1st day of January last, by mutual consent. The Subscribers, William B. Dick and Margaret Bruce Dick or Kerr, who now carry on the Business under the Firm of W. B. DICK & Co,, will receive and discharge all debts due to, and pay all debts due by the Firm of More & Dick, contracted before and since the Dissolution.


1862 Branch works established in Liverpool.

1869 Constructed a chemical fire engine (see picture)

by 1872 the firm of the Clyde Rivet Works Co was in business - unclear about possible connection

1875 Branch works established in London with depots in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Cardiff, Barrow-in-Furness and Hamburg.

1882 W. B. Dick and Co of Leadenhall Street, London were contractors for the South Staffordshire and Birmingham District Steam Tramways; representatives at the launch ceremony were W. B. Dick and Mr Kerr[8]

1882 Business advertised included: Oil refiners, merchants and factors, railway contractors, railway chair and bowl sleeper manufacturers, railway wagon and carriage manufacturers, permanent way contractors, plant contractors, tramcar builders and tramway contractors.

1883 Dick, Kerr and Co was formed by spinning out the rail and tramway activities from W. B. Dick and Co with John Kerr.

1886 Private corporation registered to take over the business.

1891 Oil Merchants and Factors, oil refiners and seed crushers at King and Queen Wharf, Rotherhithe[9].

1896 The company was incorporated, to acquire the business of the company of the same name, oil refiners and anti-fouling paint manufacturers[10]. Subsequently, there was a public issue of shares[11]. Supplied oils, etc to railway companies, ship owners, mill owners and engineering works.

1914 Oil refiners, boilers, importers and rectifiers, distillers of turpentine. Specialities: marine engine and cylinder oils, turbine engine oil, crank chamber oil, fire-boiled oil for sheet dressing. [12]

1934 See W. B. Dick and Co: 1934 Review

1936 Converted to public company; issue of ordinary and preference shares[13]. The main products were ILO and Dixol lubricants.

1937 Refiners and specialists in manufacture of lubricants. "Ilo" Lubricants. [14].

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1945 C. C. Wakefield and Co, whose main business was in the motor trade and aircraft industry, acquired W. B. Dick and Co which was a complementary business in oils for shipping, electrical and other industries[15].

1946 9th general meeting of W. B. Dick and Co[16].

1951 (William) Bruce Dick died 16 April at Tunbridge Wells, for many years chairman of W. B. Dick and Co[17].

1955 Major Cyril Dennis, director of W. B. Dick and Co which was the principal subsidiary of C. C. Wakefield and Co, retired from executive offices[18].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Post Office London Directory, 1882
  2. The Times, 14 December 1896
  3. The Industry Pioneers, Wood, The Petroleum Times, June 1949
  4. British Commerce and Industry - Review 1934
  5. Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd , Shorrock, 2016.
  6. A History of the British Lubricants Industry, Hill, 2018
  7. The Edinburgh Gazette 22 July 1859
  8. Birmingham Daily Post, 27 July 1882
  9. Post Office London Trades Directory, 1891
  10. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  11. The Times, 12 December 1896
  12. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  13. The Times, Feb 18, 1936
  14. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  15. The Times, 16 November 1945
  16. The Times, 10 January 1946
  17. The Times, 18 April 1951
  18. The Times, 30 September 1955