Examples Book of Macfarlane's Castings[Walter Macfarlane and Co.]
Glasgow: Walter Macfarlane and Co. .
First edition. 377x276mm. pp. [iv], 78. Publisher's green cloth, lettered in gilt to upper cover and spine. Upper cover has gilt double border with a further black border inside it. Lower cover is lettered an decorated in the same fashion save in black, not gilt. Some rubbing and bumping to extremities and slight marking to upper cover. Some cracking to hinge but overall a very good, sound original binding. Internally in excellent, clean and fresh condition. The contents consists of a short preface followed by 74 pages of lithograph illustrations (produced by Gardner and Stevenson, engineering lithographers) showing examples of the, very Victorian, work carried out by Walter Macfarlane and Co. Among the "Examples" are "tomb railing", "sanitary appliances", "bandstands", and "railway platform roofing". The preliminary pages show illustrations of the firm's premises in London, in Washington St, Glasgow and at Possilpark. The book is undated but the preface refers to the fifth edition of the "Illustrated Catalogue" published in 1872. It also mentions that Mr Macfarlane has been devoted to cast iron work with his present partners for twenty five years. The firm was founded with Thomas Russell and James Marshall in 1850 giving this volume a date of 1875 or 1876. This "Examples Book" is explicitly aimed at what the preface calls the "wealthier classes". It declares that "nowhere should these [the advancement and culture looked for by the wealthier classes] be more observable than in their dwellings, business premises, and public structures". The book would also appear to have been produced as a presentation edition for loyal clients. There is a printed presentation page with the inscription "Capt. T.J. Smith, Mullingar". Loosely inserted is an eight page leaflet (277x203mm) showing some examples from their illustrated catalogue. The leaflet is undated but the front page makes reference to "Two Gold Medals, Calcutta Exhibition, 1884".
Walter Macfarlane and Co was Scotland’s leading manufacturer of ornamental ironwork. Based at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Macfarlane’s quickly became a vast enterprise and examples of its work can be found throughout the world. The work of Macfarlane’s, like its founder and the company itself, is rooted in the Victorian era although perhaps its most celebrated work began in 1935 when it was chosen to be one of five foundries to make the Sir Giles Gilbert Scott K6 Telephone Box. A scarce book, Copac locating only four copies in the UK at the BL, National Museum of Wales, V&A, and NLS.