The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

5 Jul 1808 at Lochiefield
James Cock 1776-1848
Helen Scott 1787-1824
David, William, Robert, Henry, Thomas, George, Edward
Jean 1806, Helen 1824
18 Aug 1834 in Dundee
Clementina Carmichael 1811-1888
James (1835), William, Charles, Edward, James (1853)
Grace, Ellen, Clementina, Beatrice, Adeline
1 Dec 1885 at Clement Park

With James well-established as salesman for the new products manufactured at Foggyley, William overseeing the installation of machinery, Thomas in charge of finances, and George rapidly developing his aptitude for engineering, Cox Brothers was formed in 1841, although the official change of name to Cox did not occur until 1844/5.

They began by building a new factory at Foggyley and installing hand-powered machinery for warp winding. Very soon they progressed to experimenting with steam power for the first time, and continued with this whilst at the same time building up their repuation, customer base and capital reserves.

In 1849 they purchased 8 acres of land near to Foggyley and began to lay plans for building a steam-powered factory on a much larger scale. The original 4HP engine would be replaced with a 40HP engine for driving 130 power looms. The new works began operations in 1851 and it was not long before all their work was moved from Foggyley to the new site. It was named the Camperdown Linen Works after the Earl of Camperdown, whose father had been a close friend of the Cox brothers' grandfather. Later when jute products took over from linen as the sole output of the works, it became the Camperdown Jute Works.

For the first few years up until 1857 when there was another period of stagnation in trade, the Camperdown Works expanded steadily with the addition of new land, buildings and machinery as the necessity arose.

Ward Foundry, Dundee
Premises of J&C Carmichael, Engineers and Founders

An Early Industrial Steam Engine
Photograph by Chris Allen

A Scottish Burn
Copyright Steven Jaremko

Baxters Bros & Co, Dundee - Lower Dens Mill
Peter Carmichael was a managing partner at Baxters.
He assisted with the original design of
the Camperdown Linen Works.

An Early Power Loom c1855
Although most of the mechanism was automated, the
weaver still had to make regular adjustments by hand.
Photograph by Robert Wade

A Small Calender
The cloth was finished by passing it through the rollers.
Photograph by Professor John Hume

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The First Machinery at Foggyley

As we all continued our former calling,They continued in the family tradition as linen merchants and manufacturers we began to think the prospects of trade improving also. At all events, great changes were evidently coming over us all in the spinning and weaving business. For instance, warp winding could not now be performed by the hand as before for nearly all the old women who could do nothing else had died and other means were sought.

A rude primitive machine was invented, driven by a crank with man labour. This was used for some time as a makeshift, until I went to Glasgow with one of my brothers William, and after inspecting several contrivances, we fixed on one made by Mr LomasJoseph Lomas, Millwright and Machinemaker, 64 Duke Street, Glasgow for cotton winding. It was so strengthened for our heavy linen yarns that it did its work really very well indeed.

When we got a few of these machines nearly ready for work, we contracted with a mason Thomas Finn, and a joiner David Kidd, to build a factory about 75 x 30 feet on Foggyley for holding the warp winding machines which we were making, also a few looms for experimenting on, in the weaving of jute warps etc, so as to satisfy ourselves that the power loom could accomplish all the hand did with the jute warps. This brought us on to the year 1845.

Not having any water on Foggyley, we dug a large well about 50 feet deep, 32 feet long and 16 feet broad and built it up like spectacle eyes. The spring we got was small, but in rainy weather it filled and as the ground was a strong clay till, it retained what it got, keeping us rather imperfectly supplied.

We therefore supplemented this large well with a larger tank into which we drained all the land around that could run into it. We even got liberty of going outside our own ground with our draining operations, until at last we had a good supply of water necessary for the dying and other purposes, which induced us to think of a small steam engine for driving the machinery presently driven by hand, and in this we had the very best advice, in my brother-in-law Charles Carmichael Junior, who knew of a very old engine of four horse power standing in a roofless house connected with one of the stone quarries in the village very near us.

Although very much out of repair, we thought it could be got ready for work sooner than making a new one, and we bought it, sent it to Ward Foundry, father-in-law's works, to be repaired and started as quickly as they possibly could. We found it quite large enough for the experiments we were trying, and if we were successful it would be easy getting a more powerful engine. This 4HP was started about the beginning of April, 1845.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Camperdown Linen Works

Thinking over these results,Refers to his analysis of local family businesses, which concluded that 33 out of 34 failed to survive through to the next generation. the wonder is how anyone could make up his mind to risk his money by laying it out on buildings and machinery, yet somehow it is done, and myself and brothers are thinking about running the risk by doing the same thing.

For that purpose we have fixed on a site in our native villageLochie (now Lochee) (being satisfied with the result of our experiment) to build our new Work. We have purchased a field of about 8 acres to the south of Foggyley on the north bank of and including the little stream which our forefathers had been using for their bleaching purposes for hundreds of years before.

In this year 1849 we drew designs for a Work that we could add to when required, without destroying the original design, in which we were assisted by Mr Peter Carmichael my brother-in-law, the active managing partner of Baxter Bros & Co, Terry Works, Dundee. We now contracted for building a power loom factory and engine house and also a forty HP engine. The foundation stone of the factory was laid on the first day of the year 1850, and the No. 1 40 Horse engine with 130 looms was started in March 1851, with boilerage sufficient for the engine power.

We kept moving on during that year without adding anything either in buildings or machinery, attending carefully to the turn out of the most profitable productions we could find, with the dyeing of the carpet yarn at Foggyley and the weaving of the carpets still in the weavers' private houses throughout the village. But as we found it not at all convenient to have these at so great a distance from the engine power, we therefore during the year 1852, built a new hand loom carpet factory, a yarn warehouse, and brought down from Foggyley the cloth printing operations, so as to have everything under our immediate supervision.

About the end of 1852/3 we purchased a calenderA machine that smooths and/or glazes cloth by pressing it between plates or passing it through rollers 60 inches wide for finishing the goods woven on the premises and also by hand through the village in the private houses of the weavers. These weavers carried on as formerly receiving the warp and weft for another web to carry home with them.

Trade by this time had changed. The demand had increased and everything was moving on pretty briskly. No difficulty now to get warp winding, or anything else, the labour for which could be done by the steam engine and an attending female.

Hitherto our yarns were washed and milled at a public yarn milling establishment owned by James Anderson of Dronley, at a distance of 3 miles from our Works which was very inconvenient, and having plenty of water within the Works, we resolved to add that part of the operation in the preparation of the yarn for the loom to the Work. For that purpose we ordered a 12 HP engine, which was started in May of that year and besides we erected a house for bleaching, washing and drying.

Shortly after this, in the same year 1855, we had the offer of a flax spinning mill (which was built about the year 1824/1825 by Messrs Watt & Brown, but who were afterwards unfortunate). In consequence, the works were sold to Kinmond & Hill who kept them going for some time but afterwards this new firm converted them into a jute work, offered them to us at what we were advised was a fair price, and as the ground upon which the works stood was a part or corner of one field on which we were building our new work, we accepted the offer and added jute spinning to our other operations.

Hitherto, we dried all our yarns in the open air upon booms which we mounted on posts two and three stories high and sometimes higher according to the force of the wind, and finished off the drying process in a stove, which was a most laborious process. To overcome this hard labour we tried many plans but to no purpose, the work still had to be done, until we saw a model of a drying box exhibited in our exchange,marketplace a French machine patented over Great Britain, gave an order from the model for one of these which, after some alterations, turned out quite to our mind, so much so that we have now a number of them doing all the work required to this day, under cover and within doors.

Five years only have elapsed since we laid the foundation of the works and built the centre part of the new spinning mill, and in May of that year the companion half of No. 2 of the 40 HP engine was attached and employed in driving the spinning in the centre part.

A room for hecklingteasing or combing out fibres the jute was erected in 1857, when one of these terrible periods of stagnation in trade had again come round, which I described in 1825, 6 and 7, when work could not be got, but although not so severe now, still most of the works over the town were put on short time.