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Aberdeen Comb Works

The Comb Works on Hutcheon Street later to become Webster Remould Tyres and a Rag and Bone Merchant was at the Mounthooly end of the street for your worn out woollens and socks to be exchanged for a few shillings in the recycling trade.

Aberdeen Comb Work Co. Ltd., 40 Hutcheon Street
Stewart & Co., S. R., 40 Hutcheon street

Rosemount Co., Ltd., Forbes Street

Comb Making
The manufacture of Combs, which had been introduced in 1788, and carried on to a very moderate extent, was, in 1830, commenced upon a greatly enlarged scale, by Messrs. Stewart, Rowell, and Company, who 1st employed steam-power in the manufacture, and introduced other improvements by which the articles can now be produced almost at a 1/6th part of the former cost. In this concern, about 250 persons are employed, and the number of combs of all kinds made is about 43,000 weekly.

The comb works of Messrs Stewart & Co., begun in 1827, are the largest in the world, employing 900 hands, at £500 weekly wages, who yearly convert 1100 tons horns, hoofs, India-rubber, and tortoise-shells into 11 millions of combs, besides spoons, cups, scoops, paper-knives, etc.

Hutcheon Street, Aberdeen, Scotland (1908)



  • 1830 Aberdeen Combworks was established by John Stewart, in Hutcheon Street, employing 40 people. 

  • By 1894 the works was turning out 9 million combs annually. They were fashioned in bone, horn, tortoiseshell, wood, whalebone and ivory. Many different types of comb were used by the Victorians, both for caring for the hair and for costume. Beards were fashionable during the later 19th century, and beard combs would have been quite a common household item.

  • 1899 The company was registered on 15 April, to take over certain businesses at Aberdeen, London, York and Birmingham.


  • 1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Horn and Keronyx non-inflammable Combs of every description, for all markets; makers of "Keronyx", a non-inflammable substitute for Vulcanite, Celluloid, Xylonite, etc. (Stand No. K.11)

  • 1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Horn and "Keronyx" non-inflammable Combs of every description for all markets; also Paper Cutters, Drinking Cups, Shoehorns, etc. Makers of "Keronyx" a non-inflammable substitute for Ivory, Vulcanite, Celluloid, Xylonite, etc. (Stand No. J.146)

  • 1947 British Industries Fair Advert for a wide range of combs produced from various materials. Manufacturers of Horn, Keronyx and Aberoid Non-Inflammable combs and Nuroid Moulded Combs of every description for all markets; also Papercutters, Drinking Cups, Shoehorns, etc. (Fancy Goods Section - Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. G.2056)

In 1830 John Stewart came to Aberdeen to open a comb works. From this came the Aberdeen Comb Works.  The factory was on Hutcheon Street. There they employed up to 900 workers, women, men and boys. Horn, tortoiseshell and hooves came to the factory to be made into combs, boxes, knife handles, spoons etc.  Later Plastic Combs were injection moulded in the above machines circa 1960

These are pressed plates of horn for making into combs. Comb making was a huge industry in 19th century Aberdeen.

One factory alone had almost 1000 workers.

This included young children.  Horn is a natural plastic. It can be bent and pressed to a variety of shapes. In the 19th century Aberdeen was famous for its comb industry. Hundreds of workers were employed. Millions of horns came by ship to the city. Horn from animals such as buffalo and cattle was used. It came from all over the world.


Photograph taken at Aberdeen Comb Works. Here we see a machine with a circular saw blade.

The blade was very sharp and turned fast.

It was used to cut teeth in combs.

We can see how dusty it was and this is just one machine in a factory.

These combs were made from animal horns.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013