The Doric Columns
Harper & Company
John Harper left his parents’ farm near Turriff in Aberdeenshire around the age of 9 and found employment as a Market Gardener before moving down to Edinburgh with his brother Hugh, where they became wire fencers. This continued in Glasgow and in 1856 they returned to Aberdeen to set up their own business as fencers and gate manufacturers. Before long they had established a foundry. In 1863, aged 30, John Harper registered a patent 'device for straining wire’, which was crucial to the development of Bridge building. John and Hugh Harper were Engineers who founded the business of Harper and Company of Aberdeen. John is seated in front smoking a cigar, seated behind with large beard is his brother Hugh. The company they founded originally made wire fencing. Later John Harper moved into the manufacture of suspension bridges, engines and other machinery. Originally at Albion Iron Works, Albion Street, from Justice Street to the Links, Aberdeen. They began to specialise in the manufacture of power transmission systems. John Harper died in 1906 and Hugh in 1912.
John Harper, Jr., Managing Director (Harpers Limited), Heathpark,
Louis Harper, Architect and Engineer designed the Craiginches Ironworks for his father, John, in 1892 in an area that is now known as East Tullos Industrial Estate. Harpers Ltd (which was the 1st Aberdeen factory to install electric light) manufactures included rope and belt pulleys, flywheels, steel shafting, toothed gearing and bearings. The premises had 28 travelling cranes on 2 miles of overhead rails and 28 electric motors with a roof area of 3 acres. The Foundry had 5 bays altogether (35 feet, 25 ft and 3 bays of 18 feet wide) all of which were 260 feet long. There were 2 cupolas melting 9 and 6 tons of iron per hour respectively and numerous gear-wheel moulding machines and rope-pulley grooving machines capable of an output of 100 tons of castings per week. The 'Turnery' (machine tool shop) was connected to the Foundry with Bogie rails for the rapid movement of castings to the tool shop and was equipped with all sorts of specialist equipment, all driven by 4 lines of shafting.
The adjacent Caledonian Railway connection allowed the import of pig iron and the export of finished castings. Harpers Ltd also produced light iron Suspension Bridges designed by John Harper. The Harpers main business was supplying power drive machinery to Aberdeen’s many Industrial Mills
Louis Harper AMICE
was born on 6 June
the son of
a native of
and his 2nd wife Margaret Ross.
with his brother
had established a successful business in the manufacture of wire fences in
and subsequently in
they returned to Aberdeen and continued as gate and fence manufacturers and
subsequently established a Foundry. In
John Harper patented a device for 'straining the wire' in fence-making which was
to become crucial in the development of Suspension Bridges which the firm
subsequently began to design.
The Harpers were involved in the construction of light wire suspension bridges
Initially they designed and built and latterly only designed. Louis Harper
with questions or comments about the design
of this web site.