Brown McFarlane looks back on 133 successful years in business and strives for green future

Published by Scott Challinor on December 24th 2021, 10:07am

Steel plate stockholding specialists and component manufacturers, Brown McFarlane, can look back proudly on their achievements after being in business for 133 years.

The business was first founded in 1888 by Captain AR Brown in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Its purpose then was to supply ships from the colossal yards of the River Clyde to Japan’s navy and merchant fleets. George McFarlane, a naval architect, joined the business 12 years later, and his name forms part of the firm’s brand today.

Even in its formative years, the business made a great impact. After assisting the mass effort to facilitate Japan’s evolution from feudal shogunate to a modern industrial nation, Captain Brown was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun and appointed Japan’s first consul at Glasgow in 1889.

Since then, the firm has been on an incredible journey, and continuously demonstrated its abilities to adapt to the challenges of the environment around it.

It was from 1965 onward, when the founder’s great-grandson Kenneth Brown joined the company, that its focus turned to its current discipline of steel plate stockholding and component manufacturing. Now headed by managing director, Tony O’Reilly [pictured], the business employs over 80 people across its offices in Glasgow, Stoke-on-Trent and Longbridge.

Even now, the company is continuing to adapt and look to the future under O’Reilly’s leadership. With green credentials at the forefront of its considerations in a year where Glasgow hosted the historic COP26 climate summit, the company has already installed solar panels and energy saving lighting at its sites and has plans to harvest rainwater to become even more efficient with its utilities in future.

Notably, the company was also one of the first stainless and carbon steel stockholders in the whole of Europe to achieve the ISO 14001 accredited standard for Environmental Management.

O’Reilly commented: “We value our green credentials here at Brown McFarlane and having made great progress already we are looking to become even more efficient by harvesting our rainwater.

“Outside of that, we are excelling in multiple areas. Our laser bed is one of the largest in the country at 12,000 millimetres x 3,000 millimetres, we have exclusivity in the UK and Ireland for the supply of Creusabro Wear Resistant Steel, and our precision engineering arm offers fully machined precision parts.

“We are proud to have been in business for over 130 years and are excited for what the future holds.”

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
December 24th 2021, 10:07am

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