John White & Son, Auchtermuchty

March, 29th | “John White & Son, Auchtermuchty”

Cupar Heritage is pleased to be continuing its activities, focussing largely on our on-line events, at present. On 29 March, we hosted the third of our monthly talks, on ZOOM. The speaker was well-known local businessman, Ted White, who gave a great talk on his family firm, John White and Sons of Auctermuchty. There was a good attendance from Cupar Heritage and also guests from Markinch Heritage, Muchty Heritage and the John White company.

Ted explained that John White and Sons, makers of weighing machines, is the oldest family business in Scotland, tracing its origin back to 1715, in Auctermuchty! He is the eighth generation of the White family and was proud to lead the recent 300th anniversary celebrations of the company in 2015. John White began making Equal Arm Balances in the reign of King George I and progressed through weighbridges and scales in industry, on farms and in shops to modern electronic weighing machines.

The company has had a history of change and adaptation. In Victorian times, it made mechanical weighing machines, and had its own foundry at Station Road, making a range of castings for industry. Weighing machines were exported to markets around the world. Around 1970, mechanical weighing machines changed to modern electronics balances, which the company produce in their new premises in Back Dykes, Auchtermuchty.

There was a lively question and answer session after the talk. Many members had memories of JWS weighing machines. Ted White had accessed the company’s records for his talk and was pleased to state that these have now been placed in the Archives of St Andrews University – for posterity. At the end of an excellent evening Ted was given a very warm vote of thanks by the enthusiastic audience. 

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