Notable People

The success of the shale oil industry owes much to a large range of talented individuals who made significant contributions to the progress of science, technology and business. Biographical details of a few of these "Notable People" are listed here, and also classified according to their field of endeavour.

Details of notable people can also be access through the general People Search page.

  • Early pioneers of the oil industry
    • The Bathgate partnership - the three men behind the "secret factory" in Bathgate.

      Other early entrepreneurs active prior to 1870

      • Ebenezer Waugh Fernie (1815-1869) - an accomplished and well-connected entrepreneur, who was James Young's greatest challenger.
      • Robert Bell (1824-1894) - Wishaw coalmaster, and founder of the shale industry in Broxburn
      • Robert Binning (1817-1894) - a Glasgow merchant with early interests in oil import and refining.
      • John Edgar Poynter (c.1839-1889) - a Glasgow chemists with various oil interests
  • Leading figures in the growth of Scottish shale oil companies
      • George Beilby (1850-1925) - Chemist, scientist, and oil works manager.
      • James Bryson (1853-1930) - General manager of the Pumpherston oil works
      • John Calderwood (1840-1903) - Chief chemist of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Co. Ltd
      • Archibald Henderson Crichton (c.1851-1918) - First manager of Philpstoun oil works, and Director of James Ross & Co.
      • John Fyfe (1834-1915) - General manager of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Co. Ltd.
      • William Fraser (1852-1915) - Managing Director of the Pumpherston Oil Co. Ltd.
      • Norman Henderson (1839-1917) - Works manager at Oakbank and Broxburn, and inventor
      • James Jones (1840-1912) - Managing Director of the Dalmeny Oil Co. Ltd.
      • William Kennedy (1836-1899) - Managing director of the Broxburn Oil Co. Ltd
      • Daniel Rankin Steuart (1848-1925) - Oil works chemist and academic
      • William Young (1842-1907) - Manager of Clippens Oil Co. Ltd. and inventor
  • Oil works managers and officials, pre WW1
      • James Beveridge (c.1851-?), Mining manager and Works manager at Champfleurie (Linlithgow) oil works
      • James Maxwell (c.1851-1929) Works manager at Addiewell oil works
      • James Snodgrass (c.1851-?), Works manager at Tarbrax, Pumpherston and Linlithgow
      • James Spencer (1861-?), worked at Rosebank, Blochairn, Oakbank and Binnend
  • Private companies - Oil industry proprietors
      • William Black (c.1840-1898) - Airdrie coalmaster and owner of Stanrigg oil works
      • John Nimmo (1826-1895). Coalmaster with interests in a number of oil works
      • John Peter Raeburn (c.1828-1872) - Landowner and proprietor of the Grange oil works
      • James Thornton (1817-1885) - Coalmaster and co-founder of the Hermand Oil Co. Ltd.
      • Thomas Thornton (1807-1884) - Coalmaster and co-founder of the Hermand Oil Co. Ltd.
  • Public company directors, investors, and others with influence
      • John Barr (c.1796-1884)- Ayrshire coalmaster with oil industry interests
      • John Traill Cargill (1867-1954) Chairman of the Burmah Oil Co. Ltd, and served on board of Scottish Oil Agency
      • Andrew Landale (1815-1903) - Fife coalmaster and Chair of the Linlithgow Oil Co. Ltd.
      • Peter McLagan (1833-1900) - Landowner and polititian who had interests in several oil enterprises
      • Walter MacLellan (1815-1889) - Glasgow industrialist who served on the board of several oil companies
      • James Pender (1841-1921) - Polititian and a director of the Bathgate Oil Co.
      • John Pender (1816-1896) - Industrialist and polititian with oil industry interests
      • Lyon Playfair (1818-1898) - Prominent scientist, polititian, and associate of James Young
      • James Scott (1810-1884) - Glasgow merchant and Chair of the Clippens Oil Co. Ltd.
      • Thomas Spowart (1827-1888) - Fife coalmast and chair of the Linlithgow Oil Co. Ltd.
      • Donald Tulloch Sutherland (1834-1898) - Provost of Bathgate and Chair of the West Lothian Oil Co. Ltd.
      • John Waddell (1828-1888) - Railway contractor who served on several oil company boards.
      • John Wilson (1828-1905) - Polititian who served as chair of the Walkinshaw Oil Co. Ltd.
  • Notable managers and officials of Scottish Oils Ltd. (post 1919)
      • John Caldwell
      • Robert Crichton (1882-1966) - Mining manager, General manager, and Managing Directof of Scottish Oils Ltd.
      • Alex Frame - Manager of Niddry Castle oil works and others
      • William Fraser (1888-1970) - Managing Director of Scottish Oils Ltd.
      • George Reid - Manager of Hopetoun oil works and others
      • James Peutherer (1886-1965) - Manager of Niddry Castle oil works and other works
      • James Balfour Sneddon (c.1863-1949) - Mining manager, Oakbank Oil Co. Ltd.
  • Interesting and well-travelled lives
      • John James Patison (1828-1905) - A worthy from Airdrie, said to have been an oil pioneer
      • Alexander Scott (1875-1956) - Medical researcher and former oil works doctor
      • George Simpson - Coalmaster and the master of the sharp deal
      • George Woolfries (c.1830-?) A Dorset man who moved to Scotland to work in the oil industry
      • Andrew Graham Yooll (1820-1901) - Associated with early oil works in London and North Wales, and established the Kilrenny oil works in Fife.
  • Figures from outside the Scottish shale oil industry
      • John Braithwaite (1797-1860). A famous railway engineer, and proprietor of an early oil works in Dorset
      • Charles Fredrick Cheffins (1807-1860). An accomplished engineer, associated with early oil works in Dorset
      • William Forbes-Leslie (c.1866-1944). The mastermind behind various ill-conceived shale ventures in England
      • William Mattieu Williams (1820-1892) Teacher, chemist, and oil works proprietor in North Wales
      • John Gano Winter (1799-1865) American industrialist briefly associated with the North Wales oil industry

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