Douglas and Grant Engineering



Douglas and Grant Engineering, Dunnikier Foundry, Cupar, Fife was founded by Robert Douglas b 1822, a son of Rev Robert Douglas, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.

The origin of the firm can be traced to the Stratheden Foundry, Cupar, in which Robert Douglas bought shares in the early 1830s. By the 1850s some general foundry work was being carried out in Kirkcaldy and by the 1870s, the partnership of Douglas and (Lewis) Grant was specialising in the manufacture of steam engines. In the early twentieth century the firm diversified into the production of rice-milling machinery for export and in 1912 established branches in Rangoon, Saigon and Tanjore to develop this market. Douglas & Grant was incorporated as a limited company in the same year.

In 1926 the original firm went into voluntary liquidation and was re-organised as Lewis C Grant. This company was incorporated in 1951.

Charles Edward Douglas b.1871, d. 1952  Kirkcaldy,  was an engineer at his father's engineering company and travelled all over Asia selling the company's most well known device, the steam driven rice mill. One of these rice mills is still at work in the Irawaddy Delta in Burma. Copies of his diaries made during these journeys at the turn of the last century,  are available from the Dundee University Archives.

The company provided equipment that enable southern Australia's first ship repair facilities to be built.  This new ‘Dunnikier’ slip was shipped from Scotland to Port Adelaide in two lots during 1862. The installation of the slip began that same year. It was built on the western side of Fletcher’s Slip. The new slip was very large and designed to take 2000 tons.

The company was also registered as a manufacturer of paper-making equipment.

Messrs Douglas and Grant of Kirkcaldy designed the The Corliss engine working 1:6 scale model, made in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art workshop in 1876, and which is now on display in Edinburgh

The Corliss Centennial Engine powered more than 800 exhibitions at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, the same year the working model was built. It was 14 metres tall!


A power generation boiler was purchased by the Brazilian company "IndĂşstrias Reunidas Fábricas Matarazzo SA"; Engine Number: 696; Year: 1915. This power generation boiler was the first source of energy of the city of Antonina, state of Paraná, in southern Brazil. 

The following documents are held in the University of Dundee archives (amongst others):

  • There is a contract of copartnery between Messrs Robert Douglas and Lewis Grant under the name of Douglas and Grant, engineers and ironfounders. Dunnikier Foundry Works, Kirkcaldy
  • Jackson & Douglas [John Jackson and Robert Douglas], Cupar MillsJackson & Douglas [John Jackson and Robert Douglas], Cupar Mills
  • Dissolution of partnership and assignation of lease, Jackson & Douglas, 1851
  • Agreement between Robert Douglas, engineer, Kirkcaldy, and William Inglis, engineer, Edinburgh, regarding manufacture and sale of Corliss Steam Engines and patent circulating boilers, 1864
  • Robert Douglas in petition for exoneration and discharge as trustee on sequestered estates of Messrs Key & Sons and George Andrew Key and Alexander Key. Edinburgh. December 1880
  • Memorandum by Robert Douglas, engineer, Kirkcaldy, with reference to proposed amalgamation of the firms John Key & Sons, shipbuilders and engineers, Whytebank and Kinghorn, and Douglas & Grant, engineers, Dunnikier Foundry, Kirkcaldy. 1884
  • Agreement, with subsequent alterations, between Messrs Douglas & Grant, Dunnikier Foundry, Kirkcaldy, and Mark Wadia, Manchester and Bombay, appointing him agent throughout the district of Bombay 1886
  • Draft heads of agreement for copartnership in the firm of Douglas & Grant, the partners being Lewis Grant, engineer, Kirkcaldy, David Bonar, engineer, London, and David Landale, engineer, Leith 1893
  • Memorandum in relation to proposal to form a company to take over from Douglas & Grant Ltd the business of their eastern agencies March 1915


    The Patent Floorcloth Co. Ltd
    Incorporated in 1873 and operated by John Whyte, former manager at Nairn’s; Robert Douglas of the Kirkcaldy engineering firm, Douglas and Grant and a group of Ayrshire ship owners .The works near the railway station were severely damaged by fire in January 1880 and the company was forced into liquidation.

    See also:

  • Biographical entry for Robert Douglas
  • This page was last updated on 23 May 2022

    Click here to 
    Print this page

    Biography finder





























    Index of first names


    Errors and Omissions

    The Forum

    What's new?

    We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

    If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


    Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


    You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


    If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

    You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

    Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


    2 Minute Survey

    To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


    We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

    We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

    Help with costs

    Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



    If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!
    Temporarily withdrawn.