Scotland’s oldest family-run firm turns 300
John White & Son Ltd has been supplying weighing machines from its premises in the Fife town of Auchtermuchty since in 1715 after blacksmith John White made a “particularly fine” beam end scale.
According to the firm, one of its earliest products, a beam scale actually made in 1715, survives at the business to this day where managing director Edwin White heads an eighth generation of change and innovation.
Together with his wife and fellow director Tio White, director Joyce Onuonga and their 15 strong workforce, Mr White overseas a business that has moved through the centuries of changing technology as mechanical weighing machines eventually gave way to electronics.
Moving from beam end scales in the eighteenth century to counter scales and weighing platforms in the nineteeth, the company moved into the twentieth century to expand its range to include retail scales and pre-set weighers, from which the Cartomat checkweigher was developed.
Edwin White, speaking at a staff reunion to mark the milestone for the business, which is also the UK’s oldest independent weighing company, said: “These craftsmen made many wonderful products and brought us into the present age, and our younger employees have been able to meet them as they move things forward. It’s my privilege to be here when the past meets the present. We will carry on at the front of technology, developing products and looking for new markets.”
Two of the guests at the reunion were in their 90s – one of them John Davidson, who joined the firm as a 15-year-old apprentice weighing machine mechanic.
Mr White added: “I spent my entire working life with Whites, retiring in 1989 after almost 50 years. One of my lasting memories is going out all over Fife to ser vice machines – often on the company motorcycle.”