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From Loom to Lathe and Back Again

March 1, 2011

I’m a volunteer on the Stoddard-Templeton archive. At the moment I am involved in researching and writing the company histories of the carpet manufacturers linked to Stoddard’s and Templeton’s. I have recently been researching a company called ‘Blackwood Morton & Sons’, or ‘BMK’ as they were more famously known. ‘BMK’ formed under William F. Blackwood and Gavin (Guy) Morton in Kilmarnock during 1908. The company achieved success with its Chenille and Spool Axminster carpets.

During my research I came across an inspiring book entitled ‘From Loom To Lathe And Back Again’ about the war effort in the factories at home. The book was commissioned by ‘BMK’ in 1946 and recorded the changes the company underwent during World War II. Between 1939-1945 the company was asked by the government to make 19 different items for the war effort. These items ranged from machine parts for polsten guns to electric hub motors for the R.A.F. In the photograph below for example, BMK employees are making Oerlikon Shells for the Navy.

During a time when all carpet manufacture in Great Britain was brought to a standstill making these items allowed the company to keep its staff employed. The book praised the determination and ingenuity of all of its employees in rising to the challenges set before them. Although this type of manufacture was a million miles away from that of carpets the factory men and women never faltered in their efforts to help win the war.

Amy Robinson.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Duncan Chappell permalink
    March 24, 2011 1:48 pm

    We’ve found a couple of folios stamped with Blackwood Morton & Sons in the Stoddard Library here at Glasgow School of Art.

  2. Jean Bates permalink
    April 27, 2013 12:27 am

    I have a BMK carpet/rug which is most beautiful. How would I be able to find out how old it is? I would like this rug preserved for other to see it. I can send some photos if required.

    • Clare Paterson permalink*
      May 8, 2013 11:29 am

      Dear Jean,

      Please do send on the details of your rug to Archive Services and we will see if we have any records which can help you. Ideally we need a pattern number or design name. Our contact details are on our website: http://www.glasgow.ac.uk/archives

      Best,
      Clare

      • Jean Bates permalink
        May 13, 2013 10:45 am

        Thanks for getting back to me Clare, I will go on that website you recommended. Regards Jean

  3. alex flynn permalink
    December 13, 2013 12:50 pm

    There’s a new facebook page called BMK EX WORKERS PAGE. Im sure you would get a lot of life story’s and info.

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