18 April 2014

Consolidated Pneumatic Co. Ltd. in 1904


There is interest in the Consolidated Pneumatic Tool Company’s Fraserburgh works related to its original construction. The builder was James Stewart* and Company, a US construction firm that had a UK operation at the time. They brought an American architect, Louis Christian Mullgardt, over to design some of their projects, including the Fraserburgh CPT works. It appears much of the work was  subcontracted to the local firm Brebner & Jenkins.

(*incidentally, James Stewart was born in Peterhead to the family that operated the Aberdeen Granite quarries)

(Mullgardt returned to the US and his fame is based on his later residential and exposition work in California.)

 A unique feature of the factory is its roof. “Saw tooth” roofs were considered to provide the best lighting for fine machine work, like that involved in producing pneumatic tools. The saw tooth design had problems, however. They tended to be drafty and leaked in the gutters between the rows of “teeth”. In snow-prone areas, snow could accumulate in the gutters and block the light.

 Unlike typical saw tooth roofs, which are flat, the roof in Fraserburgh sets the saw tooth lights on pitched gables to alleviate the draft and drainage problems. Research indicates it worked well, but so far it is only documented as being used in three places: Detroit and Lansing, Michigan and Fraserburgh. The *Detroit and Lansing buildings have been demolished, leaving the original Fraserburgh CPT works as perhaps the only surviving example.

 If you know of anyone who may have information about its 1904 construction, please contact Fraserburgh Heritage Centre..

Notes on the architect and his photograph in this link

http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/profiles/mullgardt.htm

The above text is contributed by author Chris Meister, who may be contacted directly on meister.arch@bignet.net

                         The front office block and workshop with the "saw tooth" roof to the rear became Category C listed buildings in December 2012.


*Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company - from an early(c1910?) catalogue page.

*Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company - from a 1938 catalogue page.

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