The 1906 Edinburgh Motor Show


James Tompson's stand at the 1906 Edinburgh Motor Show

Note the launch engine at the front right. See Also




(Author unknown, but it may have been the editor of a long defunked Glasgow motoring magazine called 'Motoring World'. )

   It was at the 1906 Edinburgh Motor Show that I first met James Albert Thomson, another pioneer who had determined to risk fortune in the motor industry. Mr Thomson's father had founded a business in Edinburgh in 1879 as a manufacturer and wholesaler of goods in the horse and carriage business. Mr. Thomson joined his father's business in 1897 and early in the 1900's was impressed by a series of articles by Sir Henry Norman, M.P., which appeared in The World's Work, and which envisaged the replacing of horses and carriages by self-propelled vehicles.

   The business of James Thomson & Son then started a motor department and, in the course of a year or two, secured the sole agency for Scotland for Bleriot lamps; Parsons chains; Harvey Frost vulcanisers; E.I.C. and Pognon sparking. plugs; Smith's speedometers; and other accessories. From that time the business went rapidly ahead and in 1919 amalgamated with the world's largest motor & cycle wholesalers, Brown Brothers Ltd. Mr. Thomson is now chairman and managing director of Brown Brothers, and is also a director of Joseph Lucas.

   In the intervening years he has held all the chief offices in the motor industry, viz. President respectively of The S.M.T.A., The M.F.A., The S.M.M. & T., and The Motor & Cycle Trades Benevolent Fund.

   It was in 1904 that J. A. Thomson met Peter Bennett, then manager of the Electric Ignition Company of Birmingham and together they formed Thomson-Bennett Ltd., manufacturers of electrical equipment for motor vehicles, including magnetos. I italicize the last word for in this connection it holds historical significance. When the first World War broke out the only manufacturers of magnetos in Great Britain were Thomson-Bennett and but for the existence of this solitary source of supply much of our mechanized transport might have been immobilized. Truly a romance of industry! To admit of rapid expansion of production in 1914 an amalgamation was effected with Joseph Lucas Ltd., of which, today (Sir) Peter Bennett, M.P., is chairman and managing director.