Glasgow based firm of iron founders, founded by John McDowall, of the
Eagle Foundry, Port Dundas, in 1828.
In 1835 the firm is listed in the POD
as McDowall & Robertson, Milton Foundry,
Port Dundas (with James Kennedy the stationer as their agent at 115
Ingram Street), becoming McDowall & Co., 1844-61, at 3 Corn Street,
Port Dundas, and then McDowall Steven & Co., 1862-1909, as the Milton
Iron Works, at 142 Woodside Road, after Hugh Stevenson became a partner.
After closing in 1909, the firm was resurrected in 1916, at the Laurieston Iron Works,
Falkirk, until 1930.
They manufactured ornamental crestings and pipes for buildings;
band stands, seats and railings for the city's parks, and ornamental
drinking fountains and lamp standards for its streets and public places, and
also exported their castings to towns elsewhere in the UK and the Commonwealth.
In 1888, they supplied garden seats and the drinking fountains
for the grounds of the Kelvingrove International Exhibition and
exhibited a huge, ornamental cast-iron fountain in the grounds.
The design for this splendid, multi-tiered, figurative fountain was designated
pattern number twenty two in the foundry's trade catalogue, and was presented to
the city by the foundry in 1890, when it was relocated to Cathedral Square Gardens.
The fountain, together with four of the foundry's smaller canopied
drinking fountains (pattern no. 13) which surrounded it, was destroyed around 1959,
after years of lying derelict.
Of the two other copies of the fountain known to have been erected elsewhere, the Jubilee Fountain in Biggar, of c. 1887, was
demolished in the early 1900s, whilst the fountain gifted to Ayr by Hugh Steven himself,
and erected on the esplanade in 1892, was restored in 1980.
McDowall Steven also produced the ornate lampstandards outside Glasgow's City Chambers
(c. 1889) and the decorative gratings for the heating and ventilating system
in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (1892-1900).
The most familiar examples of their surviving street furniture are the thousands of
red and black Post Boxes erected in streets throughout the UK from the late 1890s.
- McDowall Steven Trade Catalogue;
, 5 September, 1890, p. 11;
, 15 September, 1890, p. 99;
- Lindsay, p. 73;
- 1888 Kelvingrove Ehibition Catalogue, p.59;
C1772, C8666 (photos: Cathedral Square Fountain, c. 1890-93);
- Heritage Engineering;