Thornton and Company
Like several other golf-related companies (Goudie, Forth Rubber Company, for example), Thornton started off as a waterproof and india-rubber manufacturer with ‘Ventilating Celtic Waterproofs’ and the ‘Cavalier Waterproof Cloak’ two of their early trademarks. Their advertising proclaimed their gold medal for waterproof manufacturers from the International Fisheries Exhibition in Edinburgh in 1882.
Later they expanded into all sorts of sports equipment, as the illustration shows, with the first mention in their advertising of ‘golf lawn tennis and croquet’ in 1889. (though they ran small ads for The Match gutta ball the previous year). In golf equipment, clubs from their Wonder series are probably the most commonly seen.
Manufacturing their own clubs may have caused (or may have been the result of) a rift with Forgan of St Andrews. Thornton announced in The Scotsman in 1892 that they 'manufacture very extensively high class golf clubs of every description'. On the same page of the newspaper Forgan announced that they 'have transferred their sole agency from Thornton & Co to the North British Rubber Company.
Their head office was at 78 Princes Street in the centre of Edinburgh and manufacturing took place here also. There was further manufacturing capability in Belfast and, in 1890, they had additional branches in Leeds and Bradford and, by the following year, had added a branch in Gordon Street in Glasgow though this seems to have closed in 1905 or 1906.
The Edinburgh shop, at least, kept going until the 1960s.
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