Founded as a partnership between three men, the Carron Company was established in 1759 near Falkirk, Scotland, on the banks of the River Carron. The founders deciding to use the method developed at the famous and pioneering Coalbrookdale works which was based on using coke as fuel rather than charcoal. This process was helped by the local availability of coal and this use of newer processes is thought to have pushed less technologically advanced local ironworks out of business.

In addition to possessing (and producing) a number of examples of Carron Company benches, including designs no.11, 14, the latter being referredto as The Carron Mystery Bench, No. 4, which we refer to as the Thorneythwaite,and Lost Art Limited do have copies of Carron Company catalogues and promotional material as well as copies of original registration documents. However, as mentioned earlier, their production of decorative ironwork was limited and of generally less importance to Lost Art Limited activities.

Much of the early work of the company was for munitions for the Royal Navy, although they did also produce parts for the early steam engines produced by James Watt. However, there were considerable problems with the quality of the work, resulting in the loss of the navy contracts - with all Carron Company cannons being removed from all Navy ships. At around the same time the company were also the subject of a less than complimentary poem by Robert Burns who had been denied entry to the works.

The response of the company was to improve the design and finish of their product and the success of their 'Carronade' cannon - also known in the Navy as 'The Smasher' helped make the the company a success, so that by the second decade of the 19th Century, the Carron Company operated the largest ironworks in Europe. The company was that big that it had its own canal running the length of the works. This is also referred to in the biography of the company, which points to the scale of production in the descriptive title, 'Where Iron Runs Like Water'.

Although the Carron Company operated on a huge scale, a look through their catalogues will show that decorative goods made up only a very small part of their output and so, despite the scale of their production, the company is less celebrated for either its products or design influence than both the Coalbrookdale or MacFarlane companies.

The company continued production throughout the early Twentieth Century and contributed significantly to munitions production in both World Wars. As the company gradually shrank they did contribute to the overall appearance of the nation by producing pillar boxes and telephone boxes but this work was not enough. Despite diversifying into other materials the company finally closed in 1982.

The Carron No. 11

The Carron No. 14

Refered to by Lost Art as the "Mystery Bench", following research by Lost Art we discovered that the more correct title was the Carron pattern no. 14 garden bench. The images above show an original registration document for the design and a catalogue illustration – we presume the peacock was an optional extra.

The Carron No. 14

The image above shows a reproduction bench to the original design. The length of the bench can be extended with the inclusion of an additional central support.

The Carron No. 4

The ‘Thorneythwaite’ Bench, referred to by Carron as pattern no. 4, the images show a reproduction plus the original registration document and a catalogue illustration.

The Carron No. 3

The Serpent design, shown in the Carron Company catalogue, and as produced by Lost Art Limited. As an illustration of the vagaries of Victorian copyright laws, a very similar pattern of bench also appears in the catalogue of the influential German von Rolf Foundry.