George smith sun foundry

The Sun Foundry name refers to the works base of George Smith & Co, a Glasgow based firm started in 1858 and who were at one time comparable in size to the more famous Saracen Works of Walter MacFarlane. Indeed, there are those who believe that the work of the Sun Foundry surpasses in decorative quality that of both the Saracen and Lion works, this being particularly true in the area of fountains, a product for which Smith's company were renowned.

The Sun Foundry produced designs for gates, railings and bandstands but, as mentioned above, their speciality was ornamental fountains. A spectacular example of a Sun Foundry fountain can be seen in Fountain Gardens, Paisley. It stands 30ft high with a 12 foot bowl and is decorated with life size cast iron walruses. The fountain was a present to the town of Paisley by the Victorian philanthropist Thomas Coats and was described at the opening as 'an exceptional example of ornamental cast-iron manufacture and unlike any other example produced before or since'.

Despite producing such notable products the firm did not survive as its rivals did and moved out of Glasgow before the end of the 19th century, apparently relocating to Alloa but records are vague and the exact timing of their demise is unknown.

Designs produced by the Sun Foundry also found their way around the world, with their Squirrel Bench being found, not only in the Botanical Gardens in Glasgow, but also in the Smithsonian Institute in the USA, with the famous American Mott Company having adopted the design. Lost Art Limited also have a pattern for the production of this bench, having produced over 60 copies for the restoration of South Marine Park in South Shields.

A Sun design cast iron cresting was also supplied as part of the work undertaken by Lost Art Limited for the Southend-on-Sea Cliff Lift.

The Lost Art Sun Foundry Archive

Lost Art have a number of copies of Sun Foundry catalogues, illustrating a wide variety of products produced by George Smith & Co. A couple of examples are shown below.