sealing wax manufacturer
George Waterstons was established with sealing wax works in
premises at Dunbar Close, off the High Street in 1752.
The sealing wax works
later moved into Duncan's chocolate factory in Beaverhall Road, then
around 1989 moved to the present rented premises in a yard across
the road from the chocolate factory in Beaverhall Road.
When I visited the company In 1994, it was manufacturing about 90 lbs of sealing
wax per day from its works in Beaverhall Road. About 70% of the production was exported, mainly
to the USA and Hong Kong.
It also had a large store and works in Logie Green Road and a
stationery and gift shop at the corner of George Street and Hanover
Sealing wax was produced in two sizes - small without string and large with
string. Most of the production was red, some was gold,
silver, green and other colours.
I bought a small red stick for £1.25 in
the centre of Edinburgh, on the day after my visit to the
Waterston sealing wax works .
Blocks of rosin and shellac flakes and presumably some colouring
material were used to make the sealing wax.
The ingredients were mixed and heated, then poured into moulds to
which string had been added.
They were removed, finished by applying more heat, then packed.
in boxes. (There may well have been other ingredients
and other stages in the production.)
The premises in Beaverhall Road, where I took the photos above,
are now empty.
However, I must thank Angela Conroy for emailing me to tell
me the latest news. The company has been sold and, as
far as she knows, is still producing wax. See below for
De-merger - Liquidation
George Waterston & Sons Ltd (which the wax business was part of)
de-merged in June 2003. Basically, it split in half with the
printing side going in one direction -as George Waterston (Security
office supplies, wax, shop in George St and a very small part of the
printing business then became Waterstons Mackenzie Storrie. That
company went into receivership in Dec 2003. That was when the Wax
side was sold onto another company - outwith the Waterstons family
for the fist time in over 250 years.
other - George Waterston (Security Printers) Ltd, went into
receivership in Oct 2004.
Quite sad for a company more than 250 years old. The seventh
generation of the Waterston family was actually still working as a
Director when they went down.
[Angela Conroy, West Lothian, Scotland, March 2005]
Thank you also to J C Williams who sending the following details:
Still in Production
I have found that Waterston's Wax is still
being produced by Montgomery Litho in Peffermill. I had
a great chat with a fellow named Derek Black, who has been
working for Waterston for 27 years and is one of their wax
It seems that
Montgomery Litho bought the wax works out of receivership in
January of 2004.
[J C Williams: August 2005]
sealing wax manufacturer
Thank you to Bob
Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh who wrote:
St John's Hill
"When I was at St. Pat's
school, there was a sealing wax works about half way along St Johns
Hill. I always understood this to be part of Waterstons."
I believe that it would have been
Waterstone's sealing was works that you remember from St
John's Hill. I was told, when I visited their works at
Powderhall, that the company had previously been based at
several locations in Edinburgh Old Town.
- Peter Stubbs: December 7, 2007
"We used to pick up the
bits of resin, used in the manufacturing process.
We rubbed it into the palms
of our hands in the unshakable belief that it would dull the pain in
the event of getting the belt from Mr Boyle, the Head Master.
I think he must have used the resin too to rub into the belt to make
Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh: December