Old Photograph William Gibson Golf Club Makers Kinghorn Fife Scotland

Old photograph of the William Gibson golf club makers factory in Kinghorn, Fife, Scotland. William Gibson was born in Kirkcaldy in 1868, Gibson was another of the blacksmiths turned cleekmakers and, again, one who served his apprenticeship at the forge of James Anderson in Anstruther, East Neuk of Fife. He started in Edinburgh in 1887 as Stirling & Gibson but, in 1899, Stirling died. The firm's name changed to William Gibson & Co and, having bought a piece of land at Bowbutts at public auction in October 1902, moved to Kinghorn in 1903. The company made many clubs, for James Braid, and, more unusually for the 1920s, using the name of Joyce Wethered, perhaps the first woman to have a club range named for her. The First World War affected the business in terms of supplies, demand, and manpower going to the army and as early as August 1914 the factory was on short term working. Gibson was one of the firms which made use of dangawood shafts well into the metal-shafted era. As late as 1937, at the Carnoustie Open, they were promoting them as giving more distance than steel. Throughout their history, they paid huge attention to the wood for the shafts they made. Their top quality shafts were indicated by having the Gibson star stamped on them. At the time hickory supplies were running short in 1929, indeed only six months before the legalisation of steel shafts, T A Cochrane, the Gibson chairman, was telling the press that his was the only clubmaking firm which owned its own tracts of golf hickory in America from which they selected the best, milled there, then shipped to Glasgow. The firm went into voluntary liquidation in 1955.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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