The Pattison Crash
last updated May 18th 2015

"What Happend When?
time frame
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James Greig, who examined the books prior to the floatation was an important witness during the trial in 1901 He said that Pattisons had spent about £100,000 in two years in advertising blended whiskies, "and the firm never got the benefit of that large expenditure".

The value of all this items after the crash was also a discussion point. In a letter dated January 6th 1899 the brothers write:
     4) Sundries -Under this head are entered showcards, mirrors, stationery, &c. These items stand in the books at £21,981, which is the cost to us, but you estimate them at £7000 only. There are a number of other items not carried into the books or into your balance-sheet at all. For instance, railway plates, containing our advertisements at railway stations, and lettering for shop windows all over the country. These latter items have cost us at least £5000. Under this head, therefore, we think there ought to be carried in as an asset on the basis of a going business a further sum of £15,000.

Pattisons for sure spent a fortune on marketing and they were innovative. Alfred Barnard writes in his book about his visit to Pattison, Elder & Co "We should here add that this firm, in the way of showcards and other advertising agencies, has marched with the the march of the times."
Most known are the 500 West African grey parrots::
     Some time ago there arrived in Leith a large trading vessel whose captain had engaged in a "spec" on his own account by bringing over some 50 parrots. The news of this rather unusual kind of cargo soon got to be known in Leith, and within an hour or two of the ship's arrival the captain was waited on by a representative of Pattisons , who offered to buy, at big price, the whole lot of parrots on condition that within a given time they should be all trained to cry, " Buy whisky." "buy 'a WHISKY." The captain readily closed with this offer, and when the buyer returned to the ship some few days later the parrots greeted his appearance with deafening scream of Buy Pattisos's whisky." The terms of the contract of sale being thus duly implemented the part of the importer the buyer took delivery of them, and had each one placed in a beautiful gilt cage, the whole consignment forthwith despatched to Liverpool for distribution among the public-houses there, as the firm were then concentrating their forces on that city.

"Imperial men" (see above) seem to be have been a target group and many of the other advertisments are very focused on this group.
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Christmas was (and still is, I hope...) a good opportunity to give whisky as a gift. Below are some ads.

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Some ads are more simple.

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The also produced 23 small cyclist maps - 15 of them covering England and 8 Scotland. They are in different colors - brown, red green and grey. They were all under copyright of John Bartholomew & Co (same company made the "imperial ads"). The maps showed also the offices and warehouses in Leith, the brewery in Duddingston, and Royal Gordon and Morning Dew bottles. On top is the motto "Animo Non Astutia" "By courage not craft" which is the motto for the clan House of Gordon.
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Cumberland Westmoreland
Dorset, Wilts & Hampshire
East Central Countries
Essex & Kent
Hereford, Worchester, Gloucester, Oxford
Lancashire and Isle of Man
Counties around London
Norfolk and Suffolk
Northcumberland and Durham
Shropshire; Cheshire, Staffordshire & Derbyshire
North Wales
South Wales

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South-Western Counties of Scotland
Central Highlands of Scotland
Southerlandshire and Caithness
South-Eastern Counties of Scotland
Eastern Counties of Scotland
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Below are photos of some of the jugs they produced.
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Below two Royal Gordon brand glasses - same shape but one is from the Pattison, Elder & Co era (before 1896) and one from Pattison Limited era (1896-1898).
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 Pattison, Elder & Co glass

Pattison glass
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Pattison had very beautiful dispensers.The once at the top are 72 cm high. The dispensers were property of Pattison, Elder & Co or PAttisons Limited.
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Many thanks to Jim Harper, Foxton, New Zealand for the four photos of the two mirrors above. They are produced by MacPhail Ltd Glasgow.

Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough - 15 February 1898
Pall Mall Gazette - Wednesday 04 January 1899
Edinburgh Evening News - Monday 08 July 1911
Alfred Barnard: A visit to Pattison, Elder & Co