Combining tradition with innovation

WILSONS can trace its history back to the Crimean War, when Robert Wilson decided to give up back-breaking work on his farm near Dunfermline in Scotland and become a grain and feed merchant. However, it was his son, John, who sowed the seeds of a thriving business. It would survive numerous wars, depressions, and family strife to become a much-loved local institution.

Young John Wilson would toil in a local seed crushing mill 12 hours a day, six days a week for the princely sum of eleven shillings. Then, every evening, he  would visit local farmers with a borrowed horse and cart to buy and sell animal feeds.

100 years of growth

With almost 10 years of knowledge and contacts under his belt, John Wilson finally opened his own feed mill in Dundee and the stage was set for steady investment and growth over the next hundred years. New labour-saving machinery was sourced from the United States in the 1880s and the advent of electrical power at the turn of the 19th century added greatly to productivity.

The advent of the Second World War saw Wilsons taken over by the Ministry of Food. The mill was soon working around the clock churning out vast quantities of straight feeds such as bran and flaked maize, and mixings for lamb and poultry.

By the mid-1960s, the company finally stopped linseed oil crushing in the face of competition from the development of the “expeller” process. This new technique used higher pressure and more efficient screw presses than Wilson’s old hydraulic plate press. Interestingly, Wilson’s old presses found a new home producing ‘cold pressed’ linseed oil for use in artists’ paints.

State-of-the-art

By the early 1980s, the company had moved to new state-of-the-art facilities in Dundee and were now concentrating purely on the market for working dog feed. At its peak, over 30 tons of product was leaving Wilsons every day, heading for pet shops, farm stores and supermarkets throughout the United Kingdom.

Today, the company produces an expanded range of products to cater for an ever-demanding consumer and continues to innovate within the pet food sector.

We source only the best quality ingredients and produce top quality, appetising foods which a dog needs to maintain health and vitality. It was a philosophy actively embraced by John Wilson, and we are proud to continue that long tradition.

It’s taken a while, but as the saying goes: “The best things in life are worth waiting for”.

John Wilson
An early advertising design from the 1950s
Wilsons’ trade stand during the launch of Cold Pressed products at PATS, Telford