James Bryson

1853 - 1930

Engineer and inventor. Bryson trained as an engineer at the Vulcan Iron Company in Coatbridge and joined an iron foundry in Larbert, before being appointed General Manager of Pumpherston Oil Works in 1887. He became a Director (1910) and then joint Managing Director (1915) of the Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd. After the amalgamation of the Scottish shale oil companies in 1919, he was appointed General Manager, and later a Director, of Scottish Oils Ltd. He also served on Midlothian County Council.

With William Fraser and James Jones of Pumpherston Oil Company, he patented the Pumpherston or Bryson Retort in 1895, which served to significantly improve the extraction of oil and gas from shale and reduce costs. This retort was used around the world.

He died at his home in Pumpherston.

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