HORSBURGH AND SCOTT CO. produces gears and industrial transmissions and has prospered over a century of operation. Founded in 1886 by millwrights Frank Horsburgh and Thos. Scott, the company operated a machine shop at 108 Canal St. producing wire trolley switchovers, wire connectors, and allied parts for local streetcar companies. After Scott left the firm in 1899, the company incorporated as the Horsburgh & Scott Co. in 1903 and was operated by Horsburgh until his death in 1933 at age 79. In 1903 the firm moved from Canal St. to 5114 Hamilton Ave. with 20 employees and almost 6,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space. As business grew, new buildings were built in 1913 and 1924. Horburgh's sons, Robt. G. and Thos. P., guided the firm through the Depression and World War II manufacturing gears and gear drives for heavy industry, especially steel mills.
After the war, the company developed new products and services, found new markets, and met the growing demand for industrial gearing. Plant size increased 6 times to 400,000 sq. ft., with the most modern gear-cutting and heat-treating equipment. Sales reached $50 million in 1982 after a boom created by the 1974 oil embargo, but during the 1980s, the firm was adversely affected by the growing obsolescence of the American steel industry and foreign competition. New Horsburgh management transferred company ownership from shareholders to an employee retirement trust that owned 77% of the company in 1986, although ownership returned to members of the 4th generation of the Horsburgh family in 1990, where it remained in 1995.