Three makers have left autographed chairs, John McMath, J.K.Black and Hugh Shields. There were obviously other makers and apprentices over the century but their names can only be guessed.

John McMath
John McMath was born in Darvel in 1797. His father was a cooper and his grandfather was a wright from the neighbouring village of Galston. This is an old Scottish term for 'a worker in wood' or 'maker' which gradually went out of use toward the end of the 18C. John McMath lived in West Main Street, and carrying on the family tradition of working in wood, produced chairs, and other pieces of furniture all his life. In the census returns in the later part of the century he calls himself a cabinet- maker.

J.K. Black

J.K.Black does not feature in any of the returns in Darvel [from 1840] and as the only chair bearing his stamp is almost identical to early McMath chairs, we can only assume he started work with McMath and died or left the area before 1840.

Details of the leg and arm pillar sections
of a chair by J.K.Black.

Hugh Shields
Hugh Shields was an InnKeeper and Cabinet Maker in Newmilns, the neighbouring village. It was he who having trained with McMath was to be the main follower of the Victorian fashion for ornate mouldings and turnings.

A childs size Darvel Chair by Hugh Sheilds.
Original known makers of the Darvel Chair

A Bobbin Chair
by John McMath.

John McMath in 1850.