James Steel (1792-1891) was a brewer, inventor and councillor.
Steel inherited his father's brewery in Tureen Street, Calton, which he relocated to Greenhead Street in 1853. In 1858 he acquired the Craigend Brewery in Edinburgh and in 1865 took George Coulson as a partner in Steel, Coulson & Co. The partnership was later dissolved due to what the Brewers' Guardian described as "incompatibility of temper on the part of Mr Steel." It was doubtless his fierce temper which prompted a cartoonist to portray him in The Bailie dressed as a savage.
A controversial and opinionated councillor, Steel was the publisher of the ascerbic political journal Steel Drops. He was also a talented mechanical engineer and inventor. Among his inventions were a malt masher (which "changed the whole system of brewing" according to the Brewers' Guardian) and the Steel MacInnes Brake for railway carriages.
Reference: Mitchell Library, 920.04BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
brewers, brewing, councillors, Greenhead Brewery, inventors, mechanical engineers, Steel Drops, Steel, Coulson & Co