John Wishart bought an acre of land at the east end of Kirkton of Largo to set up a market garden. Meanwhile, Thomas began a joinery apprenticeship at Strathairly. From a young age Thomas demonstrated a flair for engineering. At the age of 16 he had exhibited a design for a steam engine at Dundee Industrial Exhibition. In 1890 he patented a design for an improved speed regulating governor attachment for a steam engine. At the time of the 1891 census, Thomas was living with his parents and working as a joiner.
In 1896 he married Sarah Lee whom he met at Strathairly where she was a domestic servant. The same year Thomas's father John died. Around this time Thomas began to manufacture cycles at the Upper Largo site and, by the census of 1901, he was described as a 'cycle maker and electric bell fitter'. He was living with wife Sarah and their two sons (John and James - named after their two grandfathers). The advert above from 1904 details that types of services offered by the business.
Outside of work, Thomas was an avid curler. With his expert input, the curling pond behind the Simpson Institute was lit in 1905, using electricity generated by an engine he had specially adapted (see 29 Dec East of Fife Record piece below).
All evidence points to the photograph below (from 'Victorian and Edwardian Fife' by Lamont-Brown and Adamson) being Wishart's shop and workshop. The image captioned 'Largo's first car' shows a very early motor car. In the shop window are the cycles that Wishart was known to make (one model being named 'The Largo'). There is an advert for 'Shanks Lawnmowers' below the window on the right of the photo and Wishart supplied and fixed such lawnmowers. It also looks like his late father's market garden (including greenhouse) in the background. Could the image show Wishart standing next to a customer?
Thomas Wishart was also the Secretary of the Largo Brass Band before the First World War. In the previous post, mention was made of how Wishart drove around the streets of the Parish advertising a bazaar in aid of the band in 1909. The article below from the 21 October East of Fife Record tells us a bit more about the car in question. Wishart had rebuilt an old Decauville car - making it more powerful, adding new features and causing "quite a sensation".
In 1911 Thomas described himself as a 'Motor cycle engineer'. Around this time he joined Largo Parish Council. In 1915, aged 44, Thomas enlisted for the Great War effort becoming an electrician in the Army Service Corps. He spent time in France and became a Sergeant in 1918. When the war ended, Thomas was part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. While in Cologne in 1920 he was a passenger in a motor accident which resulted in two months in hospital and ultimately an end to his military career.
He returned to Largo and continued to work as a motor engineer. The business was now styled 'Wishart & Sons', with both sons following in their father's footsteps. Thomas also continued to invent - including the 'Wizard wringer' attachment for laundry, a special trolley for moving pianos and the 'Wizard carburettor'. He also resumed his hobbies including the Curling Club and the Brass Band. In 1928, Thomas was president of Largo Brass Band and both of his sons were members. Sadly, Thomas's younger son, James (who had six years army service during and after the Great War) died in 1927 aged just 28. Elder son, John went on to become a chief electrical engineer and was pictured in the Courier of 6 November 1928 when he took up a new position at Inveresk Paper Works (see image at the foot of this post). He lived until 1982.
Sarah Wishart died in Largo in 1934 aged 67. Thomas Graham Wishart died 26 August 1960 in Collessie aged 89.