In 1811 a miller named Charles Davidson established his own paper mills at Mugiemoss in Aberdeenshire. Initially the mills were used for fulling woollen cloth, beating flax, and grinding fermented tobacco leaf into snuff. Papermaking did not commence until 1821, and this quickly overtook the other activities.
In 1830 Charles’s two sons, William and George, were taken into partnership and the company became styled C. Davidson & Sons.
The company grew and in 1857 a London warehouse was opened. In 1875 the business was incorporated as a limited company, and new warehouses were established in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool.
It was around this time that George Davidson (son of William Davidson) developed and patented an idea for making block bottom paper bags. This development was seen as a tremendous step forward in the packing industry and in 1875 C. Davidson & Sons Ltd. was the largest manufacturer of paper bags in the world, producing over 2 million bags per week.
Such was the success of Davidsons’ bags that no sales persons were necessary. Every few months an advertisement would appear in The Times newspaper that a Davidson family member would be staying at a certain hotel and would be “graciously pleased to receive any potential customers who wished to place orders.”
Other patents were also taken out on new methods of papermaking including the manufacture of Cedar Felt which was made on one of the first twin wire machines in Britain.
In the 1930s C. Davidson & Sons Ltd. diversified into the production of plasterboard and paperboard.
In 1953 the company was taken over by British Plasterboard (now BPB) and the name of the mill at Mugiemoss was later changed to the BPB Paperboard, Davidson Mill. The mill closed in 2005.