John McNicol joined David Bone & Company at the end of 1913 setting up and electrical repair workshop for electric motors and generators. In 1918 having become a partner in the company, John bought out David Bone and changed the name to John McNicol & Company. At this time the company was based in Bishop Street in Anderston, with the increasing number of customers and volume of work the company relocated to Kyle street in Townhead. At this time a long association to carry out repair work on all electrical machines on all Anchor Line ships developed and continued until the demise of that shipping line many years later.
During the 1920’s with a proportion of the repair business work coming from electrical contracting firms in the west of Scotland indicated an expansion in this type of work, a new department for Contracting and installation was set up. Around this period also it was normal for many companies who used electric motors and generators to have them insured against breakdown. The insurance company would send their inspector to determine whether the repair should be authorised, it was left to the inspector to select the repairer which in many cases was John McNicol & Co. Business growth was generated by reputation and the faith these many inspectors had in the company.
In 1935 the company moved back to Clyde ferry street in Anderston and in 1938 became John McNicol & Co (Electrical Engineers) Ltd.
With the outbreak of war there was a consequential increase in volume of business as the Admiralty joined the other shipping companies in providing a significant part of the company’s work.
Ship repairs still continued following the war as many ships were in need of major refits and post war the repair department continued to find work in many branches of industry and commerce including food, laundries, saw mills, foundries, printing firms, newspapers, universities and colleges.
During the 1950’s the second generation, Ian and Allan McNicol joined the company Ian became involved in the Contracting & installation work and Allan became involved in the repair/rewind department.
At the start of the 1960’s John began to take a lesser part in running the company, there were great changes taking place in Glasgow with the routing of the M8 through the city. The firm was compulsory purchased to allow building of the Kingston Bridge and the company moved to the existing premises in Elliot street in 1965. Shortly after this John McNicol passed away.