Statement from RG Hardie & Co. on the Company’s History, Products and Trade Marks

One of our advertisers, RG Hardie & Co.Ltd., has issued the following statement after reports concerning their company history, products and trade marks appeared on the internet:

‘Seasoning was a product sold by R.G.Hardie from 1950 to 1966 but the firm’s offering was  considered inferior to the ‘Airtight’ brand sold by James Robertson’s Bagpipes Ltd., Edinburgh. In 1966 James Robertson was acquired by R.G.Hardie and all bagpipe-making machines were transported to Glasgow. Mr Duncan Campbell, an RG Hardie employee since 1962 and also laterally a director of R.G. Hardie & Weatherston Ltd., has provided a signed statement fully recounting the history of this period and later.

airtight_tin-P‘The real reason for the acquisition of James Robertson’s business was to obtain the recipe for ‘Airtight’ seasoning, and from 1966 the product continued to be sold by RG Hardie in the famous tartan tin, the seasoning inside made to Robertson’s original recipe. The product as manufactured and sold by us enjoyed decades of unrivalled sales continuing to this day, and the tartan tin (now plastic bottle) is known worldwide.

‘For years the only person who had the recipe, and who personally made the seasoning, was Bob Hardie, and he jealously guarded the recipe. As the years passed, control of it passed to Duncan Campbell. The company has that original recipe in safe-keeping, and this is the recipe used today.

airtightin plastic bottle‘It was not common practice in the 60s and 70s for companies to trademark or copyright, and ‘Airtight’, R.G.Hardie, Robertson’s were never registered, but ownership was in the public domain and has never been disputed.

‘In 1972 R.G.Hardie also acquired the shop and business of Peter Henderson from the Henderson family. The shop was at 24 Renfrew Street, Glasgow. At the time of acquisition the shop manager was Mr G. Sharp who left the business in April 1971 having founded his own business ‘Kintail’ bagpipemakers. Mr Sharp never worked for R.G.Hardie and never had access to ‘Airtight’ production or recipe.

‘The brand name of Peter Henderson Bagpipes has been owned by R.G.Hardie since 1972 and they have been manufactured in Glasgow since 1868. The 1970s were a boom time for Scottish bagpipes and R.G.Hardie pipes and chanters were played and won championships worldwide. R.G.Hardie did not at that time have sufficient production capacity and sub-contracted some manufacture to Mr Sharp’s ‘Kintail’ – but they never sub-contracted Peter Henderson manufacture.

‘Though Bob Hardie died in 1990, the company that bore his name continued as before for 30 years until 2001 when the Renfrew Street shop was vacated and the company went back to Bishopbriggs north of Glasgow where it had been founded. By this time the fortunes of the company were in decline. On 7th October 2005, after a period of turmoil, R.G.Hardie & Weatherston Ltd. went into liquidation. After negotiations, the trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright of the old company were bought from the liquidator and over the last decade substantial investments have been made to restore R.G.Hardie & Co Ltd to a premier position.

‘Within a short period, after the start of trading in 2006, it came to light that Mr Sharp did not agree with the sale of the assets and trademarks and had set up the following companies:

Peter Henderson (Bagpipes) Ltd. – incorporated 7th December 2005

Robertson’s Airtight Seasoning Company Ltd. – incorporated 13th October 2005

James Robertson Bagpipes Ltd. – incorporated 23 December 2005

‘Peter Henderson Bagpipes Ltd., at the same time, applied for a ‘PH’ stamp from the assay office.
There have followed years of correspondence between R.G.Hardie & Co. Ltd. and, initially, Mr Sharp and later his family, who now own these company names, to try to come to obtain agreement that they should  stop either using or holding our trademarks, but to no avail.

‘‘Airtight’, ‘R.G. Hardie’, ‘Peter Henderson’ and ‘Robertsons’ are all trademarks of R.G. Hardie & Co Ltd. The copyrights, intellectual property rights and trademarks belong to R.G. Hardie & Co Ltd. Prior to 2005 there had never been a product called Robertson’s Original. 

‘Recent comments that have been made on the internet concerning the Airtight seasoning recipe and the infringement therein of our trademarks are contrary to logic and reason.

alastair dunn sig

Alastair Dunn, Managing Director,
R.G. Hardie & Co. Ltd’