“Its profile form enables its being easily ground, thus obviating the smith’s time. The savings in weight of the various profiles averages 50%. The greatest appreciation has been shown by engineers during the past six months from the fact that the sales in this special line have increased 300%, which is indicative of good business in the future when more is known about the advantages of profiles.”
Begbie also represented Messrs Davidson & Co of Belfast, makers of Sirocco fans for mine and building ventilation. This fan apparently had a good reputation overseas and was adopted as a great success by many of the early mines, including De Beers Consolidated Company, Kimberley; De Beers Dynamite factory, Cape Town; the Vereeniging Estates Collieries; and many other leading producers of the day.
Gradually, as it had so many times before, Thos Begbie expanded: a machine shop was added, then a bronze foundry, pattern shop, drawing office and a boiler shop.
During 1905, Thomas Begbie decided to sell the entire business to Messrs E W Tarry & Co. Thomas Begbie had decided upon a fresh course; to open a new business in the town of Middelburg, in the Eastern Transvaal. The business was incorporated, in 1907, as a company in terms of the (then) New Companies Act as Thos Begbie & Co (Pty) Limited.
Folklore has it that Paul Kruger banished Thomas Begbie from Johannesburg to an area 100 miles East of Johannesburg, which points to Middelburg. Some say the reason was more economic, others have the theory that there was a restraint agreement with EW Tarry. More probable was that Thomas Begbie held the view that Middelburg was well positioned to service the goldfields of Lydenburg and those on the Reef.
Whatever the reason, little could he have guessed of the coal mining and power generation developments that would take place in the region?