waverley story

Waverley Cutting Tools launched in 1977 when John Kelman identified a gap in the market and began trading in Aberdeen.

But the company’s true origins date back to 1893 when John’s grandfather, James Smith Kelman, founded Mechanical Supplies to sell transmission equipment to the marine engineering industry in the north-east.

John led the successful sale of that business in the late 1960s and stayed on as sales director for some years before deciding to go it alone.

His new business grew in tandem with the oil and gas industry and became a distributor first for Iscar Tools, then for global leader Sandvik, and then for Kennametal. All three remain Waverley Cutting Tools suppliers to this day.

In 1987, John wisely decided to lessen Waverley’s dependence on oil and gas, basing one team in Edinburgh and another in Dundee. His son Roger joined the company in 2000 and daughter Kirsty in 2009.

He retired in 2015, leaving sales director Roger and operations director Kirsty, the new co-owners, to take Waverley Cutting Tools into an exciting new era.)

Go back more than 100 years, however, and Waverley’s true origins can be traced to a company called Mechanical Supplies which John’s grandfather, James Smith Kelman, founded in Aberdeen in 1893.

This supplied transmission equipment to the many marine engineering companies dotted up and down the coast of north-east Scotland servicing the then thriving fishing industry.

The company continued trading until the late 1960s when it was sold to a large ironmongers which in turn sold it on to an even larger company. John Kelman became Aberdeen Sales Director, but soon grew weary of internal corporate politics and decided to follow his grandfather’s lead and establish a family business.

The rest is — literally! — history…

waverley timeline
Circa 1893
John’s grandfather, James Smith Kelman, founded Mechanical Supplies to sell transmission equipment to the marine engineering industry in the north-east.
Late 60s
Continued trading until the late 1960s when it was sold to a large ironmongers which in turn sold it on to an even larger company. John Kelman became Aberdeen Sales Director.
1977
Waverley Cutting Tools launched in 1977 when John Kelman identified a gap in the market and began trading in Aberdeen
2000
Roger finished from college and joined the company as a van driver. And worked his way up!
2009
Kirsty, John's daughter, joined the company
2015
New Co-owners Roger and operations director Kirsty, the new co-owners,
2017-2018
Unveiling of the new Waverley website