David’s two sons, James (originally a veterinarian) and David both became blacksmiths and decided to leave country blacksmithing and develop agricultural engineering at Whitehills in Forfar.
The repair of implements took up most of their time with an increasing demand on sheet metal products such as Potato Baggers and Fodder Wagons.
George Ritchie (David’s youngest son), who went to St. Andrew’s University to study medicine, joined the RAF upon the start of the Second World War and was then subsequently persuaded to join the family business.
First product catalogue published. With the war now over, more emphasis was put on manufacturing new implements than repair. The product range at this time included tractor carts, end or side tipping, stack bosses, knife sharpening stands, oil tanks, lime spreaders, corn bins, water troughs and sheep dippers, many of these being novel products for the time. All of the non local deliveries were made by the railways leaving from Forfar Station.
As a strategic move to address the so called ‘Beeching Cuts’ of the railway networks, Ritchie’s first delivery truck was introduced and covered the whole of the UK! A door to door service was then available to the customers, which was so successful that a second vehicle was added by the spring of 1966.
Land at Suttieside Farm purchased from Forfar Town Council. Originally developed as a storage site for finished products, the first factory was built by 1973 for fabrication work only.
At this time the product range continued to broaden with the introduction of bale handling equipment. This was a necessary development as having been predominantly in the livestock sector, a quieter summer season was experienced due to the seasonality of the livestock product range.
Under the Conservative government, the UK entered the ‘Common Market’ by signing the ‘Treaty of Rome’. This sent the Agriculture industry into a volatile state and forced the company to look at alternative markets.
The 'Burke' trophy was awarded to Ritchie at the Royal Show, Stoneleigh, for the 'Transfer Weight Bale Transporter'. This machine revolutionised bale handling and was instrumental in the continued success of the business. Other Ritchie agricultural products have been recognised by various show societies with 'awards of merit' and silver medals being presented.
By the early 1990s Ritchie ingenuity had advanced enabled the company to become the leading supplier of gas handling equipment in the UK.
Additional ground was purchased at Forfar both in 1990 and 1995 totalling approximately 7 acres to allow for further expansion.
Forfar Galvanisers Ltd was established with a state of the art plant being constructed at the Suttieside site.
The company opened a facility in the West Midlands specifically designed to manufacture lower cost agricultural products close to one of the significant market centres and raw material suppliers.
Today Ritchie employ over 140 people between the Forfar and West Midlands factories manufacturing and supplying equipment around the world.