The general engineering firm of Reid & Hanna was founded in 1816 in Paisley in Scotland. James Donald became a partner in the firm in 1851 and firm incorporated his name. Donald’s younger brother, the shipbuilder William Donald, joined the firm when his previous company, Donald & Co, collapsed and Hanna and Donald acquired their Atlas works in Paisley. The same year saw the company begin a shipbuilding partnership with the Abercorn Shipbuilding Company in Paisley.
In 1870 the business moved its centre of operations to the Abercorn Foundry and Abbey Works in Paisley. Operating from a landlocked site, the shipbuilding department of the company specialised in shallow draught boats for inland waters which were delivered to customers in prefabricated sections and reassembled on site. The company also built high speed naval vessels, including 2 Fervent class destroyers, for the Royal Navy and similar boats for the Greek Navy.
They also offered their services as gas and water engineers, iron founders and bridge and boiler makers. They worked on Waverley Station in Edinburgh, St Enoch Station in Glasgow and the Cumberland & Westmorland Railway in England. They were supplied civil and mechanical engineering services to a wide range of European countries and countries in the British Empire or Commonwealth across the world as far afield as South East Asia, Canada and Australia. Too small to withstand the competition from larger firms, the engineering and shipbuilding companies were wound up in the 1910s, with the last asset, the Abercorn ship yard, sold off in 1920.