Thomas started his own shipbuilding yard at Meadowside, Partick at the mouth of the river Kelvin in 1853 and in 1856 moved to Rutherglen. Seath built, owned and even operated the small steamer ‘Artizan’, which had pioneering engine controls on the bridge, between Rutherglen and
Glasgow. He designed and built the first of six of what were to become known as ‘Cluthas’, small steamships of shallow draft marine omnibuses that ferried workmen up and down river. The age of the ‘Clutha’ came to an end at the turn of the century with the construction of the Glasgow subway and the world’s largest tramway network. Seath built steamships for Loch Lomond and Loch
Seath built steamships for Loch Lomond and Loch Maree, Windermere and Ullswater. He also provided luxurious steam yachts, most notably ‘The Fairy’ for the King of Burma and the ‘Little Eastern’ for the King of Siam, both commissioned in 1872. Almost all of the ships he produced were iron-hulled and this proved to be a factor in their longevity. Thomas Bollen Seath was
a major influence in the design and production of high quality small ships which were renowned world wide.
Unfortunately the shipyard that he leased for 47 years from Rutherglen Corporation finally closed when access to the sea was closed off by a weir at Glasgow Green. By then Seath had built over 300 ships, an average of one every eight weeks. This output included the paddle steamer ‘Isle of Arran’.