The workers appear engaged in some kind of distillation process. John Sandeman was an oil refiner and rosin distiller at the Ruchill Oil Works in Murano Street, but not till 1883. Of the various chemically related industries in Maryhill, several would have been operative when Adam did his panel. The Glasgow Lead and Colour Works of Alexander Fergusson dates from 1874 and was on both sides of Ruchill Street, with a wharf to the canal. Two years later the Glasgow Rubber Works was built at Shuna Street for George Maclellan and Co., and it made asbestos as well as rubber products.
The latter factory worked into the 1990s, and has recently been flattened for housing. In addition Walls and Co. had a paraffin refinery in Lochburn Road, and this might be the source.