The first attempts at improvement cannot be traced farther back than 1723, when a number of landholders formed themselves into a society, under the title of the Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland.
But they came not merely as ascetics, but as improvers.
Robert Maxwell (1695-1765) was the author of Select Transactions of the Society of Improvers and was a great benefactor to Scottish agriculture.
With this object in view, the early improvers of hot-house architecture substituted metal for wood in the construction of the roofs, and for the most part dispensed with back walls; but the conducting power of the metal caused a great irregularity of temperature, which it was found difficult to control; and, notwithstanding the elegance of metallic houses, this circumstance, together with their greater cost, has induced most recent authorities to give the preference to wood.
The Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture, founded in 1723, ceased to exist after the rebellion of 1745, and the introduction of new and improved methods, where not the result of private energy and sagacity, was chiefly due to the Highland and Agricultural Society, established in 1784.