|H I S T O R Y . .|
After serving his apprenticeship in 1784 at Kirkstall Forge, Richard Hattersley set up his own business at Stubbings Mill, Airworth, manufacturing nuts and bolts. The business expanded and diversified into manufacturing spindles and rollers, prompting a move in 1800 to more spacious premises at South Street, Keighley.
Richard's son George came into the business and took over its running. In 1834 he was asked to build a power loom for weaving worsted cloth. Despite the fact that it was generally accepted that good worsted cloth could only be produced on hand looms George was to prove them wrong as he completed the world's first worsted power loom.
The original power loom met its end at Nab Wood, near Shipley, en route to Hattersley's first customer in Bradford where it was smashed by a group of "Luddites" - revolutionary hand loom weavers - fearful of their future livelihood. Not to be deterred by this temporary setback, the company soon manufactured a replacement machine and successfully delivered it to their customer, and it was not long before they went into full time production of their revolutionary looms, ironically creating jobs for many of the former hand loom weavers who had tried so hard to stop their progress at the outset.
In 1867 Goerge Hattersley and Sons created a major breakthrough for the textile industry in the form of the "Dobby", a mechannical heald lifting device which allowed weaving of much more intricate patterns on any looms to which it was fitted. "Hattersley's" continued to prosper with the number of employees peaking to around 1100 just prior to the First World War.
In 1908 Hattersley developed the world's first smallware (or narrow fabric) loom. Despite the fact that this innovation was not taken seriously by the industry, the directors showed their confidence in their own product by buying Cabbage Mills in Keighley, filling it with their own machines and starting the production of tapes and webbings for industry in general.
This venture was an unqualified success, with them working around the clock during the First World War to produce tapes, metal ribbons and webbings for the services. With their continuing overwhelming success it became necessary to move to the current larger premises at Greengate shed in Keighley, to enable them to cope with the expansion of the business.
In 1921 the Hattersley Standard Loom, designed and built by the company, was to sell in its thousands, bringing considerable financial success to the company. In the 1930's progress continued when rayon (man made silk) was invented and Silsden, near Keighley, became recognised universally as being the centre of the rayon fabric manufacturing industry, with all companies involved using the specially developed Hattersley Silk Loom to achieve this end.
Success continued for George Hattersley until the 1960's.
After this point, along with much of the British Textile Industry, the company, despite diversification into other products, was hit by a general decline in trade culminating in the closure of George Hattersley and Sons Textile Engineering factory in 1984. Another statistic of the economic recession.
In August 1967 Hattersley were appointed sole maunfacturers of wicks to world leading paraffin heater manufacturers Aladdin Industries, who eventually became share holders in the company in 1973.
In 1971 the Narrow Fabric unit became a separate division and changed its name to Hattersley (Narrow Fabrics) Ltd, taking with it the same board of directors and shareholders as the parent company. Led by Mr A C "Robin" Smith the enthusiastic work force quickly became established as the country's leading prducers of narrow fabrics for fashion and industrial applications.
In 1987, Tony Woodyatt (who had been with the company since its independence in 1971) took over as Managing Director from Mr Smith who had been regretfully forced into taking early retirement due to illness.
In 1989 Hattersley Narrow Fabrics Ltd celebrated the bicentenary of the founding of George Hattersley and Sons, and with their history of dynamic change, ingenuity and innovation, the company is now looking forward to continued success in the 21st century and hopefully beyond.
Home page . About us
Products . Trading . Contact Us