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Innovative British engineers revolutionised the cotton industry in the 18th century: the spinning jenny (1764) by James Hargreaves, the throstle or roll-drawing machine (1769) by Sir Richard Arkwright, and the spinning mule (1779) by Samuel Crompton. The jenny enabled the spinning of a number of threads at one time, and the throstle incorporated a system of rollers to stretch out the rovings.

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In the mule, the spindles were set in a travelling frame to reduce the strain of the process of spinning by rollers, thus producing finer yarns. Although these processes are now obsolete the general principles of cotton spinning today are much the same, involving the process of opening, carding and combing, drawing, roving, and spinning.

Against the backdrop of increasing 18th and 19th Century industrialisation the Platt family began to manufacture machinery for the woollen industry from a small workshop at Nicker Brow, Dobcross Saddleworth Lancashire. By 1821 Henry Platt had

established himself in Oldham, Lancashire, as a manufacturer of cotton spinning machinery.  In subsequent partnership with Elijah Hibbert founded Hibbert , Platt & Sons which developed from an assembler of parts manufactured by other suppliers to a fully integrated manufacturer in its own right. In 1854 the company changed its name to Platt Brothers and Company and began to manufacture looms mainly for export. In1868 the company became a limited liability company under the chairmanship of John Platt. Platt Brothers were at the forefront of technological innovation and their plant in Oldham was highly mechanised of its kind and employed 15,000 people. Platt systematically improved the technique of cotton spinning and perfected the carding machine, the roving frame and the self-acting mule. Platt’s mules were unrivalled in their length and speed of operation, and in productivity.

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In 1879 Platts reached its highest recorded levels of power loom production and it’s export of spinning machines. By 1896 Platt began to face increased competition from from Howard and Bullough of Accrington and Tweedale and Smalley of Rochdale, Dobson and Barlow of Bolton, and Asa Lees of Oldham. The Edwardian boom saw Platt reach its peak levels of production when the average length of new mules ordered from the firm reached 1274 spindles. Platt Brothers also supplied plans for mills as well as machinery and fitters to construct the machines, both at home and abroad.

The 1920s and 30s heralded a slump in textile machinery manufacture and Platt Brothers began to lose money, prices for the few orders of machinery were driven down and would have ultimately resulted in putting one or more of these companies out of business had it continued.

In order to avert the bankruptcy of Platts their bankers appointed Sir Walter Preston as Chairman of the Board and it was he who subsequently proposed a merger of Lancashire textile manufacturers known as Textile Machinery Makers Ltd.. Platt Brothers, Howard and Bullough, Brooks and Doxey, Asa Lees, Dobson and Barlow, Joseph Hibbertand John Hetherington sold their textile machinery making assets to TMM in return for shares. Tweedales and Smalley were not initially not partners of the TMM scheme which was completed in 1931, but they joined subsequently.

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Since the original mergers of the 1930’s the constituent companies which formed the Textile Machinery Division of Stone-Platt Industries traded under their separate names. However during the late1960s the company recognised that textile technology was in a state of rapid change, and the previous clear cut divisions between the processing of different raw materials had largely vanished. Also it was not logical for these companies to operate separately as a multiplicity of units, R&D, manufacturing, marketing and sales needed rationalisation. Consequently a new company was formed in 1970, Platt International.


Engineering plants carrying the Platt name have been in existence within Lancashire and Yorkshire since Henry’s company was originally formed, such companies as Platt International and Platt-Saco Lowell. The large number of Platt and Saco Lowell machines operating today is testimony to the excellence of the original design. Platt UK Ltd is the successor to all other Platt companies

A constant  dedication to innovation and the supply of reliable, quality machines and spares, has always been our prime objective

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