Thread Mills, The History of Paisley's Thread Mills, Amalgamation


By the end of the 19th century, Clarks and Coats were both huge business concerns. To illustrate, when Coats floated as a public company in 1890, it did so with a capital base of £5,750,000, while its annual profits were over £400,000. Following the death of John Clark of Clark & Co in 1896 there were no barriers to any potential takeover of the Clark business, and J & P Coats amalgamated with Clark & Co, as well as other businesses in England and the USA. This new company had its headquarters in Glasgow, and upon flotation had a market value in the region of £22 million, with roughly 25,000 shareholders. This was one of the world’s first truly global companies, employing around 21,000 people worldwide, 11,000 of whom were based in the UK. After the merger, J & P Coats was one of the five largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange at this time.  The merger was a natural consequence of businesses that had been for some years moving closer together. In 1889, Coats had set up the ‘Sewing Cotton Agency’, later changed to ‘The Central Agency’, in order to manage international prices and sales, and this Agency eventually came to manage the sales of Clark & Co and Coats’ other competitors. One of the main benefits of this collaboration was that it halved distribution and manufacturing costs. The main outcome of the 1896 merger was that J & P Coats was able to assert its interests both domestically and internationally in a way that it had hitherto been unable to. Despite the merger, each company retained their own names and trademarks, which helped to avoid confusion in the different markets where they operated


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Strathclyde Oral History Centre

Working with heritage professionals from the Scottish Oral History Centre, University of Strathclyde, the Paisley People’s Archive is creating an accessible and user-friendly oral history archive of Paisley's rich industrial past.
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