Taylor, Lang & Co
|Successor(s)||Textile Machinery Makers Ltd|
The company was founded in 1852 as a tradesmen's co-operative with twenty-three members. It was originally known locally as 'The Amalgamated Shop'. The name 'Taylor Lang' may have originated in 1859.
Taylor, Lang & Co. was based at the Castle Iron Works on Grosvenor Street, Stalybridge. The founders worked long hours at a reduced wage until the business was well-established and later became known all over the world as Taylor Lang's. The company designed and manufactured cotton spinning machinery, distributing to a global market. In the 1920s it acquired Lord Bros. of Todmorden.
In the recession of the 1930s, Platt Brothers, Howard and Bullough, Brooks and Doxey, Asa Lees, Dobson and Barlow, Joseph Hibbert, John Hetherington and Tweedales and Smalley merged to become Textile Machinery Makers Ltd. Taylor, Lang & Co. was the largest company outside this group, but was acquired in 1936. The individual units continued to trade under their own names until 1970, when they were rationalised into one company, Platt UK Ltd. In 1991, this company became Platt Saco Lowell.
Origins and Early History
Taylor, Lang & Co. was established in April/May 1852, with a capital of £600. The founders were mechanics in Oldham, but worked in their spare time in a co-op grocery shop where they talked over the idea of applying the cooperative approach to engineering. In January 1852 an industrial dispute (known as "The Great Lock Out") in the Manchester and Oldham district engineering industry led to them being thrown out of permanent employment ("locked out"). Consequently, twenty-three of these workmen came together and set up as cooperative machine makers (machinists). The original members were:
- Books (Pattern Maker): James Taylor
- Iron Turners: John Storrs, Samuel Booth, Henry England, William C. Birch, Thomas Cheetham
- Fitters: Andrew Birchall, William Lees, Thomas Rhodes, Martin Scragg, Charles Rothwell, John Lang, James Byrom, Joseph Walter Watts, James Uttley, Joseph Rushton
- Joiners: James Whitehead, James Sutcliffe, Thomas Watson, Jacob Marshall
- Moulders: Thomas Armitage, Samuel Mitchell
- Grinder: Joseph Woolhouse
A reorganisation of the firm took place in 1859, in which seven of the original members withdrew their interests. These members were James Sutcliffe, Thomas Watson, Martin Scragg, James Uttley, Thomas Cheetham, Charles Rothwell and Jacob Marshall. Another original member, Samuel Mitchell, had died prior to 1859.
As of 14 May 1872, Taylor, Lang & Co. became incorporated under the Companies Act of 1862. A Memorandum of Association was completed and signed on 25 April 1872, securing limited liability for the company's members. The capital of the company was declared as £50,000, divided into 5000 shares of £10 each. 700 shares were taken up immediately, by John Lang, 'Brick of Cocker Hill', James Whitehead, Thomas Rhodes, Henry England, Joseph Watts and John Storrs. Notice of the Situation of the Registered Office of Taylor, Lang & Co. Limited was provided as "The Castle Ironworks in Back Grosvenor Street in Stalybridge in the County of Cheshire." The final Charter Agreement was signed on 24 June 1872.
A Special Resolution was passed on 5 August 1887 (confirmed a month later on 2 September), "that One Share be added to each holder of Four Shares in the Capital of the Company."
Another Special Resolution three years later altered Article No.43 of the company's manifesto, stating that "No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting except the declaration of a dividend, unless a quorum of members is present at the time when the Meeting proceeds to business, and that 15 of the Members competent to vote shall constitute a quorum." Another, passed 14 September 1900 (confirmed 5 October), introduced a maximum of six and a minimum of four directors, alongside minor changes to the dating and wording of articles relating to the Annual General Meeting.
A Special Resolution passed 28 November 1934 (confirmed 7 December) led to the devaluing of company shares. It decreed, "That the Capital of the Company be reduced from £50,000, divided into 5,000 shares of £10 each, to £29,350, divided into 4,130 issues shares of £5 each (fully paid up)and 870 unissued shares of £10 each, and that such reduction shall be effected by returning to the Holders of the said 4,130 issued shares capital in excess of the wants of the company to the extent of £5 per share and by reducing the nominal value of each of the said 4,130 shares from £10 to £5." It also stated, "That immediately upon the aforesaid reduction of capital taking effect (a) each of the 4,130 issued shares of £5 each (fully paid up), (b) each of the 870 unissued shares of £10 each be divided into 10 shares of £1 each and (c) the capital of the company be increased from £29,350 (resulting from such reduction) to £50,000 by the creation of 20,650 shares of £1 each." The legal papers from HM Court of Justice, Manchester, confirming the devaluing of shares and including a complete list of shareholders, were completed on 14 February and 1 March 1935.
A letter from Taylor, Lang & Co. to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, sent 27 February 1935, resolved a dispute over certain shares allotted in 1872 and 1887 on a non-monetary basis. The correspondence stated that these shares had previously "always been treated and dealt with as fully paid up shares." A further confirmation of shares was carried out in order to dispense with the settlement of a list of creditors. This document also contains a certificate that reveals Taylor, Lang & Co. Limited had, "by Special Resolution reduced its capital by an Order in the High Court of Justice Chancery Division, Manchester District Registry, bearing date the 11th day of April, 1935."
The Winding-up and Take-over of Taylor Lang & Co.
As the north-west's cotton industry experienced a severe decline during the recession of the 1930s, Platt Brothers, Howard and Bullough, Brooks and Doxey, Asa Lees, Dobson and Barlow, Joseph Hibbert, John Hetherington and Tweedales and Smalley merged to become Textile Machinery Makers Ltd. Taylor, Lang & Co. was the largest company outside this group, but was acquired in 1936. The individual units continued to trade under their own names until the 1970, when they were rationalised into one company called Platt UK Ltd. In 1991 the company name changed to Platt Saco Lowell.
- Declarations/dates relating to takeover
- Notice of Situation of Registered Office (or of any change therein), 22 April 1937 - Registered office of Taylor, Lang & Co. now situated at Union Iron Works, Thomas Street, West Gorton, Manchester.
- Declaration of solvency, 18 June 1937 - Declares "That we have made a full enquiry into the affairs of this Company, and that, having so done, we have formed the opinion that this Company will be able to pay its debts in full within a period, not exceeding twelve months, from the commencement of the winding up."
- Special Resolution; Passed 3 July 1937 - "That Taylor, Lang & Co., Limited be wound up voluntarily."
- Appointment of Liquidator of Taylor, Lang & Co., 3 July 1937 - "I, Wright Cropper, of Union Iron Works, West Gorton, Manchester hereby give you Notice that I have been appointed Liquidator of Taylor, Lang & Co., Limited, by Resolution of the Company dated the third day of July 1937."
- Consent to take the name of an existing company, 6 November 1937 - Name taken by Wright Cropper of Union Iron Works, West Gorton
- Return of the Final Winding-up Meeting of Taylor, Lang & Co., 27 November 1937 - Confirmation of winding-up, signed by liquidator, including liquidators statements of account
- Extraordinary Resolution; Passed 27 November 1937 - "At the Final General Meeting of the Members of the above-named Company, duly convened, and held at 70 Spring Gardens, Manchester, in the County of Lancaster, on the 27th day of November, 1937, the following Extraordinary Resolution was duly passed: "That the books, accounts and documents of the Company be kept a Union Iron Works, West Gorton, Manchester, until 31 December 1940, after which date they may be destroyed. Signed, "W. Cropper, Liquidator."
The final mule order received by Taylor, Lang & Co. was from Broadfield Mills in Heywood, on 12 March 1936, for a mule with just one headstock. This is typical of the scale of orders the company were receiving by that point.
One of the most significant figures in the history of Taylor, Lang & Co. was the mechanic and inventor Edward Buckley. The son of Stalybridge blacksmith Radcliffe Buckley, Edward was born on Brierley Street in the Castle Hall area of the town, on 13 April 1838. He was educated at Thomas Avison's 'People's School', and undertook apprenticeships as a grocer's assistant and wheelwright. He found his calling as a mechanic, learning the trade at Messrs. Broadbent's Machinists. Following a period working as a journeyman, Edward became involved with a newly established firm of machinists in nearby Dukinfield. He was offered the opportunity to eventually become a partner in the company, but the venture proved unsuccessful and was short-lived.
Edward then joined Taylor, Lang & Co., who at that time made carding machines. When the firm stopped manufacturing this line, Edward entered the 'scutcher' (a beating-engine, used to bring floss and refuse silk to a downy condition) department, where he succeeded his supervisor (Thomas Rhodes) as the head of department. His passion and eye for innovation and inventions resulted in a series of design improvements and labour-saving combinations, including the self-acting mule headstock. These advances resulted in the firm's profit and international stature increasing rapidly; Edward was subsequently elected to a seat on the directorate in 1872. The biographer Samuel Hill described Edward Buckley as "somewhat reserved and quiet; in his dealings straight, and perhaps blunt." Hill continued, "Having himself known the difficulties which face the aspiring working man, he needed no imitation to enlighten him as to the qualities of those who came beneath his supervision. Although his success had enriched him in a worldly sense, it made little difference in his bearing and domestic surroundings; pride and show were strangers to his composition."
Edward was also involved in local politics, attaining the position of Town Councillor as a Conservative. Edward died during his term of office on 15 May 1894, having spent his final months struggling to overcome the death of his wife.
- Samuel Hill, Bygone Stalybridge, (1907), pp. 296–299.
- "A short period after the firm had commenced work the owner of the premises, seeing a light burning, visited the works and found one of the masters hard at labour, and at an hour, too, long after every engine had been stopped and every workshop in the town was closed." Cited in Samuel Hill, Bygone Stalybridge (1907).
- Fifteen shillings a week, less than half their previous wage of thirty to fifty shillings, and less than the ten to twenty shillings they might have expected as their 'lock-out' pay.
- "Platt maker of quality textile machinery and parts". Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- "Howard and Bullough, Cotton Machinery Manufacturers". Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- Memorandum of Association, under the Companies Act of 1862, "The objects for which the Company is established are: The purchase of the Machinery, Stock, Tools, Implements, Book Debts and Goodwill of the Machine Shops known as the 'Castle Iron Works' belonging to the firm of Taylor, Lang & Co., situated in Stalybridge in the County of Chester; the acquisition of purchases, leasing or otherwise, of the buildings, offices, storerooms, furnaces, iron foundry, with the steam engines, boilers, gearing, shafting and fixtures therein, hereditaments and premises connected therewith; the acquisition by purchases, leasing, or otherwise, of land and buildings, and the erection on the said land of such buildings and premises as may be necessary for the carrying [out] of the business of Machinists; the purchase of engines, boilers, shafting and machinery for the carrying out of said business; the buying, selling, and importing, and otherwise dealing in iron, steel, timbers and other materials and things; and the doing of all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects." Signed 25 April 1872.
- Signed by Allen Harrison, secretary, on 21 May 1872.
- Special Resolution passed on 7 August 1890, confirmed 29 August 1890.
- Samuel Hill, Bygone Stalybridge, (1907), pp. 299–301.