|Immediate source of acquisition:
This is an artificial collection of small individual deposits of Platt's papers, arranged by sequential numbering in a union list. Many were recovered from Platt's offices by employees and others, after the firm's closure, when many records were reportedly being removed for destruction. Further information about the provenance of individual items may be available.
|Administrative / biographical background:
In 1770, blacksmith Henry Platt was building textile carding machinery in Dobcross, Saddleworth. His grandson Henry was born in 1793 and founded a similar concern in Uppermill in 1815. Five years later Henry junior moved to Oldham, and re-established the business at Huddersfield Road. In 1822 Henry Platt and Elijah Hibbert formed Hibbert and Platt. When Henry's sons Joseph and John joined the firm, it became Hibbert Platt & Sons.
Henry Platt died in 1842, and Elijah Hibbert in 1854. His shares were acquired by the Platt family, the company becoming Platt Brothers & Company. A new factory site in Werneth, Hartford New Works, was first opened in 1844. The company transferred its headquarters there from the "Old Works" in 1868, upon taking limited liability status. John Platt died in 1872, by which time the company employed 7,000 men. It became the largest machine-making firm in the world. During the 1890s an estimated 42% of Oldham's population was supported by the company.
After extensive munitions production in World War One, the company reverted to its traditional products and continued expansion until the 1920s. It became a public company in 1922, a year of record profits. By 1929 the New Works covered 65 acres and employed 12,000 people, producing textile machinery of all kinds for a world-wide market.
In 1931 a controlling interest was acquired in Textile Machinery Makers Ltd, a merged fraternity of textile machinery makers which incorporated the other major Oldham textile machinery manufacturer, Asa Lees & Co. Ltd. The company name was changed to Platt Bros. (Holdings) Ltd.
In 1946, Sir Kenneth Preston, formerly Chairman of J Stone Ltd, was appointed Chairman of Platt Bros. (Holdings) Ltd. At the same time, Platt Bros. (Sales) was created, to control production and marketing. In 1970 Platt International was formed from the companies which constituted the textile division of Stone-Platt Industries. Platt International acquired the Saco-Lowell Corporation in 1973, the company being renamed Platt-Saco-Lowell in 1975. The company premises in Oldham were closed in the early 1980s.