The Platt Brothers
The Platt Brothers were a textile machinery company founded in 1770 by Henry Platt.
The company based in Werneth, Oldham became the largest textile machinery manufacturer in the world, and by the end of the 19th century, it was employing more than 12,000 workers.
Henry Platt was a blacksmith who was manufacturing carding equipment in 1770. His grandson, also called Henry, founded a similar business in Uppermill.
In 1920, Henry formed a partnership with Elijah Hibbert (Hibbert and Platt) and moved to Huddersfield Road. The company was later renamed to Hibbert Platt and Sons when his sons Joseph and John joined the company.
When Henry Platt died in 1842 and Elijah Hibbert in 1854, all the shares went to the Platt family and the company became Platt Brothers & Company.
They moved their headquarters from the ‘Old Works’ to the ‘New Works’ in 1868. In 1872 the company employed 7,000 men and had become the World’s Largest Textile Machinery Manufacturer. It was estimated by 1890 that the Works supported almost half of Oldham’s population.
The company began producing munitions during World War I and resumed textile machinery manufacturing afterwards.
In 1929 the Platt Brothers paid £100,000 for the patent rights for an innovative automatic weaving loom designed by Sakichi Toyoda. Toyoda was the founder of the Toyota company, and the money from the sale of the rights provided the start-up capital for the Toyota automobile endeavour. Toyota would later become, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers.
After a slow decline in the cotton industry, the company closed its factory in 1982.