Report - William Paton Ltd., Johnstone - Documents - Oct 2008

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Mr Boombastic
Regular User
Aug 30, 2008
To copy and paste from the description on my last report:

William Paton Limited was founded at Johnstone in Scotland in 1840 by the twenty-one year old entrepreneur William Paton at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Paton began by meeting the local demand for hemp rope and moved on to the manufacture of cotton rope and a range of tapes. Before laces became the standard shoe fastener, Patons made elastic webbing for boots. Gradually the firm began to concentrate on the manufacture of boot laces before patenting a plaited fabric lace that would ultimately displace the traditional leather product.

The above was taken from - The Punch group bought Paton's in 1990. Paton's mill incorporates part of the very first mill built in Johnstone in 1782, thought to be the first machine factory in the world, predating the New Lanark cotton mill by four years.

This A-listed building now stands empty and rotting after closing in 2003. There are suggestions that it might become a museum or flats.
Returning to a site with someone else is always interesting - especially this time as Rosie has a knack for sniffing out things I've missed. In a small office we found the mother lode - a huge pile of old plans, paperwork and documents going back over a century. We photographed a lot, tidied up a bit, and then explored the rest of the mill again.

First a purchases ledger - there were stacks of these:


A plan of the river and the millrace:


One of the engineers' notebooks:


A lovely big wiring diagram:


An urgent telegram:


Some beautiful blueprints:


A samples book - showing the settings that were programmed into the looms:


A big set of boiler plans:


Some 1905 plans:


Wandering about the rest of the mill:


Found some crates of the mill's products:


Got a good view from the sales offices:


The documentation really would be of interest to a museum or something - interestingly, there was a tie-in to another of my explores, as there was some paperwork from Howden's Engineering, quoting for supplying some turbines.

As usual, there are loads more pictures in my Flickr set.

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