A spool of machine embroidery thread from Clark & Co’s Anchor Mills in Paisley

In 1812, brothers James and Patrick Clark opened their first mill producing cotton sewing thread in Paisley, Scotland. The 1860s saw the amalgamation of their mill with those operated by other branches of the Clark family, thus establishing Clark & Co. The Clark Mills became known collectively as Anchor Mills in the 1870s and the anchor was adopted as their now ubiquitous trademark. Clark & Co. Ltd. was incorporated in the United Kingdom in 1880. The Clarks’ thread manufacturing enterprise was greatly boosted by the invention of the sewing machine in 1846 and the creation of the first Singer sewing machine in 1851. George and William Clark, grandsons of James Clark, expanded the family business to the United States and established the Clark Thread Company in Newark, New Jersey in 1864. George Clark succeeded in developing a six-cord thread that was durable and strong enough for sewing machines. It was marketed as Clark’s “Our New Thread” (O.N.T) and proved to be a major breakthrough for the sewing industry. In 1952, Clark Thread Co. merged with J. & P. Coats to form Coats & Clark Inc.

United Kingdom
Object size: H4 x Diameter 3.2 cm
Accession No.
cotton thread, paper
Collection of
National Museum of Singapore
Folklife Collection