IFG Drake Company History

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IFG Drake has roots dating back to the 19th century when the Drighlington site was run by the Slack family, who owned Plasticisers, and the Pearson Brothers, who owned F. Drake Fibres were indentured to the Victoria Mills. Since then discoveries in machinery, patent expiries and the merging of the two companies in 2000 have lead IFG Drake to be a global leader for the supply of fibre and yarns in a range of industries.

1850 – 1890: Most of the machines in 1850 were steam powered and the Victoria Mills site was an ideal place for this due to it being an extensive mill. During this period, the Slack family were using horse hair to create woven cloth, violin bows and brushes, and Pearson Brothers had become an established company with assets totalling £105,000.

1890 – 1930: By 1896 the Pearson Brothers had developed their business to make becoming a limited company worthwhile and soon after, expanded their Victoria Mills premises to accommodate 9000 spindles and 82 looms. This was worthwhile because during the outbreak of WW1 textile businesses benefitted from soldier uniform production.

1930 – 1970: Ezra Slack visited Germany and saw new processes for splitting horse hairs to make paint brushes. Slack ordered a flagging machine and a mixing machine, however, due to the outbreak of WW2 the mixing machine never arrived. Under Winston Churchill’s order, a similar machine was built, allowing the Drighlington site to begin manufacturing horse hair paint brushes.

1970’s: Polypropylene was first produced at Victoria Mills in 1973 and during this time business boomed at the Drighlington site when a patent held in Italy expired, allowing the Slacks to enter the market of coloured polypropylene carpet fibres.

IFG Drake have since developed a unique colour matching system to allow virtually any shade to be matched within 24 hours which has been a contributing factor in leading IFG Drake to being Britain’s leading polypropylene fibre producer and the most technically advanced in Europe.

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