History

History 2017-05-03T14:37:57+00:00
  • In 1911 Sam Weller Senior started his company selling Cotton fabrics, including decatising wrappers, and Dundee Jute products.
  • In the late 1940’s decatising wrappers became the main product, initially woven on commission.
  • In 1952 Weller established its own weaving company based in Liverpool (where the cotton industry was centralised). Later this was relocated to first Bradford and then Holmfirth – close to the Huddersfield fine worsted customer base.
  • The Looms at that time were only able to weave 180 or 200 picks/inch, at the rate of 36yds per 40 hr week.
  • Wrappers were exported all over the world, but the USA market was dominant – taking between 50% to 70% of production.
  • A special G1 Quality wrapper was developed for the machine maker Gessner, who produced the open type of machines. Introducing lengths up to 1500yds (1372ms) and light weight wrappers to allow the steam to pass through the whole package evenly.
  • At the end of the 50’s the imposition of large import duties on Cotton goods entering the USA killed this trade.
  • The UK, Australia and countries throughout South America, Southern Africa and Europe became key markets.
  • In the early 1960’s a partnership with a German importer (since turned competitor) grew the business significantly and led to the development of new wrapper qualities.
  • The development of the Autoclave Decatising machine around  1961/62, primarily by Sellers of Huddersfield and additionally  German and Italian machine makers, introduced higher temperatures, up to 130°C, reducing the life of wrappers by over 50%.
  • Working alongside Sellers, and selected spinners, Sam Weller developed wrappers made of Cotton/Polyamide blends. At the time the yarns were hard to produce but they enabled wrappers to last 2 to 3 times longer.
  • The trend for fabrics to become finer and lighter in weight meant wrappers also had to become finer, so that Moiré and wrapper marks did not occur on the fabrics. Eventually different qualities of wrappers Satin (Sateen), raised Satin and Molleton were produced to vary the finish of the fabrics being processed.
  • From the mid 1980’s autoclave decatising machines began increasing in size, requiring wrappers to increase from 180/200m up to 480m. Fortunately weaving speeds were improving – up to 150m per 96 hour week.
  • The mid 1980’s also saw the 3rd generation of the Weller family take over the running of the company and the diversification into other specialist industrial fabrics.
  • One main development was the area of base fabrics for rubberising and coating, again these required high pick densities and virtually fault free weaving.
  • The importance of preparation and pre-stretching base fabrics led to the acquisition of a finishing business, and its later relocation to Holmfirth. This also enabled the in-house bleaching of decatising wrappers.
  • Diversification continued with entry into weaving for composite materials and the introduction of manufacturing of World leading quality control materials for SDC Enterprises (the trading company of the Society of Dyers and Colourists).
  • In 2016 Wellers was acquired by Enterprises, but retains its separate identity
  • The wrapper business continues to require longer wrappers, some up 1500m long, whilst weaving speeds, to maintain the high pick density and fault free weaving, have only increased to around 200m per 96 hours, yet it remains a key part of the Wellers business.
  • With significant re-investment from Enterprises, and many new partners with niche fabric requirements, Wellers continues to grow and enhance its reputation as Specialist Weavers.