Over 245 Years

Supplying nets & yarn

W & J Knox Ltd was first established when the Knox family set up a small textile mill in Kilbirnie to spin the locally-grown flax fibre and to manufacture linen thread.  It was first registered as a company in 1778 then subsequently named W & J Knox in the 1800s by the sons of the founder.

Two centuries later, Knox is still based in the same Ayrshire town, with the Norwegian Selstad Group a majority shareholder since 2021.

Company History

The Knox family was involved with the company for the first 200 years, with ownership passing through the generations, and agents being set up all over the world. Hearsay places an agent in New Zealand only 10 years after Captain Cook’s discovery, and written records show trade agreements in place in the early 1800s in Canada. Cosalt plc purchased the company from Linndustries in the 1970s, with an MBO passing ownership to the local management team from 2004-21. Norwegian company Selstad has been the majority shareholder since 2021.

Net History – Diversification

We believe it’s the fact that Knox has continually moved on and embraced other markets and products that is the reason the company is still in existence after so many years. The early family business spun flax fibre and became well-known worldwide for linen thread, and a vast range of twines. Trawls were produced for over one hundred years for traditional fishing, by hand from natural fibres, then by machine, with Knox becoming deeply involved in the manufacture of knotless Raschel nets for aquaculture in the early 1970s. This new century has seen the business further diversify, entering into a manufacturing partnership with Garware Technical Fibres Ltd and actively developing new netting and associated products.

Here's to the next 100 years.