Over 240 Years

Supplying nets & yarn

W & J Knox Ltd was first established 240 years ago 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, and is now owned by the local management team, following an MBO from Cosalt plc in 2004.

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 ownership passing to the local management team in 2004, following an MBO.

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. For many years, the company also processed carpet yarn, and this business continues on our site under separate ownership. 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. The business has further diversified in the last decade, with a partnership with Indian company, Garware-Wall Ropes, and the active development of new netting products.

Here's to the next 100 years.