Probably no other branch of American industry has attained to greater supremacy than the manufacture of spool cotton.  Thread-making in the United States dates from the close of the last century (1700's), when the first efforts were made in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.  The thread works are among the largest manufacturing establishments of the country, the largest of which are at Newark, and known by the above name.

The Clark Thread Company was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey State Legislature on March 9, 1865, under the name of the Passaic Thread  Company, naming George A. Clark, Alexander Clark, William Clark, and Thomas Barber as incorporators, with a capital stock of $750,000.00, with power to increase to $1 Million  Dollars, to be divided into shares of $100.00 each.

To George A. Clark, a native of Paisley, Scotland is justly ascribed the  chief credit of having founded the great industrial institution in question.  He came of a family trained in similar pursuits, his ancestors having established a factory at Paisley nearly seventy years ago (1812).  It still exists, and rivals its New World offspring -- for such the Newark factory may properly be termed -- in the vastness of its dimensions and products.  Into the enterprise Mr. Clark infused his remarkable energy, and it was an established success from the very first.  Unfortunately the chief founder did not live to witness the full fruition of his plans, and the perfection to which the works were destined to be brought under the zeal, energy, and skill of those who continued where he suddenly left off.

Mr. Clark started in a rented building on Fulton Street, Newark, and by 1866, he had completed a huge new plant located on several acres in the 8th Ward of Newark, fronting the Passaic River.  By 1870, more than one thousand men and women worked for the Clark Thread Company.  Later when the company opened additional buildings in East Newark, Kearny, and Harrison, it hired thousands more.  The smokestack of the Clark O.N.T. (Our New Thread) mills was for many years the tallest in America.

Upon George A. Clark's death in 1873, his brother William Clark took control of the company.  During this period the Clark Thread Company's employees organized a fully trained and equipped fire-hose company; a Relief Society which paid out nearly $12,000.00 to members in 1876; a successful boat club; and an eighteen piece instrumental band.

Mr. William Clark doubled the size of the existing mills by erecting a spooling factory which measured 160 feet by 82 feet and was four stories high.  On the eastern bank of the Passaic River he purchased a ten acre tract of land and erected additional factories.  Now buildings have been erected on both sides of the Passaic River.  William Clark remained as president of this company until his death in 1902 when his nephew, William Campbell Clark, took control.

William Campbell Clark, also a native of Paisley, Scotland continued to run the company according to the fine examples set by his uncles until his death in 1912.  William Campbell Clark's brother, Kenneth, then took over control of the operations of the company.

The Clark Thread Company of Newark, NJ located at the river-front of Passaic and Clark Streets ceased operations in Newark and was acquired by the Coats Thread Company in 1949.

Thanks to Michelle Groel for her Generous Contribution


  by John T. Cunningham

"Industries of Newark"

"History of Newark, NJ"
  by Joseph Atkinson


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Ken Forbes 1999