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History of Baltex

Our History, Over 180 Years of Experience

Baltex are specialist warp knitters and weft knitters, founded in 1831 by two brothers William and Francis Ball in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. They developed new fabrics and registered patents before winning a Gold Medal for innovation at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

In his book ‘The History of Warp Knit Arts’ by Professor Aaron Reisfeld he stated that Baltex is the oldest existing warp-knitting company in the world.

Since that time Baltex has continued this pattern of innovation. We have developed the skills, used to produce pure silk fabrics, to process and knit some of the world's most technical fibres.

Baltex, originally known as W. Ball & Son, has a rich history of innovation and quality that is apparent in the quality of the products we currently produce.

Our History & Development

1805 - Textiles being produced at Burr Lane, Ilkeston. Part of the hugely significant textile industry in the Midlands during this time.

1820's - Company started by William, Thomas and John Ball. They set out to build the innovative and ambitious company that we know today. Each founder had a rich background in textiles and framework knitting which was transferred into the high-quality fabrics and materials they produced - mostly shawls, nets and laces.

1831 - First records of W. Ball & Son.

1843 - Main factory is constructed. This four-storey building is the first large factory of any kind built in Ilkeston.

1851 - Great Exhibition of 1851 – Company wins Gold Medal at the world famous exhibition celebrating industry and culture, held in the Crystal Palace. Baltex fabrics were awarded for their fantastic and useful qualities, alongside other inventions such as the precursor to the fax machine and the world’s first voting machine.

1850s - Further expansion of the factory.

1900s - Described as a manufacturer of Milanese, locknit, fancy tricot and glove fabrics.

1914-18 - Company survives the economic shock of the First World War by digging coal during the energy crisis.

1954 - W. Ball & Son ltd established as a limited company in Derbyshire.

1960 - Company produces first Nomex fabrics and Technical Textiles.

1991 - Company exhibits at Technical Textiles show.

1998 - Acquisition of Wallis Hulse & Co.

2001 - Construction of new factory at Burr Lane.

2006 - Production starts in Poland.

2008 - Acquisition of TTF Ltd – Finishing company in Nottingham.

2008 - Baltex Gedeon – Polish company is established.

2010 - Baltex wins Innovation prize at the World Conference of the Textile Institute.

2013 - Baltex launches 4XD Spacer.

2017 - Baltex launches SARK slash resistant fabric, designed for security, military and police, while also being comfortable to wear.

182 years of experience - baltex

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