Claus & Co.

Scope and Content

The records include company minutes for 1906 to 1923, and an interesting unpublished memoir by a former employee describing conditions at the firm.

Administrative / Biographical History

Claus & Co. was a small but successful dye manufacturer in Clayton, Manchester, which was acquired by Levinsteins in 1916. The firm had been set up by William Claus, a Swiss-trained chemist, who went into partnership with Alfred Ree in 1890 to run a chemical works at Droylsden. In 1897, the firm moved its operations to nearby Clayton in east Manchester [it had no direct connection with the nearby Clayton Aniline Co., owned by the Swiss firm CIBA]. Claus primarily manufactured aniline dyes, and was known for its methylene blue dye, although it also made azo dyes. Claus and Co. was consistently profitable and became a limited liability company in 1906 (as Clayton and Co. Ltd). In 1907, Ree retired and Leonard Vlies who had worked as a chemist for the firm became chairman, with Claus remaining as managing director.

During the First World War, the company was a target for the new British Dyes Company, but in 1916 it was purchased for £135,000 by Levinsteins. Under Levinstein's control, the firm continued to innovate with indathrone dyes and other vat dyes. William Claus retired from the board in 1918 and the firm was put into voluntary liquidation in 1923, probably in connection with Herbert Levinstein's departure from the British Dyestuffs Corporation.