Cover image for Silk and Textiles
Silk and Textiles
Agency Number:
Silk & Textile Printers Pty Ltd, was founded in Sydney in 1939 by Orlando and Claudio Alcorso and Paul Sonnino. They established a factory at Rushcutters Bay and on June 1940 the first printed materials were delivered to customers.
At the end of World War 2, the business was looking for new premises and the Tasmanian Government, under Premier Robert Cosgrove, offered cheap electricity to attract the industry. Silk and Textiles began operations in Tasmania in a disused munitions factory at Derwent Park in 1947. The registered office remained in Sydney.
The factory initially screen-printed raw silk, adding other textiles like cotton along the way. By 1957 spinning and weaving were incorporated into the expanding business to complete the textile manufacturing cycle. 
At its peak the factory employed 1400 people. It provided housing for immigrant workers and adopted a model where workers had representation in the boardroom, a 40 hour working week and access to a profit-sharing system.
There were various company mergers over the years until the combined Universal Textiles was taken over by Dunlop which eventually ended up as part of the Sheridan Company. The plant moved back interstate, the final section relocating in 2002.
Other sources of material - University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection holds Directors' & Shareholders' meetings, May 1941 - May 1952; Museum of Applied Arts and Science, Sydney, holds a Swatchbook of machine screen-printed rayon fabric swatches, 1950s
Information Sources:
"STP Holdings Ltd", March 1965; Silk and Textiles by Alison Alexander, Companion to Tasmanian History
Functions Performed:
Tasmanian businesses
Claudio Alcorso and Family (NG2242)05 Oct 191304 Sep 2000

Kaspar (Charles) Spiegel (NG3726)01 Jan 192729 Jun 2019
Series Created By Agency:
NS6576 Photographs and Diagram01 Jan 196031 Dec 1989

NS6497 Staff Bulletins01 Nov 196531 Dec 1973