Clark, George Aitken
(1823–1873), manufacturer and philanthropist, was the son of John Clark,
thread manufacturer, Paisley, where he was born on 9 Aug. 1823. He was
educated at the Paisley grammar school, and while still a lad was in
1840 sent across the Atlantic to enter the firm of Kerr & Co. at
Hamilton, Ontario. On reaching manhood he returned to Paisley, and
entered into partnership with Messrs. Robert and John Ronald,
shawlmakers, under the name of Ronald & Clark. In 1851 he relinquished
the partnership to enter into company with his brother-in-law, Mr.
Robert Kerr, as a thread manufacturer. With a view to extend the
business he went in 1856 to the United States, and, finding that they
were much hampered by the high protective duties, the firm in 1864
resolved to establish a branch factory at Newark, New Jersey. The
enterprise met with great success, and Clark's O.N.T. spool cotton soon
became a widely recognised American manufacture. In 1866 the firm
amalgamated with the original firm of Clark under the name of Clark &
Co., with an anchor as their trade-mark. Clark died at Newark on 13 Feb.
1873. By his will he left 20,000l. to found four scholarships of 300l. a
year each, tenable for three years, at Glasgow University, and 20,000l.
to build a town hall in Paisley. The firm of Clark & Co. subscribed
40,000l. additional for the latter purpose, and the building styled the
‘George A. Clark Town Hall’ was opened in 1882.