A small window-glass business which was started in the mid-1820s by William and Richard Pilkington in the Lancashire coal town of St Helens was, within 50 years, to emerge as Britain's leading manufacturer of flat glass. Throughout the 20th century Pilkington has consistently combined new methods of production, the ability to attract skilled glassmakers, and shrewd strategic management, to become a world leader in the industry. This is a history of the company. The author grew up in St Helens and was the co-author of A Merseyside Town in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1900 , published in 1954. His other books include The History of London Transport .