By 1881, John Evans was making knives, iron lasts, presses and other machinery for the shoe trade in his factory on Fancy Walk, Stafford. By the 1890s it had been taken over by Richard Lloyd, soon becoming Lloyd & Yates, and then Lloyd, Yates & Knight by 1894, by which time it had moved to the Globe Works on Stone Road.
In 1905 it had become Yates & Knight and was making screw-cutting tools. In 1917 it was taken over by J.J.H. Lines and was making other precision machine tools, such as cutting wheels and drills.
From 1938 it was known as J.H. Lines Ltd., and though it continued to specialise in tool making, it was till making press knives for the shoe trade shortly after the Second World War.
The company continued to trade from its modest Stone Road site until 2007, when manufacturing was transferred to Mayes and Warwick Ltd of Burntwood, Staffordshire.