RS Clare started in business as a chemist, druggist and dry-salter in 1748, during the dawn of the Industrial Revolution which began in the North West of England. For the first time, wealth was generated from commerce,  a part of the economy from which most land owners were absent unless they had minerals under their land.

From small beginnings provisioning ships in the growing port of Liverpool, Clare began to distil raw turpentine imported from the Carolinas in North America. 50 years later, tar distillation began along with rosin manufacture. Apart from trading tallow as a lubricant, the company focused on tar derivatives – phenols for disinfectant, creosote for wood preservation, naphthalene and road tar.

At the start of the twentieth century, Clare’s ‘Tarco’ became renowned as the most effective dust laying compound and was manufactured for local authorities under licence throughout the country. However, in 1947, nationalisation of the gas works made the production of tar uneconomic so that it was superseded by bitumen. By this time, first ‘Tarcoline’ road paint and then ‘Plastaline’ the world’s first thermoplastic road marking material became the major product lines of the business. Despite being invented in 1933, thermoplastic road marking is still the predominant form of road marking today in UK and beyond.

“The ‘Pursuit of Excellence’ is as important today as when my chemist grandfather used it in our sales literature back in the early 1900’s.”

Ian Meadows, Chairman

Our Focus on Lubricants

Lubricants were developed as a result of the first mineral oil being imported into the Mersey River in 1889, the year that the Meadows and Wilson families bought the company from the remaining members of the Clare family. A whole range of oils and greases were developed with approvals  gained from literally hundreds of engine and gear box manufacturers. The brand name ‘Clargine’  disappeared when the company re-focused on own-brand grease manufacture from 1925. Since then, long-term relationships have been established with a number of Major Oil Companies to manufacturer speciality greases for them.

25 years ago it was decided to re-establish the Clare brand and focus on speciality greases that would solve operational problems, thereby delivering significant benefits and cost savings to clients operating in the Rail and Upstream Oil & Gas sectors. Today, even more than ever before, the company take corporate social responsibility and sustainability very seriously. Waste water recovery, ground source heating and photovoltaic panels are in place to generate renewable energy. In our advanced lubricants, biodegradability is a feature of our advanced lubricant ranges. We manufacture greases that meet the highest standards of marine toxicity in Europe and the USA.




  • We'd like to send you technical information, promotional information and the latest news from RS Clare by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never share this information with other companies.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.