Wolseley plc (LSE: WOS) is a global building materials supplier company headquartered near Reading, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest heating and plumbing distributor to the professional market and has approximately 47,000 employees in 25 countries. Its brands include Brossette, Build Center, Ferguson, Pipe Center, Plumb Center and Wolseley.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company Ltd was founded by Irishman Frederick York Wolseley in Sydney, Australia, in 1887. It was the first company to produce a mechanical sheep shearing machine. In 1889 Wolseley transferred his patents to a new company registered in London, because he was unable to find adequate subcontractors to build the parts in Australia.
The future car magnate Herbert Austin joined the company, in Australia, in 1888 and became works manager the following year; he returned to England with Frederick York Wolseley in November 1893 when they moved into a factory in Broad Street, Birmingham, England.