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The business was built up by David Davis (1797-1866). It was based on the Aberdare Valley, and a number of collieries were opened south of Aberdare, such as that at Abercwmboi.
1839 Shipped coal at Cardiff.
1843 Davis sank another pit.
During the founder's last years, the family became involved in the early exploitation of the coal reserves of the neighbouring Rhondda Valleys, with the Davis family's operations being concentrated on Ferndale in the Rhondda Fach. Despite the huge loss of life at Ferndale in 1867 he was regarded as a good employer
1866 With his 4 sons, Davis established David Davis and Sons
1867 Announced they had supplied all the coal used by the French Imperial mail steamers to South America
1890 Subsequently became D. Davis and Sons