Ralph Yates & Sons was founded in 1845 by Ralph Yates, who moved from Leeds to Malton with less than £5 in his pocket. Ralph Yates set up the Derwent Foundry in Railway Street which in those days was known as Water Lane. The Blacksmith and Foundry business quickly grew, and this prompted expansions for the store into agricultural machinery manufacture. In 1895 the current shop was built as a warehouse with space to keep and display all the Iron Moulds until they were required at the foundry.
Throughout the 20th century, the business grew and worked very closely with the farming community which was, and continues to be, a major part of the local economy. From the early 1960's the company gradually moved the emphasis of its business away from manufacture and over to retail.
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