William Foster & Co.
William Foster & Co Ltd was an agricultural machinery company based in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England and usually just called "Fosters of Lincoln." The company can be traced back to 1846, when William Foster purchased a flour mill in Lincoln. William Foster then proceeded to start small scale manufacturing of mill machinery and threshing machinery. The mill was converted to an iron foundry by 1856, thus becoming the original Wellington Foundry. During the First World War they built the first tanks for the British Army.
The company was known for producing threshing machines, regarded as among the best available. They also made traction engines, steam tractors such as the Foster Wellington and Showman's road locomotives.
Foster's, as builders of agricultural machinery, were involved in the production and design of the prototype tanks.
After the First World War, The Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors decided that the principal inventors of the tank were Sir William Tritton, managing director of Fosters, and Major Walter Wilson.
An example of one of the first tanks that were used in the First World War is preserved and on display in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. This is a Mark IV. The tanks were described as "Water carriers for Mesopotamia" during production for security.
The firm used the symbol of the tank after the war on other machinery they built as a trade mark.
Gwynnes Invincible Pumps
Gwynnes Limited manufactured centrifugal pumps from the mid 19th century in Hammersmith until acquired by Foster & Co. in 1927. Pump production was moved to Lincoln in 1930 and the company renamed Foster Gwynnes. Pump production ended in Lincoln in 1968.
In 1964 vertical pumps were supplied to the Deeping fen IDB for the pumping station at Pode Hole, where they remain in use.
- History of the tank - General details of development & background
- Marshall, Sons & Co. - Fellow Lincoln firm, and builder of Threshing machines.
- Ruston & Hornsby - Fellow Lincoln Firm, builders of steam engines
- Richard Garrett & Sons - Competitor for Showmans engines.
- Clayton & Shuttleworth - Fellow Lincoln firm and builders of steam engines.
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