William Foster and Co Ltd
The firm of William Foster and Co, in 1856 was small flour-milling business, converted its flour-mill works to an engineering establishment. and made grinding mill and agricultural equipment.
Fosters built their first portable steam engine in 1858 and by 1861 were employing 80 men. In 1871 they were Agricultural and General Engine and Machine Makers employing 68 men and 41 boys
William Foster died of typhoid in 1876 and shortly after the firm became a limited liability company.
In 1899 a new factory, the Wellington Foundry, was erected at New Boultham, to which the business was transferred. During World War I the works were fully occupied on munitions.
Fosters will always be remembered for their work in designing and building the first military tank. William Tritton, later Sir William, and Major W G Wilson conceived the idea.
With the end of hostilities Fosters went into production of road steam rollers, 60 of which were made by the end of production in 1933.
In 1927 a new company was formed, Gwynnes Pumps, to acquire the Hammersmith Iron Works of Gwynnes Engineering Co which was in liquidation. The manufacturing was later moved to Lincoln.
Fosters made their last traction engine in 1942, possibly the last one made in the UK.
W Foster & Co and Gwynnes Pumps was acquired by W H Allen Sons & Co in 1961
Gwynnes Pumps were renamed Allen Gwynnes Pumps in 1963, the Lincoln operation closed in 1978.