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Foden were a key manufacturer of British heavy-duty haulage equipment in the early Twentieth Century, and had a very strong reputation for sturdiness and reliability.


The company of Edwin Foden Sons & Co. was created in 1887 when George Hancock, the founder of Plant & Hancock retired and passed the company on to Edwin Foden (1841-1911). Foden had originally been an apprentice in the company when he was about fifteen or sixteen, and returned to the company at nineteen having taken an apprenticeship at Crewe Railway Works.

Foden produced agricultural traction engines in the 1880s, and when changes in the law in 1896 allowed traction engines of up to 3 tons to travel at low speeds on the roadways without a flagman, Foden developed a series of prototypes culminating in a very successful range of steam lorries.

Breakaway company ERF (Edwin Richard Foden) was set up by Foden ex-employees to manufacture diesel lorries in 1930, and Foden themselves started moving over to the use of diesel engines in 1932.

Latter C20th

Foden introduced fibreglass cabs into their range in 1958, and started producing articulated lorries after 1964. However, it became increasingly difficult for an independent company to survive manufacturing large items when competing with multinational corporations with a wider spread of products and a better ability to absorb financial happenstance. Foden’s financial problems in 1974 were followed by receivership in 1980, and the company was taken over by PACCAR, and from 1998 onwards, Foden only existed as a brandname used on other lorries, which was then finally retired in 2006.


Although Foden lorries were popular, distinctive and easily recognisable, and were a common sight on British roads, that fact that heavy lorries usually didn't usually play a part in fiction, television or film meant that the brand has largely been forgotten. Foden did sell a lot of heavy lorries to the MOD, so Foden's lorry cab designs are probably most recognisable to modern audiences as old army vehicles.

In the 1930's Meccano Ltd. made a range of Foden Dinky Supertoys, but the main names associated with Foden when it comes to toys are arguably Shackleton Toys and Abbey Corinthian, who produced an "engineering" Foden model lorry that could be stripped apart and reassembled. Abbey Corinthian heavily advertised the Foden models in Meccano Magazine for many years, and their Foden model adverts were a long-standing presence in the magazine.

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Media in category ‘Foden’

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