FORDER AND COMPANY, LIMITED,
Works: Cleveland Rd., Wolverhampton; Show-rooms: Lichfield
London show-rooms: 7, 8 & 9 Upper St. Martin's Lane, W.C.
For many years past this important and admirably-conducted business has
occupied a position of great distinction in the cab and coach-building
trades, and it may be questioned whether any other firm has ever been
entrusted with so many valuable commissions from those in high places as
have Messrs. Forder. Founded in 1864 by the late Mr. Frederick Forder and
Mr. Traves, the concern has progressed steadily and surely, until now its
reputation is of the highest. Mr. Traves retired from the business in 1866,
which then became known as Forder and Company.
The first distinct success the firm achieved was in connection with a
prize offered by the Society of Arts, for a hansom cab which would remedy
the defects of those then in use in regard to "want of room, the difficulty
of getting in and out, by reason of the interference of large wheels, and
the want of ventilation when the windows are closed." For this there were no
less than sixteen competing firms, including many of the most famous
carriage builders in the United Kingdom. After an exhaustive examination of
the various cabs submitted, however, the prize was awarded to Messrs.
Forder, whose vehicle was and is a distinct advance on those generally in
Their success in the competition was followed by an order from the Prince
of Wales, who had taken a warm interest in the matter, and some little time
later they received a warrant of appointment to H.R.H.. The cab has since
been known as the PATENT ROYAL HANSOM, and it has been the only cab awarded
first-class prizes for three successive years in open competition with the
principal cab builders of the United Kingdom, these being awarded Messrs.
Forder at the London International Exhibition of 1873, when they received a
medal; at Manchester, in 1874, when they received the special and only gold
medal; and again at Manchester, in 1875, when they received the first prize
in the Manchester Cab Competition. The same year saw another and even more
important competition in Alexandra Park, and here again two first-class
prizes and one special prize were awarded to Messrs. Forder, for the Royal
The cab is roomy, well ventilated, and has an easy draught for the horse,
and the success it has achieved is undoubtedly well deserved.
Three years later, however, it was decided to further extend the business
by the issue of fresh capital open to public subscription and this was done
successfully; the same year being marked by the receipt of a warrant of
appointment to the Queen. Mr. Frederick Forder, the founder of the business,
died in 1896, and the present directorate consists of Mr. Charles Forder,
the chairman of the company, who manages the Wolverhampton works; Mr. Alfred
Forder, the London manager, and Mr. Robert Muras, the secretary. The late
Mr. R. Forder and the present members of the family may fairly claim to be
considered experts in the matter of cab manufacture, and leave taken out
several valuable patents, affecting important improvements.
Messrs. Forder, it may be said, are largely responsible for the
rubber-tyred cabs, which have proved such an unqualified success, and which
they induced Lord Shrewsbury to try experimentally on his first hundred
hansoms. They have now a special plant for tyre manufacturing purposes, and
do an enormous business in supplying coach builders with them.
Amongst the hundred of distinguished and prominent people who have from
time to time patronised Messrs. Forder, we may name H.M. the Queen. H.R.H.
the Prince of Wales, the Princess Malakoff (of Paris), Prince Belorselsky
(of St.Petersburg), Prince Orloff, County Henry de Portes (Paris), W. K.
Vanderbilt, Esq., G. A. Vanderbilt, Esq., Andrew Carnegie Esq., of the
U.S.A. of A) and Sir James Sievewright, the President of the Cape
Parliament. These, it should be said, have come to Messrs. Forder, not only
for cabs, but carriages also, which have of late years been made in every
description and with great success.
Messrs. Forder make all their own wheels, springs, and iron work
generally, and at their works opposite the General Hospital, in Cleveland
Road, over a hundred employees are kept busily engaged. The Company have
recently taken some fine showrooms in Lichfield Street, one of the most
important thoroughfares in Wolverhampton.