80 YEARS OF ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE
Founded in 1937 by Basil Thwaites, the company remains a private family business. Initially an agricultural machine manufacturer, Thwaites recognised the opportunity for construction products following the end of World war two in 1945.
Thwaites designed and manufactured the very first site dumper in 1957 providing a breakthrough design and machine which went on to revolutionise construction sites and become a staple solution to this day.
Basil Thwaites built and established his first workshop in Cubbington, just outside Leamington Spa in Warwickshire. The current factory has been developed extensively, but still stands on that same site some 84 years later.
Driven by the war effort, the need to modernise agricultural machinery and processes combined with the post war, build back better strategy, Thwaites initially manufactured agricultural machinery. This Forage Harvester supported the industry improving farming productivity and effectiveness.
Post war Britain saw the economy boom and demand for new homes grow. Thwaites challenged its design team and engineers to propose mechanical solutions to enable developers and contractors to build more homes. In addition to reducing the physical demands placed on the workforce and to critically improve the safety of builders and bricklayers.
One such product was this builder’s hoist which was developed and became invaluable during the housing boom.
With demand driven by the growing post war economy Thwaites became an established name and significant manufacturer of construction related products. As the business grew a new factory was designed, built and completed, on the same site established by Basil Thwaites in 1937.
As we entered a new decade the modernisation of British construction was gathering pace. Thwaites in consultation with the industry and contractors were pleased and proud to design, manufacture and launch the very first site dumper.
Thwaites first dumper, was a 15 cwt-capacity, two-wheel drive, reverse tip machine that was easy to operate and maintain, the machine was an immediate success.
Design and production moved at pace so following the success of the very first 15 cwt machine the Standard was launched shortly afterwards. This machine became the template for not only future Thwaites designs but the design of every site dumper made since.
In 1955, a significant production decision is made by the business, as it agrees to cease the manufacturing of agricultural machinery. This decision set Thwaites on an exclusive path to the design and manufacture of site dumpers. A decision that has held strong to this day, as Thwaites remain exclusive, specialist, designers and manufactures of site dumpers.
In 1957 Thwaites launched its most iconic machine to date The Tusker. This machine would go on to be recognised the world over and provide thousands of contractors with a larger capacity, more powerful machine that would enable up to 30 cwt of spoil to be safely carried around site.
These first colour images show further images of the Tusker. The Tusker was a huge success and as such options and attachments were designed, manufactured and made available.
These attachments enabled the machine to work in concrete batching, rail and excavation. The most ingenious attachment was a demountable backhoe. The backhoe thus allowed the operator to both operate the machine as a traditional dumper and dig trenches for example.
At the beginning of the sixties, innovation in design and production allowed the launch of the first four-wheel drive articulated dumper, the 2 ton Alldrive.
With more power and drive to both axles, the machine was able to go further and operate in conditions other machines were unable to. This made the Alldrive incredibly popular with operators and owners alike.
By the mid sixties, the 3 ton Alldrive followed becoming the basis for a wide range of articulated four wheel drive dumpers that would arrive on the market thereafter.
As with the 2 ton Alldrive this machine cam with more power and drive to both axles, the machine was able to go further and operate in conditions other machines were unable to. This made the 3 ton Alldrive incredibly popular with operators and owners alike.
Some 10 years later the mid 1970’s saw the arrival of the next generation Alldrive. The 9000 had a 4 ton capacity, with all the dynamic Alldrive features of power and control. The 9000 delivered a unique feature of a swinging rear axle, this articulation gave operators even greater control and manoeuvrability that had yet to be seen in a machine of this size.
Launched at the end of the decade, 1979 saw the launch of a significant new product. Years ahead of its time the 8-ton Goliath, became the first cabbed and largest Thwaites dumper to date.
With major infrastructure projects driving demand for larger site dumpers, this 8 ton machine delivered and provided the product solution that filled the gap between, standard site dumpers and Articulated Dump Trucks (ADT).
In the early 1980’s Thwaites design team had a significant engineering breakthrough, with the invention of the revolutionary ‘Kinglink’. This adaptation was first applied to machines in 1981, the unique link design delivered articulation and oscillation that gave operators even greater control and critically as dumpers became larger a smoother, quality of ride .
In 1984 there was a short break with tradition as Thwaites, for the first time since its founding years, deviated from exclusively manufacturing dumpers and launched a production machine offering an Alldig.
This Compact Backhoe Loader with four wheel drive and hydraulic side-shift clamping, had no relation to the standard dumper. Whilst engineered to Thwaites exacting standards, the product did not achieve the level of success the business had become accustomed to.
In 1986, Thwaites engineered innovation to its gearbox, producing, manufacturing and installing the very first power shuttle transmission on the Alldrive 5 Tonne. A column mounted directional control was added that gave four forward speeds and one reverse.
At the end of the 1980’s the Thwaites Alldrive 6 ton dumper became the first machine to be turbo-charged. This gave addtional power and control when loaded.
This enhancement was a much-copied innovation in the marketplace, and remains an integral part of machines to this date.
Launched at SED in 1993. The Thwaites 3000 Alldrive gave for the first time, via a Perkins engine, the turbo power introduced to the 6-ton and 9-ton dumpers to the compact range of machines.
The machine became a firm favourite with the growing number of UK plant hire companies, driven by the decades growing urban renovation programs and infrastructure investment.
At the turn of the millennium Thwaites expanded its worldwide distribution network.
The quality of manufacture carried via the buy British campaign ensured, as it is today that Thwaites dumpers are available in over 70 countries on 5 continents.
With continued production and customer satisfaction, dumper design was through the 90’s and into the 2000’s driven by legislation and enhanced focus on operator safety, ergonomics and the environment.
In 2017 Thwaites launched a range of 6 ton & 9 ton cabbed dumpers, these dumpers were well received and helped to drive safety standards in the industry.