Thomas Lansford Foster Biography-1

Thomas L. Foster: Philadelphia Businessman

Thomas Lansford Foster (1894-1956) was a member of a distinguished Pennsylvania family dating back to the early 1700s; his great grandfather, Asa Lansford Foster, was a pioneer in the anthracite coal industry.

Thomas was born and raised in Philadelphia, and graduated in 1917 with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the Army, and served with Base Hospital No. 38 in France until 1919. Thomas then began his lifelong career with Baldwin Locomotive Works; by the 1940s, he was their manager of export sales.

Foster was elected President of the Foreign Traders Association of Philadelphia in 1948. The Association’s mission was to “promote, foster, and encourage international commerce and economic growth”, which was critically important in the post-WW2 environment.  At the completion of his term, Foster was presented with an elegant 10k gold Hamilton dress watch (the “Dennis” model), engraved, “Thomas L. Foster ~ President ~ Foreign Traders Ass’n of Phila., Inc. ~ 1948”.

September 2020 – Watch returned to Foster family:  Through Thomas Foster’s Ancestry.com genealogy, I contacted Thomas' grandson Neill Thompson.  He was not aware of his watch, but was thrilled to have it returned to his family.  Neill believes the watch was inherited by Thomas’ son (Thomas L. Foster Jr.), and then may have inadvertently been sold as part of an estate sale many years ago.