King Dick Abingdon

August 22, 2016

Abingdon High Street
I sometimes look at images of Abingdon from Ebay where postcards and other collectibles are for sale. Very occasionally I will buy a vintage postcard.

Search for ‘Abingdon’ on Ebay and you will also find: MG memorabilia, Abingdon Town Football programmes and badges, Abingdon vases, and books produced by the Abingdon Press.
King Dick of Abingdon
There are also a lot of King Dick Abingdon spanners and wrenches.
King Dick of Abingdon
Somebody today is trying to sell a 1950s advert for King Dick tools. They were made at the Abingdon Works in Birmingham.
King Dick of Abingdon
Going further back you find vintage motorcycles called Abingdon King Dick or AKD.

Does anybody know the missing link between Birmingham based King Dick Abingdon and Abingdon-on-Thames?

Filed under: heritage

14 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Captainkaos2  |  August 23, 2016 at 4:21 pm


  • 2. hester  |  August 23, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    A bit of Googling found “The company started in Birmingham, in 1856, as tool manufacturer Abingdon Engineering. ‘King Dick’ was added to the company name because their logo featured the owner’s bulldog – whose name was King Dick.”

    However the same blog article has another version from that learned journal “100 Years of Adjustable Spanners in Birmingham” which agrees with Capt K’s version i.e that it derived in the late 1880s from Coxeters cycle company..

    The Company’s own website goes with the former version – but doesnt explain the Abingdon link.

    PS if you want to see what they made in the 1870s take a look at

  • 3. ppjs  |  August 23, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Wow! – excellent detective work….

  • 4. Captainkaos2  |  August 23, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Indeed PPJS, but us Abingdonians already knew that !

  • 5. Hester  |  August 23, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Can Capt K remind us what the qualification period is to be an Abingdonian?

  • 6. Captainkaos2  |  August 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Well a good starting point would be to have been born here !

  • 7. James Dunn  |  August 23, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    The assembly of the Kerry motorcycle was switched from East London to Coxeters in Abingdon in the early 1900s and became the Kerry-Abingdon. The name King Dick came from the association with the Kink Dick spanner makers. Production moved to Birmingham at the outbreak of the First World War. (Abingdon Herald 24.07.2003)

  • 8. hester  |  August 23, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Capt K – that narrows the field quite a lot!

    Still, not to worry – all the youngsters who have been born here since the expansion of the last 30-40 years count, even if someone who moved here just before that doesn’t. Lets just hope that they continue to honour the history of the town in the same way that you and the other “real” Abingdonians do, and not like us interlopers!

  • 9. Dave  |  August 24, 2016 at 12:04 am

    It was named Abingdon Works Co Ltd when opened in 1865 byThomas Mabbut, who had lived at some time in Abingdon on Thames.
    There is a link to Coxeters and tricycle manufacture at the turn of the 20th century, which involves a patented rear axle, and again includes the Abingdon name, and Bulldog image
    A trawl through Google sites revealed an interesting part of Abingdon engineering history.

  • 10. ian d  |  August 30, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I am afraid the answer may be a bit more mundane. The purchasing of tools until the days of the internet was done with a variety of trade catalogues (i worked in this business) and Abingdon was the best bet to be in pole position in the listings. Same logic as Aardvark skips etc…..This was the version I heard back in the day…

  • 11. Abingdon Blog » Abi&hellip  |  December 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    [...] came across some pictures of the Abingdon King Dick motorcycle which was recently featured on this blog. The pictures were sent by a relative in Australia. Thanks to him for [...]

  • 12. Dick  |  November 16, 2017 at 6:21 am

    I have recently aquired an 1910 Abingdon King Dick motorcycle. Needs a little work to bring it back to life. But I am sure it will be worth it.


  • 13. Garry  |  March 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

    The connection is that Thomas Mabbutt who started Abingdon Works in Birmingham was born in Abingdon. His family moved to Birmingham when he was about 12.

  • 14. rodney Beauchamp  |  September 21, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Thomas mabbutt was my great grandfather who livid in Abingdon oxford moved to Birmingham and started the Abingdon works his trade mark was his prize winning dog king dick he made all sorts of engineering and weaponry he also patented a breach loading rifle many parts for motor bikes and bicycles were made at the Abingdon works

Leave a Comment


(required), (Hidden)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

TrackBack URL  |  RSS feed for comments on this post.

Blog Archives