The Austin Company History

The Austin Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1878.

Samuel Austin, a young carpenter, came to the United States from England in 1872 with the intention of finding work rebuilding Chicago after the great fire in that city. Samuel never made it to Chicago, but instead stayed in Cleveland and began working with a contractor who was busy building mid-Victorian residences.

By 1878, Samuel Austin had earned such a reputation for good workmanship that he was able to set out on his own as an estimator and builder. Two years after establishing his own business, Samuel Austin founded his first shop in Cleveland.

His residential construction soon led to commercial work and in 1889, Samuel won the contract to construct a building for the Broadway Savings Bank. Among the bank’s clientele were industrial executives who saw the quality of Samuel’s work and who soon called on him to undertake their factory projects.

In 1895, the Western Mineral Wool Company of Cleveland decided to branch out and construct a factory in Chicago. The company asked Samuel to undertake the project. This marked the beginning of Samuel’s work beyond Cleveland. Also in 1895, Samuel received a contract for Cleveland’s first electric lamp factory, followed by a succession of contracts from the National Electric Lamp Association (NELA, predecessor of General Electric).

In 1904, Samuel’s son, Wilbert J. Austin, became an engineering graduate of Case School of Applied Sciences (now part of Case Western Reserve University). At that time, Wilbert joined his father’s company and conceived the then heretical idea of combining engineering and construction in one firm to offer a complete facility service.

This concept, which became known as The Austin Method®, broadened the traditional approach to construction by offering contracts that started with architecture and engineering, and ended with the finished building.

Our Future

In 2005, The Austin Company became part of the Kajima USA Group companies, a subsidiary of Kajima Corporation of Japan. This marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Austin’s long history. As it has in the past, The Austin Company continues to impact virtually every facet of life — from aerospace, defense and aviation; to food, beverage and consumer goods; to entertainment, energy, technology and communication.

The Austin Company is committed to innovatively solving the increasingly-complex facility challenges of industry, commerce and government. With the resources of Kajima USA Group and the worldwide Kajima organization, Austin continues to expand the breadth and depth of their solutions for a global market.


Read Full History of The Austin Company