Western Wheeled Scraper Company (1877-1934) | Historical Construction Equipment Association
C. H. Smith & Company, a contracting firm in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, took interest in a crude wheeled scraper while constructing railroads in 1877, and Captain C. H. Smith, Dr. A. W. McClure and Captain W. Beckwith founded Western Wheeled Scraper Company to manufacture these machines. Smith took delivery of the firm’s entire first year production of 600 scrapers to complete a 40-mile grading contract for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Western Wheeled Scraper relocated to Aurora, Illinois, in 1891.
In 1901, F. C. Austin Manufacturing Company and Western Wheeled Scraper Company, which until then had been fierce competitors, formed a selling corporation called Austin-Western Road Machinery Company, with offices in Chicago, Illinois, to market their products. Western Wheeled Scraper purchased the F. C. Austin Manufacturing Company in 1902, renaming it Austin Manufacturing Company, and the three companies operated until 1934. Their exact relationship to one another during these years is uncertain, but is discussed in Issue 80 of Equipment Echoes. Austin and Western products were manufactured and sold under those names, although the Austin-Western name also appeared on machinery, especially in the early 1930s.
In 1934, the two manufacturing companies were consolidated under the name Western-Austin Company, with Austin-Western as a wholly-owned subsidiary; the Austin-Western name was in standard use on the equipment after the merger, although the Western-Austin name also occasionally appeared in conjunction with Austin-Western.