“This invention relates to vehicles and more particularly to a trailer specifically designed to provide a portable office which may be located where ever such facilities are desired.” —From U.S. Patent Office application filed on February 19, 1952 by A.V. Williams
When a general contractor needed a place on the jobsite to review blueprints, the idea for a space solutions company was born.
Albert Vaughn (“A.V.”) Williams – the “Williams” in Williams Scotsman – was the general contractor awarded the Department of Transportation (DOT) contract to develop the Mid-Atlantic corridor of Interstate-95, a highway that greatly improved transportation for Maryland commuters and Americans alike. The company Williams founded in 1944, Williams Mobile Offices, originally sold construction trailers small enough to be towed by a car.
As Williams and his team set out to work on what would later become Interstate-95, he realized how important a centralized onsite meeting space was to the success of the project. The team required mobile space to review blueprints, resolve issues and discuss progress. As a result, Williams created a temporary workspace – the mobile office. It was during this pivotal time that the concept for Williams Mobile Offices was formed.
In May 1954, Williams patented the technology used to build the mobile office and later began selling and leasing mobile offices and mobile storage containers to other businesses in the construction industry.
During the 1960s, the company expanded outside the Baltimore area for the first time with branch locations in Atlanta and Chicago. Leasing its signature, two-tone green mobile structures, Williams developed business operations along the East Coast and into the Midwest.
During the 1980s Williams began to manufacture and install modular office structures. Though not less expensive than site-built offices, modular construction offered a rapid construction process, significantly reducing required construction time. Contrary to the stereotype, modular structures could be designed with aesthetic considerations in mind, such as the architecture in the surrounding community, with masonry, stucco, wood, and brick exteriors possible.
Williams offered modular office structures in one-story design or multiple stories with complex architectural dimensions and such interior options as fine cherry wood paneling. Williams built a new company headquarters in Baltimore from modular structures in 1986.
Williams Scotsman formed in 1990, through the merger of Williams Mobile Offices/Modular Structures and Scotsman Manufacturing Co. Scotsman Manufacturing, founded in 1945, manufactured recreational vehicles for rental companies. The company began to lease mobile office structures in 1965, as manufacturers started offering larger structures with amenities, such as toilets and showers. Scotsman leased these structures to movie studios for dressing rooms. Eventually, the company entered the market for modular office structures.
From Baltimore, Maryland, and Gardena, California, respectively, the two companies joined their geographically disparate operations for the purpose of developing a national company, bringing more than 40 years experience to their combined business.
At the time of the merger between Williams and Scotsman Manufacturing, Williams was the second largest supplier of mobile offices in the U.S., with 15,000 rental units leased through 17 offices in 13 Eastern states. Scotsman operated 11 offices in four Western states with a fleet of 7,500 rental units.
With a focus on internal growth through fleet expansion, Williams Scotsman owned a fleet of 25,000 mobile office and storage units leased through 31 offices in 18 states by 1993.
As a result of significant organic growth and strategic acquisitions since the mid-1990s, Williams Scotsman now operates nearly 80 locations throughout North America and serves more than 25,000 customers in 450 diverse industries.
In 2007, Williams Scotsman became a subsidiary of Algeco Scotsman, a leading global business services provider focused on modular space and secure storage solutions. Operating as Williams Scotsman in North America, Algeco in continental Europe, Elliott in the United Kingdom, and Eurobras in South America, the group manages a fleet of more than 300,000 units, with operations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.
Algeco Scotsman’s global presence combined with its local market expertise provides exemplary service tailored to meet the unique needs of customers throughout the world.
1944: Williams Mobile Offices introduces an 8’ wide construction trailer that can be towed behind a car
1945: Scotsman Manufacturing Company produces recreational vehicles and specialty units for the movie business
1955: Williams Mobile Offices is incorporated
1965: First Double Wide
1967: First Modular Building (6-55 x 10)
1982: Special Projects Starts
1990: Merger of Scotsman and WMO
1994: Ace, Arthur, Delta Porta Buildings, Georgia Trailer Sales, Xtra Lease and Mobile Field Office acquisitions
1995: Zoubeck, Dearjohn, Beautilite and Elder acquisitions
1996: Immediate Warehouse, Storage Container Lease, Customized Mobile Storage acquisition
1997: BT Equipment, Container Technology, K&K International, Morse Mobile Offices, and Mobile Storage Solutions acquisitions
1998: Arlington Modular, Southeastern Trailer, and Space Master acquisitions
1999: First Canadian branch opens
2000: Ace Trailer Leasing & Sales and Truck & Trailer acquisitions
2001: McKinney acquisition
2002: Northgate Industries acquisition
2003: AFA Locations, Inc. acquisition
2004: Expansion into Mexico; GE California DSA Classrooms acquisition; Expansion into Europe
2005: Mobile Space, Inc. acquisition
2005: Williams Scotsman IPO; traded on NASDAQ
2006: American Homes International acquisition in Mexico
2006: Wiron acquisition in Spain
2007: Hawaii Modular Space acquisition
2007: Merger of Williams Scotsman and Algeco; return to private company