the history of watson

From a post World War I startup aimed at moving houses around Fort Worth, TX, 

to its instrumental role in the birth of the ADSC, 

to a 4 generation American Manufacturing Company approaching its 100th birthday, 

The family oriented company and our drill rigs have stood the test of time.  

Here are a few highlights from our long history in the foundation drilling industry.

(See also the historical article printed in Foundation Drilling Magazine: here)

our timeline

  • 1923 Establishment

    (jack watson, age 8, atop the fort worth house moving truck)

    The history of Watson, Incorporated goes back to 1923 when Verne Watson rigged up a single wood-rimmed flatbed truck and started Fort Worth House Moving Company in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas. From these beginnings, his business quickly grew to include larger structures and industrial machinery.

  • 1930's

    Lift cranes were eventually added to the equipment fleet, allowing expansion into steel erection, with a focus on setting steel girders for the Texas Highway Department. The instability of the bridge foundations being used at that time resulted in Watson working closely with the highway department to develop and test drilled shafts for use in bridge foundations. 

  • 1947 - the first watson drill rig

    (pipelne road, dallas tx)

    In the mid 40's, Verne Watson adapted some of the lift cranes for the purpose of drilling shafts and expanded the company's drilled shaft operations. 

  • 1940's - Steam powered crane attachment

    (gaston avenue church, dallas tx)

  • 1955 - watson foundation company

    By the mid 1950's the company was known as Watson Foundation Company and had operations in Denver and Atlanta as well as Fort  Worth. Business consisted almost exclusively of drilled shaft contracting along with the manufacturing of equipment and tooling to meet the company's needs. 

  • 1965 - Watson manufacturing co. 

    By the early 1960's, Verne and his son Jack began to see an increasing demand by other drilling contractors for the drill rigs Watson was designing and building for themselves. Watson Manufacturing Company was established to meet this demand and made its first sale of a 5000 Crane Attachment in 1965 to Peter Lind Lt., located in the UK.

  • 1970 - devotion to manufacturing

    Between 1965 and 1973, the Watson's migrated out of drilled shaft contracting and devoted all resources to Watson, a company solely focused on the design, manufacture, and sale of foundation drilling equipment for the up and coming drilled shaft industry. 

  • 1972 - Establishment of the adsc

    Verne and Jack Watson continued to be instrumental in pioneering and gaining acceptance of the use of drilled shaft foundations for many years to come, including Jack's service as a founding member and the first President of the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors or ADSC. 

  • 19?? - watson 3350 - tieback rig

    one of watson's many custom prototypes

    Along the way, Verne and Jack used their engineering aptitude of contracting experience to prototype completely new products and drilling technologies. 

  • 19?? - model 750 - cfa machine

    These technologies and machines are commonplace today but were experimental and unproven in the days of these machines

  • Today

    Since the 1970's, the company has emerged as an industry leader in foundation drilling rigs. During that time, the 3rd and 4th generation of Watson's joined the company fostering the evolution of the company into the modern era of business, manufacturing and technology. 

    Bringing with them their business and mechanical engineering backgrounds, David Watson and his son Doug are driving the company to deliver a wide range of increasingly dependable and productive drill rigs, while maintaining a critical focus on strong customer relationships and exceptional customer support that have helped to define the company. 

    Founded upon more than six decades of American pride and workmanship, steady determination and diverse experience in foundation drilling, Watson Incorporated continues to strive for the success of its Customers and Employees.