Our family business was started in 1915 when two entrepreneurial brothers decided to create their own business, Model Laundry Company. These two brothers, Wilbur R. Davis Sr. & Ora M. Davis, opened their business in the 100 block of east 5th Street in the old Bledsoe Building. After ten years of service, the brothers decided to move their business to better serve their customers. Their new building, which was on the corner of 10th Street and Brazos, opened its doors in 1925. During this transition the brothers decided to rename the business Home Steam Laundry. At this location the Davis’ brothers revolutionized the laundry industry by creating “the route,” one of the first home pickup and delivery services, which was all done in a horse drawn wagon. We left our mark on that part of Austin. In fact, the old boiler stack on the east side of the building still stands today. A few years down the road, Ora M. Davis decided he would like to retire from the industry, so he sold his part of the business to his brother. Wilbur R. Davis Sr. continued to run the business and served Austin’s populace for many years.
A New Era
In 1946 Wilbur R. Davis Jr. chose to follow in his father’s footsteps by coming into the business and continuing its operation to serve Austinites. In 1951 it became apparent that Home Steam needed a new building in order to keep up with new customers due to Austin’s rapidly growing population. When the business moved to the corner of 14th & Red River, Wilbur R. Davis Jr. decided to add a new feature to his business: dry cleaning. At this location Wilbur R. Davis Jr. took his father’s idea of pickup and delivery service to the next level by using four versatile delivery trucks which allowed Home Steam to serve the entire Austin area.
In 1966 the business was moved to its present location at 2301 Manor Road, at the corner of Chestnut and Manor Road. It was during this transition that Home Steam Laundry became Home Steam Laundry & Cleaners and was outfitted with a larger dry cleaning department. At this new location Wilbur R. Davis Jr., like his father, revolutionized the laundry and dry cleaning industry by creating a building which included a two lane drive-thru service. Wilbur R. Davis Jr.’s new feature allowed customers to quickly pickup and drop-off their clothes without having to leave their car. In addition, the new building also featured a glass wall on the north side of the building so customers could observe the clothes as they were processed inside the plant. In 1975 Robert Davis, Wilbur R. Davis Jr’s son, came into the business and has continued to operate and direct it to this day.
The Family Tradition Continues
After nearly 100 years of service to the Austin community, Home Steam Laundry & Cleaners continues to operate under the supervision of Robert Davis, the third generation owner. With the fourth generation of Davis’s preparing to carry on the family tradition, we continue to hold fast to the ideals that we were founded upon: quality, excellence, and innovation. We can hardly wait to see what the next 100 years hold for us, our customers, and the city of Austin……