Clemco's First Abrasive Blast Machine

Our History

Over the past 80 years, Clemco has grown from a small contractor equipment rental company in California into a global leader in surface preparation blasting solutions for a wide range of customers and industries. The Clemco name was derived from the original location where rental equipment was stored on Clementina Street in San Francisco in 1941 by Al Cleary, the company’s founder. Today Clemco employs more than 130 people and serves customers worldwide through our corporate headquarters and 150,000 square foot research and production center in Washington, Missouri, our international headquarters in Munich and our distribution center in Singapore.

Clementina set out to make its own blasting equipment with design input from its rental customers, which gave birth to a whole new manufacturing and sales division in the early 1950s.  Clementina began to use the brand name Clemco and a formed a separate company called Clemco in 1960 that eventually became known as Clemco Industries in 1970.

As Clemco grew, we built a sales network in the United States that included over 400 distributors offering a full range of portable blast equipment, blast rooms, standard hand cabinets, and specially designed automated cabinets. Clemco’s international operations were also expanding at a rate of over 30% annually in the early 1970s, and Clemco International, Inc., was established in 1973.

About this time, a company in Washington, Missouri that had been in the dairy equipment business since its founding in 1946, started making blast cabinets and quickly gained prominence in the blast cabinet marketplace. This company, called Zero Manufacturing, used Clemco pressure blast equipment on its pressure cabinets.  In the early 1980’s, Clemco started purchasing this company’s sheet metal fabrications for its hand cabinets and in 1986 Clemco acquired Zero Manufacturing. In 1990 Clemco consolidated its U.S. activities into a newly built Washington, Missouri location.

Today Clemco products are sold in over 75 countries, thanks to production in Germany, Spain, Singapore, and Hungary. Clemco is the largest manufacturer of abrasive air blast cleaning and impact metal finishing equipment in the world. We are proud of our heritage and the position we have earned in the world marketplace. We started out as multiple companies, both nationally and internationally, but today we truly are “One Clemco.”

Abrasive blasting (formerly known as sandblasting) also is called grit blasting, bead blasting, media blasting, soda blasting, dry blasting, sponge blasting, shot blasting, and shot peening. However, sand should never be used when abrasive blasting because breathing abrasive containing crystalline (free) silica can lead to serious or fatal lung disease.