The late 1950’s and early 1960’s was a successful time for mobile homes. Record sales were broken year after year, and waiting lists for buyers were a common occurrence.
There’s several reasons why the manufacturers enjoyed high sales and record profits during this time. One of the main reasons was the countries healthy economy. The nation was experiencing a dramatic growth – the big wars were over, the factories were hiring and the middle class was thriving. Two generations were leading the sales; retirees and young couples that had just enough credit to buy a new mobile home. Each group wanted the latest trends and modern conveniences but at an affordable price and mobile homes gave then exactly what they wanted.
The builders also played a large role in their own success. They focused on offering the consumers the latest trends and endless options. There were so many mobile home builders in the nation that the competitive market required the companies to continuously offer bigger and better homes just to stay in business. They had to offer new and improved, year after year and before their competitors did. ‘Cutthroat’ was one industry insider’s word to describe it. Fortunately, most of them met the demand with unique designs and original floor plans. Every year a completely new design or style was added to the lineup. If one builder released a new floor plan, three other builders would offer the same within the year. It was a cutthroat industry, but it was all-American, and the designs that came from that era are still popular more than half a century later.
The Standard Straight Line Mobile Home Kitchen
The inline or straight line kitchen was the most typical design found in mobile homes since the first modern home was wheeled out of the factory. It was situated close to the middle of the home, and often separated the living room from the sleeping quarters. It had the entire kitchen on one side of the home so that the other side could be used for dining. The front door was often positioned close.
Below are several straight line kitchens from 1955 to 1959. A small dining area usually set on one side and a continuous kitchen on the other side. A small built in cabinet usually separated the kitchen from the living room.
The Slanted Kitchen Design
When the 1960 models were first shown to the public in 1959 it was making headlines. A new kitchen design aptly nicknamed the slanted kitchen was one of many new trends for the year. The homes had started getting wider after 1954, when Marshfield Homes released the Ten Wide and fought to have it legalized for highway transport. More design freedoms were enjoyed with the wider homes.
The slanted kitchen was just that. It was a straight line kitchen situated on a slant. The slant allowed just enough room for an utility or laundry room to set behind the kitchen. There was also ample room for the furnace and water heater, too.
The Cozy Front Kitchen
The front kitchen design became a standard option for mobile homes around 1959. The kitchen was positioned at the end, instead of the living room. Below are two options available from the American Pioneer Mobile Home Company in 1959. I’ve been unable to confirm which company first offered the design.
Below is a 1960 ad from Homette. They were strong believers in making a home that lasts and using the front kitchen design. They continued to offer the option in most of their models 20 years later.
Other Mobile Home Kitchen Designs From the 1960’s
Of course, the 3 kitchen designs mentioned above weren’t the only options available during the time.
The Breakfast Bar
Along with the front kitchens came the breakfast bar. Bars with stools and even complete islands were a big home craze in the late 50’s, and the mobile home builders used it to their advantage. The breakfast bar that separated the kitchen from the living room was a very popular interior design in mobile homes for decades and the design is still used today. Some added cabinets above the bar, some didn’t.
The double wide concept was becoming mainstream in 1960. With double the space, the possible kitchen designs were endless. Here’s one that uses one entire side for the kitchen with the dining room on the other side. A bar connects the two spaces though.
Contemporary derivatives for the front kitchen design were popular for the more modern, mid-century minded customers. Below shows a 1959 Geer Mobile Home with an electric powered fireplace and sleek lines used as the separator between the kitchen and living area.
The Carousel and Crescent Kitchens
Spartan Mobile Homes made history with their unique carousel kitchen design of 1960, but they weren’t alone. Similar designs, such as Homette’s Crescent kitchen design appeared the same year. The design used the slanted kitchen design and also the breakfast bar to provide a distinctive kitchen that’s still admired more than half a century later.
In all, the competitive era from 1955 to 1960 saw many new designs and styles in mobile homes. Getting use out of every inch of space was the goal and the builders weren’t scared to get creative. Some of those designs are still used today.
Do you live in a home with one of these designs or have fond memories? Share them below, we’d love to hear from you!
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