[st_box title="Throwback Thursday" type="info"]This is the 4th installment of our Throwback Thursday Series. Today, we focus on Mobile Homes of 1955. [/st_box]
Vintage Mobile Homes from 1955
1955 was a great year for the mobile home. The vintage mobile homes were going through its adolescence, trying to find itself in a sense. The homes were transitioning from bubbly curves to mean and lean. The clean, sleek exterior lines and contemporary interiors were taking over the neighborhood and the public loved it.
The industry had just went through a huge change. The trailer coach association had rebranded themselves completely. Not only was the name changed, but the entire focus of the industry seemed to change as well. The majority of the companies would no longer produce vacation homes just for weekends and summers, they would build year-round homes.
Changing the focus from travel trailer to mobile home added a much-needed separation between companies that were essentially building two different products. The two products were very different even if they didn’t appear to be. Two different needs were being filled with two completely different concepts in movable home design – the travel trailer for short vacations and the mobile home for permanent year-round living. Each product had its own market and selling opportunities. Separation and focus opened the industry to a whole new world in 1955 and the designs proved it!
1955 was a year of many designs (as were many other years). Kitchen designs were available in every shape you could imagine. The straight line kitchen below was a popular design but so was the circular. We covered the many kitchen designs from the era in our article titled’ Mobile Home Kitchens From 1955 to 1960.’
[st_highlight background_color="#3b3b3b" text_color="#fafafa"]‘You’re Living in 1995….When You Live in a 1955 Terra-Cruiser” [/st_highlight]
This Terra-Cruiser ad really hits home! The headline makes you realize just how long ago 1955 was!
The Chevvy Mobile Home was a division of the Pontiac Coach Company.
[st_quote author="C. Adkins"] Chevvy? Pontiac? Where’s Ford and Chrysler? [/st_quote]
Colonial Coach Manufacturing Corporation used great marketing techniques in their print ads. Their advertisements always seemed to have an air of luxury or sophistication about them.
The 1955 Glider ad displays the unique window design they offered. 1955 was a year of innovation in window designs for the mobile home industry. As each element used in mobile home construction like windows, hitches, brakes, and new lumber products allowed the homes to improve as well. Research and development was serious business for the mobile home industry in the golden years. Vintage mobile home companies competed with each other to release the most unique concept but the real winners were the homes of the future – the fierce competition brought about many innovations that became mainstream.
[st_box title="M System Javelin" type="info"]The M System was unique in 1955 because of the completely separate bedroom. Putting the bedroom on the end, instead of the kitchen or living room, is still a popular layout today. It was a great way to allow privacy for both bedrooms in homes that didn’t have enough width to include a hallway which meant you walked through little bedroom to get to the end room.
There were many home layouts that utilized the bedroom on each end. The Prairie Schooner mobile home company had a similar design in 1954 with their 37 foot long model. Below is an advertisement for the 41′ Javelin model. [/st_box]
Another advertisement for the ‘M’ System. The ad below is for the 44 foot Dixie-Liner. Birch interior, deluxe cook stove, heat through floor ducts, large bathtub, deluxe sofa, one piece steel roof, fiberglass insulation and vapor barriers were great selling points for mobile homes in 1955 (and 2014!).
Kropf was a well-known company in the mid 1950′s. They had a huge advertising budget and understood the need to keep their products fresh and unique year after year. Kropf designed many vintage mobile home concepts that later became mainstream. One of their best known designs was the butterfly roof – a concept that may have been a bit before its time.
The Kropf advertisement below has an air of sophistication to it.
Pacemaker Trailer Company out of Elkhart, Indiana was in its prime in 1954. They had several popular models that were breaking sales records. One of the most unique models was their 2-story mobile home.
[st_box title="The Spartan Aircraft Company " type="success"]The Spartan Aircraft Company produced more than 25 different models in 1955. Smaller models included the 227 Manor, at 27’2″ feet long, the home sold for around $3751.00. The more luxurious models like the Executive Mansion was 50 feet long and priced around $6276.00.[/st_box]
The Ventoura Split-Level Home
One of my all time favorite designs is the 1955 Vetoura Split-Level Home. The ‘home like design’ was only available for short time but it showed a whole new side to the movable home concept. Cost may have been to blame for the lack of interest but it was simply before its time if you ask me. Lightweight and waterproofing material wasn’t available yet that would have allowed a movable split-level home to thrive. It was a high-end, adventurous design that turned heads, then and now. The same concepts are still in use today in both site built and factory built housing.
The Ventoura Split-Level Home could have focused on its permanency but it didn’t. Every ad found for the Ventoura Home has a sentence or two about how easy in was to travel with. It’s an example of how some companies were straddling the fence between travel trailers and the permanent ‘put it in one place and leave it’ concept that the homes would eventually become. No one had a magic ball to see which concept would make the most profit so companies were easing themselves, and their buyers, into the new concept. Perhaps the Ventoura Home sales suffered in the process. Had it been marketed for permanent living it may have been more popular.
Ventoura Homes produced many different models each year. The large company had the means to test new designs and ideas. The Loft-Liner was the company’s answer to the newly popular 2-story mobile homes of the time. Easier to transport and lower prices enticed many buyers from competitors like Stewart and Pacemaker.
Ahh, the Prairie Schooner. The name remains familiar today as one of the most well-known vintage mobile home brands in the country. They built a loyal customer base by offering the market unique design concepts. They were rarely the first to come out with a new design. The porch design featured in the advertisement below had been done before by a couple different companies but Prairie Schooner made it theirs with their own designs. What they did best was to improve what was already on the market.
As you can see, there were many beautiful vintage mobile home designs from 1955. It was part of the golden years of design and innovation and the companies were on top of their game.
As always, thank you for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!
Read our previous issues of Throwback Thursday:
[st_button text_color="#ffffff" link="http://mobilehomeliving.org/vintage-mobile-homes-throwback-thursday-issue-1/" background="#18777f" size="large" target="_self" icon="arrow-circle-right"]Issue #1 Mobile Homes from 1953[/st_button]
[st_button text_color="#ffffff" link="http://mobilehomeliving.org/vintage-mobile-homes-throwback-thursday-issue-2/" background="#f26362" size="large" target="_self" icon="arrow-circle-right"]Issue #2 Mobile Homes from 1961[/st_button]
[st_button text_color="#ffffff" link="http://mobilehomeliving.org/trailer-parks/" background="#72cfa2" size="large" target="_self" icon="arrow-circle-right"]Issue #3 Vintage Trailer Parks [/st_button]