Everything has to start from something and the mobile home history is very rich. The original mobile home dates as far back as the early 1500’s.
Wagons Were the First Mobile Homes
Horse-drawn carriages carried the people selling their wares from town to town. From that lifestyle came beautiful hand carved and very elaborate designs like this wagon I found on Wikipedia:
Fast forward to a brand new country and new people coming to that country finding a better way of life, some succeeded, some didn’t. The first “movable” home in the US was on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When the tide went up a team of horses would move the home to a safer location on the beach.
How the Mobile Home Evolved
Add the invention of the automobile in the early 1900’s and you have what, we today, consider a true mobile home. People found that in order to support their family they had to be able to move wherever the work was. The hybrid home and auto was probably some guys way of solving his biggest problem: how to move his wife and kids comfortably and without them fussing the whole drive and still be able to make a living selling his trades. It was a genius’s way of solving the problem. I found this and all the rest of the pictures to follow on Dornob.
I’ve researched to find more information on this hybrid but couldn’t. I’m only guessing that this was not mass produced by a company. I could be wrong.
The next wave of mobile home inventions and designs came from pull-trailers used for camping. A man that didn’t want to camp in a tent came up with a way to pull a cart with his car. The cart’s roof was raised up once it was at the camp and they would sleep in it. Of course, progress happens and better designs follow. By the mid-1940’s the trailer that the cars could pull averaged 8 ft. wide and 20 ft. long. It could sleep several but had no bathroom. Later that decade, the length went to over 30 ft. long and bathrooms were installed. By this time the men who had fought in WWII were coming home in masses and cheap housing was a necessity. Mobile homes were a great fit for many and the industry continued to evolve and flourish.
This is a fine example of the era. The designs were ever changing and improving year after year. Some mobile homes even had 2 stories. I personally would love to have one of these. They are awesome!
These pictures are just 2 of the many, many different designs you could choose. They were made with every attention to detail, from a lazy susan to an apartment sized gas range. You could choose your color schemes, layout and appliances. From the single wide evolved the double wide and now today there’s even triple wide homes.
In 1976, the US Congress passed the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act (42 U.S.C.). This was necessary to hold the industry to a high standard and to ensure that everything they put in the mobile home was safe. In 1980 Congress, due to pressure from the industry itself, changed the name mobile home to manufactured housing on the bill. I guess they wanted to update the image of the industry, and “manufactured home” evokes a higher class of product. There is very little difference in the two though. One is made without regard to the site the home will eventually sit on and is completely built in a factory and the other takes the site into consideration, waiting till it gets there to put the home together.
To know the history of something is to understand it better. Now that we have glimpsed thru mobile homes history I hope you can be proud of it. Mobile Homes evolved from necessity. Man has always adapted his surroundings to him and the mobile home is a prime example.
Thank you for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living.