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.’
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.
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 a unique concept but the real winners were the homes of the future – the fierce competition brought about many innovations that became mainstream.
The M System
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 a 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.
Another advertisement for the ‘M’ System. The ad below is for the 44 foot Dixie-Liner. Birch interior, deluxe cookstove, 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.
The Spartan Aircraft Company
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.
The Ventoura Split-Level Home
One of my all-time favorite designs is the 1955 Ventoura Split-Level Home. The ‘home-like design’ was only available for a 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 it 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.
Related: 1952 Ventoura Mobile Home Remodel.
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 Home Living!
28 thoughts on “Vintage Mobile Homes of 1955”
Looking for information on Prairie Schooner trailers. I have an 8 x 36 that I think is a 1958. I can find no information on line about them and any guidance would be apprecaited
Does anyone have any info for ‘Don-A-Bell’ mobile homes? I recently bought one, built in 1978. I can’t find much info for this brand. Help!
Would love to see some pictures of your Detroiter. My parents had one for 20plus years. Lots of memories!
I lived in a ‘Medody Home’ in the mid 60’s. I believe it was a 1961 model – 10×55 ft. I had a front living with a build in stereo/record player. It had a rear master bedroom and two other very small bedrooms with one bathroom. The rear end of the trailer was square but the front end had a bulge at the top and another one from the mid widows downward to the bottom. I have looked and looked for pictures of it on the net to no avail. Any info that you might have would be much appreciated. It was in Roseburg, Oregon.
Melody Homes were popular back in the good ole’ days! I do have a couple of advertisements from them that you may like:
Is this close to yours?
thank you for posting this article. I found it very interesting. I recently acquired a 1957 ABC super coach one bedroom. It’s similar to the one on YouTube and CannedHamTrailers. Not forty feet of train, as in the movie, but forty feet of project!
It’s painted throughout and has had some serious leakage issues through the roof and walls. The roof looks like the far side of the moon and I suspect the previous owners have improperly repaired it numerous times. Hence the interior is largely gone or ruined. Some things do remain though. Like most of the bathroom vanity and the tub. Also the complete closet is there sans one drawer. Both pocket doors remain though are off their tracks and lying on the floor The kitchen is a disaster and most of the original is gone. There was a console under the bay window in the front of the lounge but all that remains of it is blocking on the walls and under the windows. The decorative shelving above the windows is still there, though very careworn. Some of the walls have detached from the floor and move freely. In short, it is going to be a complete rebuild. With all of that though, the coach looks really nice from the outside.
I followed the link at the beginning of this article to the kitchen information and it was helpful. I just may model my kitchen after what is shown there in the first picture. There was another with soffits over the cabinets and it looked like indirect lighting as well which is something ABC did do.
Again, thanks for an informative, enjoyable pair of articles.
Glad it could be useful to you, Ronald! I love the old ABC advertisements from the 1950’s magazines – they sure knew how to grab attention with color (they always used red and would use huge ABC lettering on the ad). Here’s one.
Please take lots of pictures during your project. I would love to share it when you’re finished!
Where did you find this ad from? I’m looking into old ad’s with ABC Homes (Brookwood Mobile and Deluxe, ABC Series, and Marianna Series).
I just purchased a ’55 of same trailer. The previous (2nd) owner told me there used to be an L shaped banquet dining area in the room directly past kitchen. I cannot find any info or pics of it as any other than a small bedroom with twin bunks. What did you do with yours? Was your bathroom all black marble formica? My vanity is. But accents above and tub surround is a gorgeous transluscent seafoam green which I have not seen in any others.
I sure would like to find some more information on the 1955 Mayflower Mobile homes that were made in Torrance, California. I just bought a 29 footer and it is a beauty with an aluminum skin and birch interior. It also has very unique nautical interior lights and a nautical porch light to go with the mayflower theme.
I do have some information but not much…
It is so hard to find information about any of the vintage mobile homes. There is a museum in Indiana that I’m told has an amazing library but I’ve never been there and they don’t have anything digitized. You can buy digitized magazines online. I found a company on Ebay that sells CD’s of several magazines from the 1950’s and 1960’s that may help. Here is a link to one.
Best of luck!
Found this site by accident but interested in MHs since forever. Took my degrees in Arch. Hist. & City Planning & always considered MHs to be an undervalued & underappreciated viable housing option. I spend a good portion of my year advocatin CA reps advocating for changes to MH laws: A) When park owners go out of business, there should be a 90-180 day period for residents to band together with State help to form an association and try to buy the park, similar to a condo HOA where each resident would own the space under the unit but have common ownership of common lands (reads, rec facs, etc…). For someone to be 70 and suddenly faced with trying to relocate their home, and losing what little equity it might have. There are so few HOA MHPs and there should be more. I appreciate that a landlord has a business but esp the elderly should be considered in 55+ communities. B) Change zoning laws to allow MHs to be sited on vacant lots in residential area. This would help fill-in (esp. older) neighborhoods and revitalize them. Being able to buy a lot and site a MH on it would be a great, more affordable housing choice for families. I live in an unincorporated village in the Central Valley of CA which does have MH-friendly zoning in about a dozen blocks of the older section, as well as two 55+ MHPs. MHs on their own lots seldom depreciate, and in fact tend to appreciate just as homes do. C) Acquiring land and older MHs/larger, self-contained travel trailers as Veterans housing, either immediate or long-term, certainly much cheaper than the latest crack-pot scheme in Sacramento to spend $70k/unit on sheds w/ neither running water nor toilets, basically housing Veterans in crisis in kennels. All those last-yr trailers FEMA unloads every year could be used to create VA camps, preferably on some of the excess lands at older VA hospitals instead of wasting money constantly buying & selling them. Beleive me on this: homeless Vets would love to have a chance to live in a trailer; during their honorable service they lived in Quonsets, tents, 120-man berthing spaces aboard ships and a lot of other, less than stellar living conditions, yet the response I often get is that to offer a used trailer to a homeless Vet is somehow disparaging him or her. Go figure. (Disclosure: do not live in an MHP but have, beginning at birth: 1955 8×50 Peerless, 1960 10×55 Detroiter, 1968 12×60 Windsor; Sister had a 1970-ish 12×60 w/expando Oaksomething [Oak Park, Oakwood, Oakland? that she later rented to a great-aunt], one uncle, his wife & 5 daughters had a 1966 12×55 Townhouse 2-story w/gas fireplace, another had had a 3-bedroom 12×60 Skyline, and a friend, his parents & 4 sisters lived in a 4 bdroom/2 bath 12×68 Trotter circa 1970 – the front 3 bedrms were like ship’s cabins). Like you, I collect the ephemera, but my interest is in the floorplans, and it’s a subsection of my collection of “pattern books” (mail-order house plans, @3k+ books/mags). Very informative site. Bookmarked.
So glad you found us! I’m a bit jealous that you got to live in a Detroiter. I always liked their designs. It’s people like you that makes changes happen. There are some things going on at HUD (Fannie Mae, etc) that may just open up financing on used manufactured homes which would really help a lot of people. I hope to keep in touch! I have a few ads with floorplans that you may enjoy.
Great to hear from you!
We, myself and 2 other veterans are in the process to start small scale 20+ trailers a year in the $38,000 range manufacturing of 10 x 50 mobile homes. We are going through the long and endearing process of VA loans. Look forward to the revolution in all galvanized steel, steel stud based full construction, full 5″ foam insulated walls, and modern extrusion designs.
John @ PANORAMA
I am the proud owner of an 1060 ABC Super Coach 10X55 built by Rex Anderson. This home is in fantastic shape. it has a heated floor system. all of the plates are in tact. only flaw is someone did add an evaporative cooler which meant cutting a whole in the roof. Which also led to some water damage…thankfully it has been kept to a minimal. I am currently in the restoration phase and will post before and after photo’s.
Sounds like a gem, John! Please take lots of photos – I’d love to add it! Best of luck!
Did Richardson build 1957 trailers, it looks like it could be a 1955 8 x 32. I bought it in great condition, except it was painted partially on the outside on 3 sides to match the addition and roof covering it was under. The owners do not have a title, they think it’s a 1957 Richardson. I can not find a serial number anywhere. Please advise.
My husband and I bought a 1958 Richardson in 1970, right after we married. It was 8×35. We only paid $1,000 and loved it. Tiny house living long before the trend.
About 20 years ago I bought an old house and a 1955 Liberty trailer came with it. My title states it’s 46×8 mobile home. I’m unable to find much information on it. It has set on my property since 1969 is this trailer worth any type of value? It is rusty on outside and would need a lot of tlc but it contains all its origanal features and fixtures.
Liberty’s were fairly common mobile homes back in the day and the length is a too long for the ‘vintage camper craze’. If it’s been sitting for 20 years it’s likely not gonna get much, if anything at all, but you never know, someone may be willing to buy it or at the very least pull it off your land for free (cause it’s gonna cost the mover a few thousand to move).
Thanks for reading MHL!
my father was transferred t another state back in the middle 50s. he towed an 8 by 40 1953 Anderson mh
Mike, I own a 1953 Anderson Travel Trailer. Do you still have it? Or even interior pictures of it? Let me know Thanks. Joel
I do too
That is awesome! Ventoura did make some tri-levels and they had some models that looked remarkably like a site-built home (and yours reminds me of those). Let me look around and see if I can find some old ads to show you.
thanks for sharing!
Just wondering if you have ever heard of an American mobile home. We had one in the 1960’s. It was 45 feet long – had big jalousy windows – the roof was rounded. We have been wondering about it and just curious.
Hi Russel! There was an American Coach Company out of Michigan. They were around in the early 50’s (I’m not sure when they ended – it was probably via buyout though). They made some great looking homes and had lots of options and layouts available – one of their best features was the endless choices the buyer had.
Thanks so much for getting back to us. We have been looking on line to see if there is anything out there to show our grown children.
interested in finding a Richardson Regent Bi-level with a sun deck to restore or repair.