Vintage Views: Wingfoot Homes
The manufactured homes of today are a direct descendant of the automobile era. The pulling power of a large engine made them possible. Before that our wheeled, moveable homes were limited to what a couple of strong animals could pull.
When mass production of affordable cars with high towing capacity became the way of life, our movable homes became bigger and better.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company got their start making tires but they also ventured into other venues such as manufacturing mobile homes.
After the soldiers came home from WWII there was a huge need for housing and many companies stepped up to provide those houses. Goodyear came out with their Wingfoot Home.
The blog Instant House explains, “The company’s intention was to sell a completely outfitted home (including built-in furniture) for less than $2,000. The idea was that unlike other prefabricated or mass-produced housing, the house would be built COMPLETELY in the factory. Most fabricators were building components that were then assembled. Wingfoot shipped their homes COMPLETE — the forerunner of today’s mobile homes.
“Shipping a completed house presents a unique problem–it couldn’t be more than 8 feet wide! Today’s “Oversize Load” tractor trailers make wider loads possible, but they are quite expensive. Wingfoot decided to avoid this altogether by engineering their house to be 8 feet wide at the time of shipping. The bedroom sections of the house pulled out “like drawers” once the house was at the site. The final house measures 26 feet long and 15 feet wide at its widest point.
Wingfoot homes were popular out west where it was difficult to get labor and where building codes were less strict. Wingfoot homes are not designed to go over foundations. I cannot find any record of how many Wingfoots were produced or shipped, though the internet tells me there are enclaves of them in Arizona and southern California.
All photos and copy are the property of The Instant House Blog. A great blog about instant houses!