The global conflict of the first half of the 1940s created a pronounced housing shortage and mass market for the trailer coach. In the flurry to create wartime housing for defense plant workers, units were often shoddily-built. 

The negative image of trailer life, fostered by the economic crash of the 1930s, was refueled by perceptions of house trailers as a slipshod and second-rate housing option.  

However, immediately after the war, superbly-crafted rigs were being built by manufacturers such as Detroiter, Universal, Owosso, Schult and Spartan. These were marketed to returning GIs and their wives as an economical way to achieve the American Dream of home ownership. The negative image of the house trailer, held by most of the American public, began to improve.

By the late 1940s, the big promotional buzz word of the day was LIVEABILITY. There could be "room to spare" in quarters no larger that 200 square feet...or so said the typical trailer advertisement. Naturally, super-compact designs made sure that every inch of interior space was used in the most efficient manner possible!


The original caption reads "With the accent on interior designing in 1949 models, the mobile home builders have concentrated on beautiful wall surfaces. In the home shown here, living room walls are of luxurious wood, decoratively pegged and topped with a fluted cornice which conceals indirect lighting. Wall-to-wall carpeting, draw draperies and an upholstered valance complete the picture of livability."
Photo from the Milwaukee Sentinel



A typical mobile home from 1950. At the time, a trailer with full bathroom facilities was cutting edge. Yes, there WAS a complete bathroom, but it might not be walled off from the hallway and rear bedroom. The body design du jour had rounded ends. The standard interior width was 8 feet, with chassis lengths reaching 30 feet.

Click on image for a larger view

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