We pick up our early history of the mobile home back in the United States. By the turn of the 20th century, several developments were in motion that would result in the birth of the house and camping trailer industry.
Motorized transportation was beginning to replace the horse-drawn method by 1900. Moreover, paved highways had started to link cities and towns across the nation. The grueling 7-day, 80-hour schedule was being shortened to the standard, 5-day, 40-hour work week. This made the first common-folk vacations possible.
Lastly, the formation of the National Park Service, in August 1916, was establishing vast stretches of unspoiled forested land where such vacations could be enjoyed by the masses. In order to do so, makeshift, home-made "trailer houses" were hastily assembled, which could be towed by that new Ford Model T.
Soon, American industry was exploiting the trend. The first factory-made "trailer house" was devised by New York's Glenn H. Curtiss, whose Motor Bungalow debuted in 1919. However, it was a lavishly-appointed, luxury item affordable only to those of means.
In this photo we see a 1938 model Curtiss Aerocar Company Land Yacht, a descendant of the Curtiss Company's 1919-vintage Motor Bungalow. The Aerocar Land Yacht was, in essence, the world's first "fifth wheel" -type travel trailer.
Photo from "Ready To Roll: A Celebration of the Classic American Travel Trailer"
The next mobile home milestone occurred in the late 1920s. Indiana's Arthur G. Sherman developed the first affordable, hard-sided (in opposition to a tent) trailer house. Mr. Sherman presented his first Covered Wagon model at a 1928 auto show in Detroit and received orders for one hundred and eighteen initial units. Soon, his Covered Wagon Company would dominate the fledgling American trailer industry.