Tag Archives: travel trailer

1930s Roadhome Pullman Coach Catalog

I have always loved vintage travel trailers, and even considered searching out one in which to store my collection. Had I had more time, I might have actually pursued that option. As it turns out, I did add a trailer related object to my collection, this mid to late 1930s catalog for Roadhome Pullman Coaches.

There’ no date in the catalog, so I had to go by the dates to figure out when it was published. The models of the cars are probably the best clues, but I know little about vintage cars. So I went with the clothing the people are wearing. The lengths of the dresses and the hair styles sure look 1935 – 1936 to me. If you are a vintage car know-it-all, feel free to enlighten me.

Travel trailers had been around for a while in the 1930s. People had been using their autos for camping since the early days of the automobile. There were specially made tents that attached to the car, with the auto itself being used for sleeping. But as more people were hitting the ever-improving American highways, camping setups became more luxurious.

Why rough it and spend hours setting up camp when one could have a fully stocked cabin on wheels? There’d be more time for relaxing.

Campfires were optional when one had a fully-functioning kitchen.

That refrigerator is actually an icebox, though you could upgrade to gas or electrical. Power was limited, and so was conserved when possible.

At night the sofa became a bed. The walls were made of mahogany, a feature I’ve noticed in other trailers of that era.

These floor plans make the Roadhome look nice and spacious. If you have noticed the lack of a bathroom, the bathtub is hidden beneath a seat, and the toilet is contained in a closet.

What’s interesting is how the basic fundaments of a travel trailer have not changed much since the 1930s. They still have tiny kitchens and toilets concealed in closets. Furniture still serves double-duty when possible. But somehow the vintage ones are just more charming. Maybe I should find one for myself anyway.


Filed under Camping and Hiking, Catalogs, Travel, Vintage Travel

National Museum of American History – America on the Move

It wasn’t all about fashion last week in Washington.  I managed to work in a travel exhibition as well.  America on the Move is a survey of Americans going places.  It is part of the ongoing remodeling of the museum, and is a walk through various scenes that show how travel has changed over the years.  To give you an idea of the size of the museum, included is an exhibit with an actual Southern Railway locomotive.

Above is a 1903 Winston, which was the first car to cross the United States.  Driven by Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker, they drove from California to New York, picking up Bud the bulldog in Idaho.  In many places there were no roads at all, and they had to have equipment to remove them from gullies and such.  The trip was completed in 63 days.

In this scene, a girl is standing on the porch of a tourist cabin, part of Ring’s Rest, a small motor court in Maryland.  Built in 1930, the court remained open until the 1960s.  The Ringe family, which owned the motor court donated the building and Cabins sign along with many photographs that document the business.

Look how tiny!  I’ve been in a few of these older cabins where there is room for only a bed, a small table and a chair or two.

Ring’s Rest, 1940s

The trailer is a 1934 Trav-L-Coach which was owned by the Eben Cate family of New Hampshire.  The scene is of their camping spot at Decatur Motor Camp in York, Maine.  While Father Cate sits, sleeping beneath his paper, Mother and Daughter are conducting business as usual in the trailer kitchen.

The test notes pointed out that the trailer was already damaged where the cut-away section is.   This little taste of vintage trailers made me more than ever want to visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Station wagons were the mom vans and SUVs of the 1950s.  How would you like to load the back of this 1955 Ford Country Squire with a picnic basket full of great food, a Scotch Kooler, and a red plaid Pendleton blanket?


Filed under Museums, Road Trip

1948 Holiday Trailer

This was traveling in style! This ad for Holiday Tandem Trailers was in a 1948 Holiday magazine. They were meant for traveling, but the postwar housing shortage was so acute that many people ended up living in them.

This was famously depicted in the Lucille Ball/ Desi Arnez film, The Long. Long Trailer. The year was 1953, and I Love Lucy was already airing on television.  The studio, MGM, was a bit luke-warm about the project because they feared that people would not pay to see what they could stay home and watch on TV.  Arnez was so sure of the movie’s appeal that he bet $25,000 that that the movie would be the highest grossing comedy up to that date.  He won his bet!

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