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History of Mobile Homes

History-of-Mobile-Homes

When we hear the word ‘home’, it might conjure up several images in our minds. Some might think of a large house, while others might imagine an apartment or cottage. However, the mobile home is also a permanent or semi-permanent dwelling for many Americans. We mostly know them as trailers or RVs, where the essential necessities for living are crammed into a very small space.  

Of course, mobile homes also come in many types. There could be huge, luxury recreational vehicles which people hire for a road trip. You may also be able to purchase or rent such a vehicle for somewhat permanent living purposes in order to have a more affordable lifestyle. Then again, there are the cramped yet convenient choices of regular mobile homes, which are often not the most comfortable place for living.

Mobile homes were created from a man’s necessity to adjust himself to the changing surroundings and economic conditions. These unique accommodations have evolved remarkably throughout the decades, from ornate horse-drawn carriages to trailers and campervans. We now think of mobile homes as tiny spaces, but still equipped with the basic amenities found inside a real house.

The history of mobile homes is indeed a fascinating one. Let’s take a look at the highlights of this journey below:

Horse-drawn

Horse-Drawn Homes

Mobile homes have been around since the 16th century, but the first mobile homes were once horse-drawn carriages. These were usually carrying merchants who would sell their wares from place to place. Well-off owners had more beautifully carved wagons.

While the first mobile homes might not have the amenities that the modern versions do, these would usually only have to accommodate a single person. The trader would probably be traveling alone or with a partner at the most.

Evolving Homes

The evolution of the mobile home was mostly during the 1900s when the automobile came into being. Today, we usually have mobile homes that are just very large automobiles. Back then, having a mobile home meant that you could easily move to several places and find work in order to support your family.

With the auto and home combined, one could have their family with them and also go off in search of new work when it was required. This made mobile living the best of both worlds and actually a very comfortable deal.  

Sundance-travel-trailer

The Sundance Travel Trailer

In June 1976, the US Congress passed the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act. This was to ensure that every mobile home built meets the highest national standards. In 1980, pressures from the mobile home industry itself prompted Congress to change the name “mobile homes” to “modular homes” in the bill. This sought to give a more desirable reputation to mobile homes as a higher-class product.

The Sundance trailer was one of the first to fulfill these new standards and have the amenities we’re used to today. In some ways, it must have set the precedent for the mobile homes that came afterward.

Social Standing

However, as we know, the term ‘mobile homes’ is still around, with ‘trailer’ being a close second. No one really uses the term ‘modular homes’ and the stigma of trailer parks is still there. Living in a mobile home is not considered an ideal situation, probably because it was a way for the poorest to eke out a living without actually becoming homeless.

Still, the new millennial trends have managed to raise the rank of mobile home living to some extent. Many are now seeing this lifestyle as one that epitomizes freedom and travel. Gaining experiences are among the most important goals for millennials, perhaps even more than buying a home and settling down.  According to this research, eco-friendly mobile homes could be the next big thing.

Two-Class-C-motorhomes

Class C Motor Homes

Class C motorhomes are usually based on Ford’s truck engines, as well as chassis and cabs, although those of Dodge and Chevy are also often used. Also called as “mini-motorhomes,” these RV’s have spaces allotted for hauling bicycles and motorbikes.

Needless to say, these are powerful vehicles and can provide a lot of fun for families on a vacation. They might even be handy for living on the road for some time due to financial constraints or just to unwind.

Typical-mobile-home

This is a typical mobile home built during the late 1960s or early 1970s. During that time (before June 1976) mobile homes were made bigger and wider, but their increasing size impeded their mobility.

A-houseboat

Houseboats

When we talk about mobile homes, a large vehicle is what we’re usually thinking of. If you think about it, though, a houseboat is just as much a mobile home as an RV.

As the name implies, a houseboat is a boat modified to function as a home. It is different from a boathouse, which is a structure designed to house and store boats. Some houseboats (especially those powered by a motor) are considered as mobile homes, but most of them are moored and attached to the land.

The Stats

About 20 million Americans make mobile homes as their permanent place to live. Mobile homes comprise about 6.4% of the US housing sector and have become a cheaper housing alternative for a lot of people.

 

A-motorhome

Motorhomes

A motorhome is another term for a recreational vehicle (“RV”), which is a structure built upon a chassis and engine for living purposes. These can be for recreational purposes or function as a permanent home.

There are also options known as extendable motorhomes. Extendable motorhomes are a testament to the ingenuity of many brilliant minds. These homes “stretch out,” or expand to accommodate an extra-comfy living space. Once unfolded, an expandable home often features windows and a porch — some are even equipped with solar panels.

Overall, we’d say an extendable motor home could be the house of the future. It presents some eco-friendly options, and is a convenient way of saving space when you don’t need it. This also frees one up to travel around the country and expand their minds with all sorts of experiences.

 

An-extendable-motorhome

Extendable motorhomes attest the ingenuity of many brilliant minds. These homes “stretch out,” or expand to accommodate extra comfy living space. Once unfolded, an expandable homes often feature windows and a porch — some are even equipped with solar panels.

Chateau-Sport-Class-C-motorhome

Many motorhomes are roomy enough to accommodate six people to sleep in as well as spacious slides. These motorhomes are also built with tough fiberglass.

Early-Dodge-based-Minnie-Winnie

Minnie Winnie

If you’re still not convinced that mobile homes could provide a good life, take a look at the Minnie Winnie.  This is one of the most popular RV’s in the country. It is a tall vehicle with a family-friendly floor plan, vinyl flooring, a high-definition flat-screen TV plus lots of storage space as well.

A-mobile-home

How to Live in a Mobile Home

If you want to try living in a mobile home yourself, you might need to read up beforehand. We suggest checking out the book “Trailersteading: How to Find, Buy, Retrofit, and Live Large in a Mobile Home” before anything else. It’s available here:

Authored by Anna Hess, this work lays out just how you can save a lot of rent money and time by living in a mobile home. It first introduced you to old single-wide mobile homes that you can even get for free. Living this way can minimize our ecological footprint, lower our energy bills, and help us live in a debt-free manner.

This work also includes several case studies about trailersteading individuals. Through this sort of frugal living, many mobile-home dwellers have been able to achieve their dreams. With the cash they save on rent, taxes, and mortgages, some have been able to renovate their mobile homes into luxury spaces. Some of these homes even include a basement, as well as pitched roofs, insulation, etc.

You’ll also read about how peaceful and freeing it is to live off the grid, while some stories will tell you how mobile living helped people to pursue their true passions. Whether this is making crafts at home, becoming a homesteader, or running a small business, a mobile home could help you get there.

If you already live in a mobile home, this book will still come in handy for giving you tips and guidelines about several issues. For instance, it would let you know that it’s quite easy to fit a single-wide trailer with solar panels, or advise you on decorating tips such as planting a trellis.

Conclusion

It’s unfortunate that many people still think of mobile home living as a negative thing. Now that we know more about this lifestyle, we know that there are actually many more positive aspects than negative ones. The next time you want to take a vacation, consider living in a mobile home for some time. The experience might be transformative and enjoyable, or at least something out of your comfort zone.

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