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1951 - 1960

During the 1950s mobile homes and travel trailers appeared on the RV scene in a more interesting way ever. RV designs expanded in size and length. Increased living spaces, luxury interior decor, modern conveniences such as generators, refrigerators, real plumbing systems, complete kitchens and bathrooms transformed and accelerated RV industry. The 1950s were the decade of full bloom of the large trailers and motor coaches. First motor coaches with a body and interior built on a factory chassis and on a rear engine pusher chasis were built. By the end of the decade, the market clearly distinguish between mobile homes or travel trailers for full time living and travel trailers used for vacation.

1951, Landola
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

In 1951, Landola trailers were available in two models, 32 and 37 feet long. Both models feature ventilating type picture windows and aluminium exterior. This 37 feet Model 800 contains a triple-fold door that encloses the bolster bed davenport to provide a private bedroom at the front of the trailer. A handy adjacent is also
provided. This model is furnished with a shower, toilet, large bedroom, deluxe kitchen with snack bar and an 8 cu. ft. electric refrigerator.

1952, Highlander Boyer
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

Upstairs, downstairs, terraced... These are features of this 1952 Highlander model. The coach is claimed to have, in 29' 11" model, an interior floor space equal to that of single level trailers up to 37' 6" in length. The interior features a 3-level terraced construction plus an "inverted" arrangement.
Two-third of the interior is said to have a 7' 5" ceiling height. A complete bathroom and two private bedrooms are standard.

1952, Ford Bus
Source: www.rvs-r-us.com

1952 Ford school bus body converting into motorhome.

1953, Frank Motor Home
Source: www.rvs-r-us.com

Then in 1953, Ray Frank started a new industry when he built an all-weather travel vehicle for his family and he called it a "motor home". His motor home sat on a Dodge truck chassis. Responding to the great interest created by his first vehicle, Frank Ray began manufacturing motor homes.

1952, Space Queen
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

This amazing two-story trailer from 1952 was built for only one year. The manufacturer, Gemco Engineering & Mfg. Co. from Cincinnati, Ohio did not stay in business long.
The trailer was 26 feet long and 8 feet wide. The center bedroom compartment raised to the height of 19 feet. It had a fully equipped kitchen, living room and bathroom on the first floor and two bedrooms with double beds on the second.

1952, Rollohome
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

Rollohome Trailer Coach, located in Marshfield, Wisconsin, built the Rollohomes into the 1950s. The 1952 model offered the very first so-called "pull-out rooms" which were pulled out manually from the outside of the trailer. The trailers were 8 feet wide and 26 feet long and came with or without the pull-out room. Today's slide-out became widely available in 1990s.

1952, Executive Flagship

1952, Executive Flagship
Source: www.vintage-vacation.com

Built by Mid-States Corp., Los Angeles, in 1952, the Executive Flagship was the biggest house trailer ever to hit the road. It was 65 feet long, 16 feet wide and 13 1/2 feet high. It weighed 18 tons and rolled on 10 wheels. This huge rust-and-ivory land yacht was luxuriously equipped with kitchen, two bathrooms, seven-foot bird's eye maple bar, two refrigerators, wall-to-wall carpeting, radiophonograph, 21-inch TV, movie screen, indirect lighting, wine cellar, air conditioning, intercom, radiotelephone, and "pooch porch" for the dog. It had portable
swimming pool, 23 feet accross, with diving board. The upper sun deck could be used to board a helicopter. Six people could sleep. It was so big that it required a special permit to cruise on the road. The price for this house trailer was $75,000.

1953, Schult 8x27
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory
In 1934 Walter O. Wells and Wilbur Schult opened a shop in Ekhart with 20 carpenters and produced their first Schult trailer. Wilbur Schult was credited as the first man to begin RV manufacturing.

By April of 1937, Schult had 2 plants in Elkhart with over 250,000 combined square feet of manufacturing space
and had created a division in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He produced over 1500 trailers in 1937. He continued his dramatic growth and opened a division in Christchurch, New Zealand making him perhaps the first manufacturer producing units in three countries and on two continents.

Schult Trailers produced many industry innovations. That was the first manufacturer to extend his units standard width from 7 1/2 to a full 8 feet and the first to offer 7’ feet ceilings. That was the first manufacturer to build a full steel frame under his entry level products. Schult Trailers designed and installed an optional full trailer "air conditioning system" which circulated air over a vault of ice to cool the trailer.

1938 Continental Clipper was so remarkable that its owners included King Farouk of Egypt who later sold it to a Maharaja in India. See 1931-1940

Schult also built the trailers for the famed 1947 Gatti-Hallicrafters African Expedition. See 1931-1940

In 1957, the Schult Trailer Company evolved into the Schult Mobile Home Company and turned its attention completely to the manufactured housing. This company continues today as Schult Homes.


1953, Gilkie Deluxe
Source: members.tripod.com/nccamper


A Gilkie tent trailer from 1953 in unfolded position. Gilkie trailers had been introduced in the 1920s, and were built in Terre Haute, Indiana, by E.P. Gilkison & Sons.

Inside includes: wash basin, ice box, two beds/foldable couches, electric light hook-up, storage box, under bed storage, linoleum floor and fold out cooking tables.
Features include: rear and side window awnings, copper mesh screens, spoke wheels, two piece door.

In addition, the following accessoriesare included with the trailer: attachable room (canvas on metal structure), Gilkie free standing table, hydraulic jack, wheel dollies(2), travelguard tarp, trailer hitch-car attachment.

1954, Ranger Pop-Up Trailer
Source: www.funkyjunkfarms.com

This is a Ranger pop-up tent trailer, made with a fiberglass body. The manufacturer was Hille Engineering Corporation, Anaheim, California.

1955, Richardson Regent Bi-Level
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory
To keep up with the competition, Richardson Homes Corp. from Elkhart, Indiana, came up with an ingenius 2-story design in 1955. The trailer had two upstairs bedrooms with a rear exterior balcony. Downstairs boasted a large rear master bedroom, center bathroom, center kitchen and front living room. The mobile home was designed
to be pulled without needing an over-sized permit and was capable of sleeping up to eight people.

1955, Smoker Vista Liner
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

Smoker Lumber Company fron New Paris, Indiana, primarily built custom homes in the upper price range. Their homes were extremely well-built and high quality. In 1955, they were not only producing the longest trailers (55 ft.), but came out with a unique two-story type mobile home called 'Vista-Liner'.
The two-story part was on the front, or hitch end of the unit. It boasted four bedrooms and two baths. The downstairs had a short little escape door out of one of the the kid's bedrooms. The kitchen was in the center with the living room at the rear.

1955, Southwestern
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory


In mid 1955 Southwestern came out with a two-story trailer in a 35' length. Later they manufactured much larger 2-story homes in both 8 and 10 feet wides. Coach features three bedrooms, all privately accessible to the bathroom. It sleeps up to eight comfortably.

1956, Spencer Teardrop
Source: www.lnqs.com



Teardrop trailers have made their appearance around the 1930's, and flourished through the 1940's, and 1950's.Many of the teardrops were built by individuals who followed plans that appeared in Popular Mechanics.
1954, Lil Abe
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory


1957, Lil Abe
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

In 1950s Lincoln Mobile Homes offered tiny egg-shaped campers called "Abe's Campers" that could sleep three or four persons. All models had stove, sink, refrigerator, bed and dinette which easily converted to bed.



1958, H.B. McGinness Trailer
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory


In the 1958, Canadian company, H.B. McGinness Inc.,
marketed this 10 feet wide model.

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THIS COMPANY AND THEIR TRAILERS.

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1958, Alaskan Campers
Source: alaskancamper,com
In 1953, Don Hall designed a popup truck camper for a three-month trip to Alaska. But the demand for this camper was so great, he started building them for the public in 1958. In five years, five factories were building Alaskan Campers. In another two years, two more factories were built in Canada and two factory outlets opened. The first unit
was constructed so that the top, by an hydraulic system, could be raised and lowered. This allowed for full standing room in the interior when in camp, but when on the road, the unit was snugged down with only a few inches of camper roof extending above the truck cab. The result was reduced wind resistance and increased gas mileage.

1959, Shasta Airflyte
Source: www.vintage-vacations.com

This is a 1959 Shasta Airflyte travel trailer with two little wings on the back, a Shasta trademark of the era. Shasta Industries, founded in 1941, is the oldest continuous manufacturer of recreational vehicle in USA. A producer of class C motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers, Shasta is a division of Elkhart-based Coachmen Industries. This small "building on wheels" was one of the most popular travel trailers back in the 1940s and 1950s.

1960, Boles-Aero Zenith
Source: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

In 1960, Boles-Aero introduced a small, medium priced, 15 feets, Zenith model with a very agressive front end design. This is the first that was seen of the cab-over bed.
1960, Rocinante
Source: National Steinbeck Center


In 1960 the writer, John Steinbeck, set out on a cross country trip in a new GMC pick-up truck, with a camper unit attached to the truck bed. The camper had double bed, four-burner stove, heater, refrigerator and lights operating on butane, chemical toilet, closet space, storage space, and windows screened against insects. He named his camper Rocinante.
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AN ARTICLE:

CANADA'S FIRST TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

In June 24, 1866, Father Antoine Belcourt, parish priest at South Rustico, purchased a steam powered automobile from the USA. Belcourt undertook to demonstrate the machine on the occasion of the parish picnic on June 24, 1866. The machine went out of control, ran off the road, went through a fence, and rolled over, thus creating what we have called the first traffic accident in Canada.



CANADA'S FIRST ROAD SIGNS

In 1913, Ontario Motor League starts its Road Signing Program. By 1937, more than 200,000 road signs are erected on Ontario highways by OML.


FIRST CROSS-CANADA TRIPS BY CAR

In 1912, Thomas Wilby and Jack Haney drove their four-cylinder REO from Halifax to Victoria. The trip took 52 days. "Roads were bad", Mr. Haney wrote in his diary on just the second day of the expedition. By the time they reached Ontario, the roads were "rotted, full of deep holes. Had to ford two creeks today, bridges out." Where there were no roads, Wilby either hoisted his automobile onto a railway flatcar or simply drove bumpily over the railway ties.

***

In 1925, at the age of 64, Perry Doolittle, founder of CAA, drove a Canadian-built Model T Ford from Halifax to Vancouver. He carried a commemorative scroll that was signed by mayors of towns and cities along the 7,670 km route. On the morning of September 8, the Model T was backed into the Atlantic on a sandy strip of beach near Halifax. Forty days later, on October 17, 1925, the front wheels were dipped into the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver. There were only a few hundred kms of paved roads in Canada at the time, mainly in or near the larger cities. In the Maritimes, Doolittle and his Model T pushed through roads so narrow that tree branches and bushes scraped the sides of the car. In Northern Ontario, the pace slowed to less than 30 kms a day as the car crawled over rocks and through mud holes. Later came stretches of prairie mud and a spine-chilling descent through the Rockies on roads designed for horse drawn wagons. The Model T, which proved to be remarkably hardy, never-theless averaged 190 kms a day for the entire trip and suffered only four punctures. On 14 occasions, the car's rub-ber wheels were replaced with steel flanged rims so that it could be driven along the transcontinental railway lines. Of the 7,670 kms covered, some 1,365 kms were done on the rails. The arrival in Vancouver marked the first successful comple-tion of a cross-Canada trip by a car under its own power, without leaving Canadian soil.

***

A trans-Canada motor trip was not possible until a Canadian highway link was completed in 1943.

Then in May of 1946, Brigadier R.A. Macfarlane, DSO, and Squadron Leader K.A. MacGillivary dipped the rear wheels of a new post-war Chevrolet in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Louisbourg, NS, and nine days and 4,743 miles (7636 km) later, dipped the front wheels in the Pacific Ocean at Victoria. By this accomplishment, Macfarlane and MacGillivary were the recipients of the A.E. Todd Gold Medal first offered in 1912 by the then mayor of Victoria.


KEEP RIGHT

Until the 1920s, the rule of the road in Canada varied from province to province, with British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island having cars driving on the left, and the other provinces and territories having motorists driving on the right. Between 1920 and 1923, these provinces' motorists were made to drive on the right. Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949, its motorists drove on the left until 1947.


WHY ARE TRAFFIC LIGHTS RED, GREEND AND YELLOW?

The choice of these colors for traffic signals was based on the colors used as signals to control the trains. RED was an obvious choice for stop. For millennia red has been the color of danger in the wild; red is the color of blood. If it is necessary to stop something, red will get the attention. The other two colors could have been any color and, in fact, there were some changes made in the early days of railroad traffic. Originally GREEN was the color for caution and WHITE or CLEAR meant go. This had problems from the beginning because the white lights in other lights such as street lamps or even stars could easily be confused with the WHITE go signal. The signals lights were colored by using RED, GREEN and CLEAR filters. One railroad crash was caused when the RED filter of a stop signal fell out leaving only the white bulb signalling go. After these experiences, railroad engineers suggested changes. RED would be the stop signal; GREEN, the go; and YELLOW, caution. Under these rules if a lens ever did fall out, the white light would indicate to the engineer that something was amiss.


WORLD'S FIRST PNEUMATIC TYRE


The world’s 1st pneumatic tyre was invented in 1888, in Belfast, by John Boyd Dunlop, a veterinary surgeon by profession. He was watching his son ride his tricycle. Noticing that his son was encountering difficulty and discomfort while riding over cobbled ground, Dunlop realized that this was because of the vehicle's solid rubber tires and began looking for a way to improve them.

The solution he came up with was a rubber tube filled with air to give it cushioning properties. Dunlop patented the design and it wasn't long before bicycle and automobile manufacturers recognized the design's potential usefulness in their fields.


FIRST BRAKES

The first brakes were based on those used on the horse-drawn vehicles and on bicycles. A solid block of wood, leather or metal was forced against the wheel rims by a hand-operated lever, or a contracting band of friction material acted upon the propeller shaft in conjunction with externally-contracting brakes fitted to drums on the rear wheel. The external brake demonstra-ted some serious flaws in everyday use. On hills, for example, the brake un-wrapped and gave way after several seconds. A driver unlucky enough to stall on a grade soon found himself rolling backward. For this reason, chocks were an important piece of on-board equipment. It was a common sight to see a passenger scurrying from inside the car with wood in his hands to block the wheels. In 1908, English inventor Herbert Frood came up with a combina-tion of woven asbestos, brass wire, and resins that worked very well indeed, and it became the standard for the next seven decades or so.

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