RVing from 1931 to 1940

A 1932 Trotwood Trailer

1932, Trotwood Trailer
Source: www.vintage-vacations.com

A 1932 Gilkie Camp Trailer

1932, Gilkie Camp Trailer
Photo courtesy: Linda and Norm Payne

Photo of 3 campers traveling in the wilds of Northern British Columbia

1934, Expedition into Northern British Columbia
Source: National Archives of Canada

1935 Road Chief

1935 Road Chief all aluminum travel trailer

The Curtiss Aerocar side profile

1936, Curtiss Aerocar
Photo courtesy: Lana & Ken Hindley

The Curtiss Aerocar front view

1936, Curtiss Aerocar
Photo courtesy: Lana & Ken Hindley

The Pierce Arrow Travel Lodge side profile

1936, Pierce Arrow Travel Lodge
Photo courtesy: Trombinoscar

The Pierce Arrow Travel Lodge

1936, Pierce Arrow Travel Lodge
Photo courtesy: Trombinoscar

The Airstream Clipper

1936, Airstream Clipper
Atlas Mobile Home Directory

Airfloat Coach

1937, Airfloat Coach
Source: www.vintage-vacations.com

A 1937 teardrop trailer

1937, Teardrop Trailer
Source: Unknown

Gattis Jungle Yacht

1938, Gatti's Jungle Yacht
Photo courtesy: Atlas Mobile Home Directory

Continental Clipper

1938, Continental Clipper
Source: www.lnqs.com<

1930s were the decade of house trailers, which became more popular than tents. Hundreds of manufacturers began to make, usually small numbers, of travel trailers. The smallest were tear-drops, the largest would seem palatial even today. Kits were sold that allowed one to convert light car chassis into a trailer. Steel trailers become more common.

This Trotwood model was a sensation back in 1932. It was one of the first trailers designed to feature a door on the side instead of in back.

1932 Gilkie tent trailer was made of khaki canvas stretched over folding frames which stayed upright when a central ridgepole was inserted between them. Folding metal poles pushed up and locked into place which held up the canvas tent corners to create the roof and sides with "drawers" that pulled out on each side to make two double beds with an aisle in the middle, and a cooking area under the window at the opposite end from the door.

1935 ROAD CHIEF is a all aluminium travel trailer designed by Hawley Bowlus.It is ultra-light weighing only about 1100 lbs. It can be pulled easily with a small car. It is made of panels of riveted alclad aluminum which is screwed to a galvanized steel tubing that is acetylene welded together. This constuction method is very similar to the way aircrafts were constructed.

FEATURES: Streamline body, all metal frame and complete outside coverings, thorough insulation against heat and cold, safety glass windows, dust proof, two separate sleeping compartments with inner spring mattresses for four persons, ample storage space, electricity (110 and 6 volt), telephone to car; all metal kitchen, refrigerator and Coleman stove, 18 gal water tank, Houdaille shock absorbers, puncture-proof tubes, ball and socket hitch. The door is in the front, over the tongue.

This travel trailer was built in Michigan by the Aerocar Company of Detroit. This style of travel trailer was invented in 20's by Glenn Curtiss, a leading American aircraft designer. Aerocars had a gooseneck design in the front and were usually pulled by large coupes with a fifth-wheel-attaching device.

Pierce-Arrow, the builder of prestigious cars, was in financial difficulties during the 1930s. In what seemed a last attempt to save a proud name he decided to go into the trailer business and set up the Travelodge division. Production started in mid- summer 1936 and lasted until November the same year. Three models were offered: 19', 16' 6" and 13' 7" long. The trailer on the left was designed for four persons and full equipped with the usual equipment. Pierce-Arrow first built the all metal trailer and was one of the first manufacturers to offer brakes for his trailers. In this case Bendix brakes.

1936, the Airstream Trailer Co. introduced the "Clipper". The Clipper was truly revolutionary. With its monocoque, riveted aluminum body, it had more in common with the aircraft of its day than with its predecessors. It could sleep four, thanks to its tubular steel-framed dinette which could convert to a bed, carried its own water supply, had an enclosed galley, and was fitted with electric lights throughout. The Clipper boasted of its advanced insulation and ventilation system, and even offered "air conditioning" that used dry ice.

This 1937 Airfloat is equipped like the smartest of steamlined trains. Eight large porthole windows provide light and side vision of the outside world.

Teardrops are miniature travel trailers, round-backed and light enough to be towed by the family car or even a motorcycle and have a distinct teardrop shape. There is room for two people to sleep comfortably inside. Depending on the model, it includes a queen or full-sized bed. The sleeping cabin is hard-sided and doesn't need to be popped open like a pop-up trailer. The cabin can serve double-duty as a cargo area during travel. The typical size of a Teardrop is 4 feet by 8 feet, generally about four feet high. The kitchen is accessed from the rear of the trailer by raising the back hatch of the trailer. There is room for a ice chest, portable stove, and a basic set of pots, pans, cooking utensils and some food. Many of the teardrops were built by individuals who followed plans that appeared in Popular Mechanics. Teardrop trailers have made their appearance around the 1930's, and flourished through the 1940's, and 1950's.

One of two Jungle Yacht, used in Gatti's African exedition. Gatti was an Italian author who spent much of his time in central Africa. These yachts appear to be a sort of semi-trailers. In camp, they were joined to form a five-room apartment for Gatti and his wife. The trailers were a 40’ stainless steel units with living room, observation/dining car with library, desk, and bar, two perfectly appointed bedrooms and an all-electric kitchen. Units had indirect lighting, telephone and two-way radio. The trailers were built by Schult Trailers.

The Schult Trailers also built a custom 50-ft fifth wheel called the Continental Clipper for publishing magnate Myron Zobel. That was a large semi-trailer pulled by a GMC cab-over and had all the latest conveniences, including a flying bridge observation lodge, and even a wine cellar. Later Zobel sold it to King Farouk of Egypt, who in turn sold it to an Indian maharajah.

General Trailer Products


The General Trailer Products Arcady

1939, Arcady
Photos Courtesy of >Atlas Mobile Home Directory

The General Trailer Products Romany

1939, Romany
Photos Courtesy of Atlas Mobile Home Directory

The General Trailer Products popup tent trailer

1939, Tent Trailer
Photos Courtesy of Atlas Mobile Home Directory

In 1939, Canadian company, General Trailer Products marketed two models, Arcady and Romany, claiming 80 years in custom body building. This would date the companies beginnings in 1859, most likely building camping and expiditionary items.

General Trailer Products also built tent trailers similar to Gilkie trailers.

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Did You Know RV History Icon Background

One hour and six minutes spent per day travelling per person in all societies. The average distance travelled is 12,000 km (7,400 miles) per year. In total, the world population travels more than 87 trillion km per year, 53% of which is by car, 26% by bus, 9% by rail, 9% by high-speed transport such as aeroplanes, and 3% by bicycle, boat and other means.