How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
When were the first double-wide mobile homes manufactured?
Friday, July 27, 2018
It depends on how you define a double-wide mobile home. The “Dubl-Wide” was manufactured in 1961 by the Roadliner Company, and it boasted a double width in 8, 9, and 10-foot increments. But the mobile home was what would be called a “pop-out” today: it was a single-wide home with an inset section that extended out electrically once the home was in place—a very advanced concept for the era. An ad for the Dubl-Wide Roadliner is shown below. Going back even further in time, double-wide manufactured homes were built in 1942 and 1943 by Schult Homes, for the U.S. Government’s Tennessee Valley Authority, to provide housing for the WWII workers in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb. They called them “TVA” homes and a photo of one under construction and near completion is also shown below. The marriage line is between the two front windows.
Then there’s Palace Coach Co., of Flint, Michigan, and their 1942 “Palace” mobile home, an “expando” triple-wide with fold-out panels on both sides, another WWII innovation for housing.
But the first true multi-section homes of size and scale similar to modern double-wides, designed to be transported separately and then permanently connected at the homesite, began appearing in the late 1960s. By the 1969 model-year, several manufacturers offered double-wide homes. The first ones didn’t look much different than their predecessors. They were shiny metal boxes with a low-pitch roof.
Later, as manufacturers recognized that their customers wanted units that looked more like a site-built home, residential siding and asphalt shingle roofs began to be offered; but, for a history of earlier mobile homes, go to our blog post What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?
To see more examples of early mobile homes and travel trailers, we suggest visiting the Atlas Mobile Home Museum website at: http://www.allmanufacturedhomes.com/.
Also, the RV/MH Hall of Fame, located in Elkhart, Indiana, has a collection of photos of early travel trailers and mobile homes that are part of their museum display at their website: http://www.rvmhhalloffame.org/.
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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES:
Special thanks to historian Al Hesselbart, of Bushnell, FL, for his contribution of historic data and images.
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