Article reproduced from the Instant House Blog
When is a trailer not a trailer?
Answer: when it’s a Wingfoot House! Wingfoot Homes was the brainchild of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Apparently, selling tires wasn’t enough. The world’s best known tire company tried to cash in on the low-cost, post WWII housing boom. The company’s intention was to sell a completely outfitted home (including built-in furniture) for less than $2,000. The idea was that unlike other prefabricated or mass produced housing. The house would be built completely in the factory. Most prefabricators were building components that were later assembled on-site. Wingfoot homes were not designed to go over foundations and were ship completely built – the forerunner of today’s mobile homes.
Getting It There
If you’ve read my previous posts (because you’re my friend, you take pity on me, or both), then you know that shipping is the biggest problem with most prefabricators faced. Shipping a completed house presents a unique problem – the house can’t be more than 8 feet wide! Today’s “Oversize Load” tractor trailers make wider loads possible, but they are quite expensive. Wingfoot decided to avoid this altogether by engineering their house to be 8 feet wide at the time of shipping. Once the house was on site the bedroom sections pulled out “like drawers.” The final house measures 26 X 15 at its widest point when extended. See below for plans.
Wingfoot homes were popular out west, where it was difficult to get labor to build a home and where building codes were less strict. Although I cannot find any record of how many Wingfoots were produced or shipped the internet tells me there are enclaves of them in Arizona and southern California.
Shea found this ad and sent it to me, it is neat because it is in color. It would be fun to find a current photo of one of these. I’m sure one is out there somewhere.