Discover How Luxury Travel Trailers Have Changes Over the Decades

The Oregon Trail, gypsies traveling through 19th century Europe, and The Gold Rush of the West, when you conjure images of these moments in history, I can imagine you’re most likely not picturing a modern RV.

But these historical moments laid the groundwork for the modern luxury travel trailers we know today. While the covered wagons of yesteryear are a far cry from the Lithium battery-powered mobile homes of today, they proved the value of having a vessel large enough to carry people, animals, and belongings long distances.

The 1910s: RVs begin to be mass-produced.

According to Smithsonian, the first RV was unveiled at Madison Square Garden in 1910. It was Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau and included a back seat that folded into a bed. For the bathroom, it boasted a chamber pot toilet and a sink that folded down from the back of the driver’s seat. 

Soon, other companies followed suit with Los Angeles Trailer Works, Auto-Kamp Trailers, and other manufacturers producing their own versions of the RV, which they called auto campers. 

And for those who couldn’t afford to buy a travel trailer, they would build their own, swapping their car body with a camper body. 

The 1920s-1940s: Trailers start to look like what we know today.

Living rooms, kitchens, screened windows—RVs of the 1920s started to bring the comforts of home to the road. With roads increasingly becoming paved, longer trips became possible, and travelers realized they could have the best of both worlds: the open road and a home base. 

But it was toward the tail end of the 1920s that the modern travel trailer started to truly take shape. Arthur Sherman built the first modern travel trailer and called it the Covered Wagon.

He got the idea after camping with his family and had to set up a tent trailer in a rainstorm. By 1935, the Covered Wagon Company was producing 40 units per day per plant. According to the RV/MH Hall of Fame, Sherman also invented the first national floor plan and consumer finance plan.

During The Great Depression, motorhomes were used as inexpensive housing, with the price being between $500 and $1000 per trailer. At the onset of WWII, the US military purchased trailers with showers and baths that housed soldiers and their families.

The 1940s also saw trailers used as mobile dressing rooms in Hollywood. Howard Hughes, a well-renowned movie producer, had 8 RVs built, containing mahogany, bathrooms, a refrigerator, stove and air conditioners for actors and actresses to use between scenes.

The 1950s: Technological advances and a focus on comfort.

With soldiers returning home from WWII, travel trailers and RVs increased in popularity. They provided an inexpensive way for young families to travel.

As demand increased, so did companies’ attempts to set themselves apart from the competition. Plumbing and refrigeration became mainstream, with consumers realizing they didn’t have to trade comfort for adventure.

The 1950s also saw the introduction of luxury travel trailers. The motorhomes became grander, and their interiors started to look more home-like. Models like the Executive Flagship RV were 65 feet long, with carpeting, two bathrooms and even a diving board. It wasn’t uncommon to see two-story campers with private bedrooms and TVs. 

In 1954, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz starred in “The Long, Long Trailer,” a pithy comedy detailing newlyweds bubbling travels around the US. 

The 1960s to the Present: Always advancing and improving.

The first six decades of travel trailer history laid the foundation for the modern luxury travel trailers we know, love, and benefit from today. The latter 60 years of travel trailers leading into the present have shifted as technology and our world evolves. 

Any appliance, electronic, or amenity you can find in your home can also be found in the modern travel trailer. TVs, multiple bedrooms, showers, toilets, sinks, ovens, microwaves, and all the comforts of the 21st century are now transportable.

When you elect for a luxury travel trailer, it takes that transportable comfort a step further. With state-of-the-art air and water filtration systems, it doesn’t matter where you source your water from or the air quality of the environment you’re staying in; your air and water will be pure.

Some manufacturers also offer GPS tracking for an extra layer of security as you travel through unfamiliar places. They give you the option to choose specific users to access your location in real-time.

So whether to anticipate your arrival or view the status of your trip to coordinate camping off-grid with friends and family, travel trailers with GPS tracking allow for peace of mind.

The luxury travel trailer has come a long way since its inception over 100 years ago, but the joy of owning a traveling home remains the same. There’s something about traveling the open road from the comfort of your own home that simply can’t be replicated and stands the test of time.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *