Back to the Future: Fun Facts about RVing and its History
Where we have been...
RV HistoryAmericans, it seems, have been destined to be RVers since the earliest days that explorers set foot on this continent. Adventurers at heart, settlers came in search of freedom and opportunities to grow and discover. And discover they did - “first by ship, then by horse, in groups by Conestoga wagon trains and, ultimately, by motorized vehicles that ushered in the RVs of today.
The Birth of the RV IndustryA century ago, the popularization of the automobile, improving roads and America's passion for exploration gave rise to mass-produced, manufactured recreation vehicles, and the RV industry was born.
In 1910, there were not many gas stations, not many paved roads, and no nationwide highway system. But there were RVs. 1910 is the year that America's leading RV historians - David Woodworth, Al Hesselbart and Roger White - cite as the beginning of what has become the modern RV industry.
|RVing was definitively different in the past|
"The 1910 RVs offered minimal comforts compared to today's
homes-on-wheels," says Woodworth. "But they did provide the freedom
to travel anywhere, to be able to get a good night's sleep and enjoy home
cooking. One notable contrast to today's RV was the bathroom. In 1910, it was
usually either yonder tree or yonder bush."
The Freedom to Travel Anywhere
The First RV ModelsCamping trailers made by Los Angeles Trailer Works and Auto-Kamp Trailers also rolled off the assembly line beginning in 1910. A version of today's Type B van camper, the Pierce-Arrow "Touring Landau," was unveiled at Madison Square Garden that same year, complete with an onboard bathroom. These companies and innovative products were featured in a Popular Mechanics issue in 1911. Take a stroll down memory lane to see where we've been.
The 1913 Earl was an ancestor of the contemporary travel trailer.
|A vintage version of 1913 "Earl" Travel Trailer and Model "T"" Ford|
The Tin Can Tourists
|One of the first Tin Can Tourist Camps|
RV camping clubs date back to the Tin Can Tourists of the 1920s and 1930s. The Tin Can Tourists were RVers who braved dust and mud to drive their Tin Lizzies across the U.S. before transcontinental roads were paved. They camped by the side of the road, heated tin cans of food on gasoline stoves and bathed in cold water.
1950From tiny do-it-yourself kits to plush 30-foot models, travel trailers came into their own as true towable RVs by 1950. Many of today's RV manufacturers started production in the 1950s and 1960s. The RV's evolutionary path included advances in aerodynamic design and interior comforts.
1970 and BeyondThrough war and peace, booms and busts, fuel lines, fads and the cyber-revolution, the RV lifestyle has endured and is still going strong, even in today's challenging economic times.
Never Forget ...
|What your Beaver Motorcoach is this?|
Here's a short List of Gone but not forgotten RV Manufacturers:Beaver - Beaver Motorcoach Corporation was founded in the late 1960s by Jim Hogue and Frank Storch. The company was named after the Oregon State University mascot. The firm originally built slide-in campers for pickup trucks
Carriage - Carriage started in the late 1960s and built a reputation for quality high-end fifth-wheels, employing more than 275 workers at its peak
ElDorado - In 1960, in the small town of Minneapolis, Kan., Stewart joined other local business people to begin Honorbuilt Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer of recreational vehicles. Later known as ElDorado, this company quickly became the largest producer of pickup campers in the United States.
Georgie Boy - Georgie Boy Manufacturing, LLC was founded in 1968 in Middlebury, Indiana offering motorhomes under the names Maverick, Pursuit, and Cruise Master. These motorhomes catered to families for holiday trips and vacations.
Komfort - Komfort Corp.was founded in 1967 and has been part of the Thor Industries Inc. family since 1995
Skyline - Founded in 1951 in Elkhart, Indiana, Skyline initially produced the affordable housing units popularly known as house trailers or mobile homes. These units evolved into today's factory-built and modular housing. In 1960, they opened their first travel trailer plant.
Vixen - The Vixen was a recreational vehicle designed by Bill Collins and built from 1986 until 1989. A total of 587 Vixen motorhomes of three different types were built: the Vixen 21 TD (1986 to 1987), Vixen 21 SE (1986 to 1989), and Vixen 21 XC (1986 to1987).
Weekend Warrior - Some might consider it the father of the toy hauler industry. Warrior Manufacturing, founded in 1988 in Warmouth's garage, achieved its peak success as a leader and specialist in the toy hauler market.
GMC - The GMC Motorhome was produced by the GM Truck & Coach Division for the 1973 through 1978 model years in Pontiac, Michigan, USA. It was the only complete motorhome built by a major auto/truck manufacturer, producing what GMC hoped would be their "halo" vehicle.
The Last 5 years of RVingNow many are living the RV lifestyle and are as excited to be on that very first trip. Some who are no longer newbies and now find themselves answering the same questions as ambassadors of RVing.
The modern day RVer has definitely changed the landscape of RVing and we’ve noticed some changes. Here are the five things that we think have changed the most about the RV Lifestyle from when our company first started out:
|Today's RVer is everything from a full-timer to a weekend warrior. What kind of RVer are you?|
1) Technology - Thanks to solar panels that can constantly charge a large bank of lithium batteries, you can basically be energy independent. This can open up opportunities to travel the whole country conveniently. You can boondock pretty much anywhere, as long as you want.
2) The Internet - Now, connectivity is just a given. Connectivity means you can actually multitask and get just as much done as if you were in a business or small office. You don't have to miss deadlines for meetings or worry about not getting access to your WIFI
3) Communications - Now, communication can all be done on my Smartphone. From anywhere and virtually anytime.
4) Community and Friends - Common interests brings people together. Until you start living the RV lifestyle you may not realize that there really are a lot of wonderful people out there. But when you go out across the country, slow down, meet people in campgrounds in parks and small towns and really get to know them, you may realize that the world is really full of nice people.
5) RVing is now an "in" thing - Over the past few years, there has been a lot of new RVers. There's a whole genre of RV and Travel blogs, TV shows and major media coverage now devoted to the romance, adventure and fun of RVing. We're seeing more communities embracing and warmly welcoming RV travelers and we're noticing younger people out there. You've probably run across whole families on the road, with the kinds being home schooled in the RV. You will find in time that this is more than a pastime. It's a major trend.
You can trust our knowledgeable crew members who are available to assist you with your RV buying and RV service needs. Our RV dealerships are stocked with new RVs from top name and rated brands, complemented by high-quality pre-owned RVs. With a vast inventory of models and floor plans, La Mesa RV has an RV for every lifestyle!
Our sales locations have state of the art service facilities with RVDA Master Certified technicians. We also have buyers available if you are trying to sell your used RV.
We look forward to opening our doors to you, and encourage you to explore all the RV lifestyle has to offer.