Trends And Innovation

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Blog, Floor Coatings

The 1940s and 1950s were a time of innovation in American housing. In the post-World War II era the surge in demand for new homes to accommodate returning veterans and their families created a crisis.  It was so severe that an act of congress issued on May 22, 1946, declared a national housing emergency.

 In an 1894 translation of Plato’s Republic the phrase “our need will be the real creator” was loosely rendered as “The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.” That adage aptly applied to the post war housing crisis. 

Before the war Chicago industrialist and inventor Carl Strandlund had profitably pioneered an innovative type of construction. He manufactured prefabricated enameled steel buildings with a few set styles. They were sold in uniform designs to oil companies for use as service stations. 

 The post war shortage of steel led the government to develop a system of allocation. Service station construction was not deemed a priority. But housing was, and so Strandlund launched Lustron homes. This proved to be a short-lived but unique solution to the housing shortage.  

Introduced in 1947, these homes were like the service station kits he had produced before the war. Floor plans offered were minimal to ensure faster production. He customized a fleet of trucks that could deliver a 12-ton house kit in one trip. 

If a site had been prepared, and the slab poured. It was conceivable that a house could be assembled and be move in ready within seven days. The enameled steel homes were designed to be low-maintenance and durable, appealing to modern families who valued time-saving conveniences. 

As the outside panels, including roofing, and interior panels including ceiling, were made of enameled steel mounted on steel framing, the homes never needed paint. Steel cabinets, shelves, and bathroom fixtures were built into the walls. 

The Lustron Corporation aimed to revolutionize the housing market with its assembly-line efficiency and modular construction. However, despite the innovative approach, the company produced only 2,498 homes before going bankrupt in 1950. Surprisingly, nearly 2,000 are known to survive. 

These quirky steel homes were marketed as the “house of the future,” with promises of a new and richer experience for the entire family. Advertisements boasted that families would have more time for leisure as a garden hose was the only thing needed to restore the houses’ shine.

The Lustron homes were a symbol of the postwar American dream, offering a futuristic lifestyle that was both affordable and stylish. Today, Lustron homes and other housing styles from the 1940s and 1950s continue to fascinate historians, architects, and homeowners alike. They are a manifestation of trends and illustrate how fads quickly fade. 

Unlike trends and fads, there are time tested and proven ways to improve your home. Counted among this is sealing and staining your concrete floors. In addition to adding value to your property, it will ensure that your floors are as durable as a Lustron home. 

If you need to just give your concrete floors a makeover, or are building a new home, and want to give your home a custom look, ARC Coatings, Inc. in Lake Havasu City, Arizona is here to assist. Contact us today for an estimate and consultation. And remember, we serve all of Mohave County, Arizona, and can even meet the needs of customers in Maricopa County. 

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