Home on the Road: The Motor Home in America
In 1916, a midwestern farm couple placed a wood and canvas sleeping compartment on top of an automobile chassis and toured the Rockies, carrying along hens for a supply of eggs. In 1940, a streamlined Cherokee red house car owned by a well-known wax manufacturer was featured at the New York World's Fair. In 1964, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters inaugurated the hippie movement in a psychedelic bus named Furthur. In 1992, Winnebago Industries rolled out its two hundred and fifty thousandth motor home, confirming that houses on wheels had evolved far beyond the fads and experiments of earlier decades. Throughout the twentieth century, motor homes embodied not only Americans' ingenuity, individualism, and self-reliance, but also their quest to merge the comforts of home and the freedom of the open road. Chronicling more than fifty years of individual and industrial tinkering, Roger B. White shows how the technological innovations and cultural ideas of each era influenced motor-home design and popular use. Drawing on contemporary descriptions and interviews with motorists and manufacturers, he documents the wooden house cars of the late 1910s and early 1920s, the streamlined metal vehicles of the late 1940s, and a variety of converted trailers and vans that emerged from the booming vacation market of the 1950s and 1960s. The combination of wanderlust and family togetherness symbolized by the house on wheels has continued to exert profound appeal. Tracing the motor home's development from home made conversions to mass-produced recreation vehicles, Home on the Road takes a lively look at this little-known aspect of America's love affair with the automobile.