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A History of Travel Trailers (Recreational Vehicles)

A History of Travel Trailers (Recreational Vehicles)

Recreational vehicles (RVs) started as simple travel trailers and have a history of more than 100 years (production and sale) in the United States. While commercial production is slightly more than a century old, the invention had taken place earlier. The people who had come here earlier needed a vehicle that they could use to travel around the vast land and discover new places. They came up with travel trailers whose history we trace below.

The First Production: Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau
The first RV was Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau that was among the first alterations on cars soon after they debuted. The Landau had a fascinating connection that allowed the driver to communicate with his passengers through telephone. The back seat could fold into a bed when you needed to rest later at the camping site after a tiresome journey during the day.

Traveling in this RV was just like being inside a simple house. It also had a chamber pot toilet and a sink at the rear of the driver’s seat. The Touring Landau production soon went viral, and people began producing more and different types of travel trailers – the auto campers.

Camping became more popular as people now had the confidence to travel for days and explore national parks, among other attractions. People opened campsite businesses, some of which had golf courses and movie theaters.

Origin in 1910
The RVs got into the mainstream for the first time in 1910. At this time, the launching of Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau took place at Madison Square Garden. Although this was not the first time travel trailers ever emerged, we can describe 1910 as the time serious production began.

Before the Touring Landau debut, there were isolated pockets of single unit productions by a few individuals. We can attribute the origin of RVs to the inspiration that the builders got from the traveling nomadic Roma Caravans in Europe during the 19th Century. The Touring Landau innovation added a sense of luxury and comfort to RVs and immediately revolutionized their production.

The revolution inspired Ronald R.Conklin from New York to develop the famous “Gypsy Van” later in 1915. The Gypsy Van had the following features:
• It had a 25-foot length
• The carrying capacity was for 11 people
• It had a kitchen
• Inside, there was a bookcase, albeit concealed
• The RV weighed 8 tons

Earl Travel Trailer (Model T Ford)
Among the existing RVs in museums in the world today, the Earl Travel Trailer is the oldest. A Cal Tech professor had commissioned a Los Angeles carriage maker to design this travel trailer for him. A 1913 Model T Ford pulled this travel trailer, and today, it is pulling it in the museum display. The last known restoration of this RV took place in 1989.

The inside of the 1913 Earl Travel Trailer with Model T Ford appears to have had a modern concept, although it is simple. It has a dining table with a seating capacity of four people. The fascinating thing about this dining table is that it would convert into a double bed, making it more versatile.

Modern Travel Trailers
Unlike their classical counterparts, modern travel trailers have more sophisticated features and accessories. Some of them contain state-of-the-art technology that oozes nothing other than luxury. They may have electric or gas-powered refrigerators, cookers, or water heaters. They also have extra batteries that produce electricity to power all electronic devices inside. Besides, modern travel trailers may have showers, washing machines, air conditioning, and external barbeque points, among other accessories.

However, these features are in the middle-range travel trailers. The top-of-the-range options have more advanced facilities. What appears to be shared in most modern travel trailers are their beds, which can convert to seats during the day.

Some innovations have led to the emergence of hybrid travel trailers. A hybrid travel trailer has pop-up bunks with canvas tent cover that you can stretch from the side. When you are not camping, you fold them back up to return to the non-camping four hard sides.

Today, people use travel trailers as recreational vehicles; hence, RV. Musicians who do regular tours to different places also use the RVs in their musical expeditions that last for weeks or even months away from home. Modern RVs have highly evolved and embraced ever-advancing technology.

As they evolve in design and technology, the use that people put them to is also changing. You can use them to move an entire family together with their items for family vacations. Even businesses like hotels are beginning to use travel vehicles as mobile service points.


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