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Wheel Estate: The Rise and Decline of Mobile Homes / Edition 1

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In Wheel Estate, Allan Wallis offers a lively and informative history of the mobile home in the United States over six decades. His colorful account, extensively illustrated with period photographs and vivid portraits of the people who live in mobile homes and the industry pioneers who designed and built them, will inform and amuse anyone curious about this American phenomenon.

Beginning with the travel trailers of the late 1920s and 1930s—with models that were built like yachts or unfolded like Polaroid cameras—Wallis moves through the World War II era, when the industry mushroomed as trailers became homes for thousands of defense workers, to the post war era, when trailers became year-round housing. The industry responded with new models—now called mobile homes—that tried to strike a balance between house and vehicle, even as owners built their own often fanciful additions (including one mobile home complete with Egyptian pylons).

Carrying the story up to the present, Wallis links the need for mobile homes to continuing housing crises. He traces regulations and reforms aimed at "linear living," arguing in the end that manufactured housing remains distinctively American and embodies fundamental national ideas of home and community.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Technology and Culture
This pioneering study succeeds admirably... Wallis's work is solidly researched, well written, extensively illustrated, and a true contribution to both American vehicular and housing history.
Boston Globe
A significant book.
Washington Times
A sober yet entertaining account—packed with information—of a singularly American invention. The book is at its liveliest when discussing the first half of the 20th century, when the form was first being played with and celebrated.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801856419
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 283
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan D. Wallis is director of research for the National Civil League and assistant professor of public policy at the Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Denver

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    A Wonderful History of Mobile Homes

    I have always liked any articles on mobile homes. Wheel Estate takes you on a journey starting with the earliest camper trailers to todays large mobile homes. The book is full of interesting and informative material related to mobile homes. I especially enjoyed all the information on vintage mobile homes. If you are a trailer 'freak' like I am you will want to buy and keep this book. A friend of mine in Texas told me about the book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the history and development of todays mobile home.

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