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RVing in the 30s 40s and 50s

by Tony
(Phoenix, Arizona)

RVing in the 30s 40s and 50s

RVing in the 30s 40s and 50s

RVing in the 30s 40s and 50s
What Were The RVs Like And RVing Like In the 30s 40s and 50s?
What Were The RVs Like And RVing Like In the 30s 40s and 50s?

Hi, my name is Tony and the reason I am writing you is because my grandmother and grandfather used to be avid RVers. They started with a travel trailer that they bought back in the late 40s and up until two years ago were still RVing. They are both in their late 80s and can no longer travel due to health concerns.

My grandfather says that he used to go camping in a trailer with his parents back in the 30s. He has told me all kinds of stories about what RVing was like back then. These conversations have peaked my interest about the types of RVs that were available back in the old days of RVing. What information can you give me about the RVs back then? Sorry, I am in my mid 20s and don't really know where to find this information.

Editor's Note: There are some very entertaining free videos about vintage RVs located towards the bottom of this page, so keep reading and scrolling so you do not miss them.


ANSWER Greetings Tony thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

First off, there is no need to apologize for being young and second of all the 30s, 40s and 50s are not really the old days of RVing. The really old days of RVing in the US would be the mid 1700s to about 1900 when people were actually camping in covered wagons. The covered Conestoga wagon was invented in 1749 and was first used to haul supplies, but soon settlers were converting them to primitive RVs. They were the early "boondocking RVers". As early as 1909 gas engine powered motorhomes start appearing. The 1920s was the time when the more "modern" type of RVs started appearing. The 30s 40s and 50s is when the RV Industry really started to flourish.

Recommended Reading: For even more detailed information on the growth of RVing You might want to take a look at these great books. Silver Palaces, Ready to Roll: A Celebration of the Classic American Travel Trailer, Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America and RVs & Campers: 1900-2000 (An Illustrated History).

Rather than just tell you about that time, I have gathered some videos that will show you exactly what the RVs looked like. As they say a picture is worth a 1000 words or in this case a video is. Below the video player you find some other resources to get even more information on early RVing.

Video Viewing Tips There are six videos in the player below, if you mouse over the player's screen you can choose which video you want to watch. If you hit play all 6 videos will play one after the other.


Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

Now you kind of have an idea of the types of RVs that were available back in the 30s, 40s and 50s. For even more fun stuff on RVing read my video recommendations below:

Recommended Videos The Long, Long Trailer (see video preview of this movie further down the page) starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is a 1950s movie similar to more recent Robin William's movie RV (Widescreen Edition).

Below is a preview of The Long Long Trailer starring Lucille Ball.



Here is a video about how RVs were advertised in the early days of RVing.



Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

I hope that you got all the information you wanted. If any of our visitors have more information for you they can add it to this page by clicking on the add a comment link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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