Vintage RV photos: “Harriet” the house car

By Russ and Tiña De Maris We don’t imagine that too many of our readers attended this RV gathering. It was January 10, 1929, in Arcadia, Florida, when “Harriet” the house car attended the Tin Can Tourists convention there. Harriet must have had quite a trip in those days, as the house car apparently traveled down from Brattleboro, Vermont. Originally…

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RV History: Thor Industries

RV History with Al Hesselbart Thor Industries, the world’s largest RV manufacturer, was created by Wade F.B. Thompson, a wealthy immigrant from New Zealand, and Peter Busch Orthwein, an heir to the Busch brewing fortune. Having previously together purchased Hi-Lo, a manufacturer of unique, expandable travel trailers, Thompson and Orthwein came together again in 1980 to acquire Airstream, the oldest existing…

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RV History: The early RV visionaries

By Al Hesselbart The men who created the concept of the RV industry and the lifestyle that accompanied it were amazing visionaries. Many of the pioneers who originated RV-related companies in the early years of the “horseless carriage” before World War I were pioneers in other industries as well. While ingenious campers and hunters were making homemade contraptions of all sorts,…

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RV History: Tent campers

By Al Hesselbart Throughout the history of the recreational vehicle, the most popular style of camper, by volume of models sold, has always been the folding tent trailer, or its very early predecessor, the non-folding tent trailer. They most closely resembled the tents with which all outdoorsmen were familiar. The popularity of these models has been based on price and on ease…

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RV History: From slide-in to type C

By Al Hesselbart In the late 1950s, slide-in pickup truck campers (identified initially as portable camp coaches) grew in popularity as an alternative to trailers or motorhomes since pickup trucks began to be accepted as family transportation and not commercial vehicles. Originally, truck campers were a box covering the bed of the truck into which a cot and a Coleman stove and cooler…

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RV History: Fifth wheels and the Aerocar

By Al Hesselbart When world champion motorcycle racer and aviation pioneer competitor of the Wright brothers, Glenn Curtiss, conceived an early camping trailer in 1917, he called it his “motor bungalow.” Along with his new trailer he devised an entirely new hitch based on the spare tire or “fifth wheel” of the car. Realizing that motorists already involved with airplanes needed…

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