June 7, 2012

Good Houses Never Grow Old

As much as we hear about Sears kit homes, Sears did not last the longest in the pre-cut house business. The Aladdin Company, based in Bay City, Michigan, started in 1906, two years before Sears offered their first house. (Your new house would go up instantaneously, the same way Aladdin's genie built a castle overnight!)

Aladdin stayed in business until 1983 and sold more houses than Sears (about 140,000, according to their promotional literature). Luckily for us researchers, Aladdin retained the bulk of their sales records, which are housed at Central Michigan University.

I was browsing through Aladdin's 1954 catalog and saw this:



This ad puts into perspective how old the catalog homes featured in this blog are. Back in 1954, Aladdin was showing "then and now" photos to demonstrate the durability of their houses and how they "survive the ravages of time". The house at the top of the ad still exists today in Bay City and it is 102 years old!

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