June 27, 2017

Which Would You Choose?

It's January 1932 and you're seriously thinking about building a kit house. You have some carpentry experience, and you know you can handle the assembly of the house as long as you can get a couple friends to pitch in. The Great Depression started in 1929, but your job seems secure, and many people in the Chicago area are still building homes.

Let's consider the three major manufacturers of kit houses in 1932. Which catalog grabs your attention and makes you want to build... right now?


Sears Homes of Today from 1932. No house is shown on the cover, just a front door opening onto a dark, depressing exterior. (Why didn't they at least picture the inside of the house and make it look homey?) The rest of the cover is filled with a meaningless illustration that looks like it's from a children's book.

Aladdin Homes from 1932. The illustration shows the Lindbergh, a popular model. We see an adult couple lounging on a hammock and a coterie of fairies cavorting in/around a tree (???). Are they dreaming of the babies they will have in the future? Better than the Sears offering, but still weak.

The catalog from Gordon-Van Tine for the same year, 1932. It's a real photo--not an illustration.  The house is barely shown. Dad, in a suit, is coming from from work to greet his family. Mom stands at the screen door, and you know she has a hot meal ready inside, and he is relieved to be back at his sanctuary. Scan courtesy of Sears House Seeker.

The winner, by a mile--Gordon-Van Tine.  

1 comment:

SearsHouseSeeker said...

That Aladdin fairy cover is really odd, isn't it??
And, Sears re-used that photo on another year's catalog, didn't they? Odd one.
Sears House Seeker

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