- Written by webmin
I mostly ignore or forward press releases that land in my Inbox; nine times out of 10, they’re useless. A few months ago, I was about to delete one from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association announcing the centennial of the RV this year because, honestly, it sounded like a snoozer. The release did include a couple random, but nice pictures, first of the Hunt housecar (above), which we saw here last year, and second of a 1931 Chevrolet owned by Mae West (below, which you can also see more of in beccafromportland’s Flickr stream). It also included the following reasoning for the centennial celebration this year:
The roots of RVing are as old as pioneers and covered wagons. In 1910, the RV industry began, according to America’s leading RV historians — David Woodworth, Al Hesselbart and Roger White.
“The first mass-produced, motorized campers were built in 1910,” says Woodworth, a preeminent collector of early RVs and RV camping memorabilia. “Before then, people camped in private rail cars that were pulled to sidings along train routes. Nineteen-ten brought a new freedom to people who didn’t want to be limited by the rail system. RVs allowed them to go where they wanted, when they wanted.”
Known as “auto campers” or “camping trailers,” these vehicles were the forerunners of today’s modern RVs.
“The first RVs offered minimal comforts compared to today’s homes-on-wheels,” says Woodworth. “But they did provide the freedom to travel anywhere, to be able to get a good night’s sleep and enjoy home cooking. One notable exception to today’s RV was the bathroom. In 1910, it was usually either yonder tree or yonder bush.”
Al Hesselbart, archivist for the RV Heritage Museum, points out that one brand of auto camper in those days was equipped with a bathroom onboard. “Pierce-Arrow’s ‘Touring Landau’ was unveiled in 1910 at Madison Square Garden and it boasted a potted toilet,” he says.
“Potted toilet?” In a Pierce-Arrow? I feel like I’m investigating the Fatty Arbuckle car all over again…