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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Vagabond Coach
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

This 1936 trailer advertisement is a typical promotional image. It shows a family enjoying a vacation. With its sleek exterior, and with the car in the foreground, the trailer is visually associated with the consumption of leisure and with automobility. Manufacturers designed streamlined trailers to complement cars. Some manufacturers even offered to customize the paint job and the tires to match your auto. In an era when most families did not own a car, manufacturers and industry insiders positioned their product as a symbol of progress, wealth, leisure, and modernity.

Physical Description
Date Made:
NMAH, Transportation Collections
During the 1930s, hundreds of manufacturers began to make-usually small numbers-of travel trailers. These homes on wheels allowed Americans who owned automobiles to take vacations without staying at hotels, or camping in a tent. Trailer proponents touted the modernity, coziness, and family oriented nature of trailer travel, but trailers began to be perceived as a problem in the mid to late 1930s when the American press discovered people lived in their mobile homes all year round.

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