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Recreational Vehicle History

In Europe, the origins of travel trailer and caravanning can be tracked back to traveling gypsies and showmen who spent their lives in animal drawn trailers and covered wagons. It is believed the first recreational trailer was built by Bristol Carriage Company in about 1880 for Doctor W. Gorden-Stables. The trailer was 18 feet long based on their Bible Wagons, which Dr. Gordon Stables named the “Wanderer”.

Caravans such as the Vardo have served both as a cultural symbol of the nomadic gypsies. Until the early 19th century these caravans served primarily as transportation. Later in 19th century more and more gypsies began to live in their caravans instead of sleeping in tents. This provided greater protection from the wild life and the outside elements. The caravans could be fitted with modern amenities of the time such as a wood burning stove.

One of the first know home built house trailers in America was built by John Porcella, a barber, grocer, restaurateur and miner who traveled extensively throughout the western states. Today’s travel trailers come in many different sizes that sleep as few as two people to half a dozen people with kitchens and full bath rooms.

Around the United States and Canada, the history of travel trailers can be traced back to the early 1900s. Early motor home started out in Canada in 1910, these were nothing more than shelters placed on car or truck bodies. The United States started out in the twenties and thirties during the development of the automobile industry. These started out as “house trailer” that were towed by automobiles. As time progressed trailers became more livable and comfort to the experience. During the 1950s and 60s the industry divided into two types as we refer to them today, the recreational vehicle and mobile home. The recreational industry identifies them from the smaller pop-up trailers to truck campers, fifth wheel trailers, ant the larger class A,B and C, motorhomes.

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