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Early tent trailer - 1919 Warner Camper

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I didn't realize that there were Tent Trailers this early ...

I had always thought they were a post war invention ... late 40's - early 50's ... :eek:

From a current Ebay listing ...

Might be just the thing for someone touring with a Model T or A ... or something similar small car or those times ... ;)

Not necessarily this particular 'camper' ... but looks like it would be a fairly easy to create a similar camper using a spare axel and styling to match your antique car ... :)





Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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That's some wild suspension there... as well as the sprung front drawbar..

I've seen one that looked like that on the net. It was some guy selling off a bunch of old stuff. I think it was even a faded blue like that one, so maybe it is the one I saw a long time ago.

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The history of early auto trailers and campers can be a fascinating study. Trailers go back nearly as far as the car itself. Tent trailers, either home made or manufactured, date to the late teens and twenties.

The first house trailer manufacturers were established in 1932 and within 5 years the field just exploded. By 1937 there were 300,000 on the road and more than 100 manufacturers.

Based on this growth trend noted economist Roger Babson predicted that in 10 years half the population would be living in trailers. Nobody contradicted him.

During the war years trailer manufacturers in California and the Midwest turned out thousands of units for emergency housing for war workers.

After the war ever larger units were developed, the "long long trailer" evolving into the mobile home while smaller trailers made family vacations affordable and the great outdoors accessible to those who did not want to "rough it".

See this Youtube video of a 1937 trailer travelogue put out by the Chevrolet company.

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I love the vintage stuff! I use my '63 Heilite tent camper all the time. At only 500 lbs I can almost pull it with my wheelchair! When folded, it's very compact. It splits down the middle with ease by use of a crank. No water, no power, just 2 queen beds, lots of storage and a flat floor. I can turn around in it with my wheelchair with ease. Even in a heavy downpour, it stays dry. There is a panel that fills the gap on one end when it's expanded that is covered with vintage decals from coast to coast. It really does elicit many conversations. I got it for free about 5 years ago when my neighbor recued it from the dump. He just knows I wouldn't allow that.

I also have a 1964 California Teardrop that I hope to restore with the help of my girlfriends daughters (5 & 7) to match my 59 Skyliner. It will give them a place to play while we are at car shows.




Edited by Amphicar BUYER (see edit history)
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Cool, how many Crosleys fit in a two car garage?

Depends on how deep you pile them. Some of our more fanatic Crosley Club members build racks to store them on to fit more in.

Before I cleaned out a few projects I knew I would never get to, I had 3 Crosleys and a 66 Falcon in one bay of my shop with plenty of space to tuck in the riding lawnmower and a bunch of other stuff. And I didn't stack them. Of course I do have a small Crosley size trailer hanging from the ceiling in that bay waiting to be restored.

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Currently listed on Ebay is a very unique trailer and tow vehicle combination. The pairing consists of a 1931 Model A Ford Deluxe Coupe, and a 1932 custom built Anchorage 5th wheel traveling salesman's showroom trailer. Both vehicles have been together since 1932, when the original owner commissioned the construction of the trailer. Read through the listing's description for all of the details on this interesting (and expensive) set-up.

Ford : Model A : eBay Motors (item 220561067254 end time Mar-01-10 11:16:27 PST)


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Just discovered this website! Looks like there is a bit of interest developing in vintage pop-up campers. I founded a website exactly one year ago dedicated specifically to pop-up camper history. Go checkout the first section, it is a comprehensive analysis on the true first pop-up campers in this country, and who were the very first manufacturers of them. It remains a work-in-progress, but I believe well worth anybody's time to read. It contains many brochures and magazine advertisements, even for the early models. You can find the website at: Pop-up Camper History


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  • 2 weeks later...

i love vintage camping. i am knee deep into model Ts and have 8 of them. i am a member of several clubs including the TTTT, better known as the tent topped touring Ts an chapter of MTFCA. anyway, we do a week long camping tour every summer. we tow our campers with our Ts and have a ball. i have a 1919 beloit just like the one that just sold on ebay. it was made and patent from warrner and he later merged with borg and they became borg warrner. some of the campers we have , and had on display in richmond ind at the 100th birthday party of the model T were zegelmyer, chenango, and many others. here are some of my camping pictures.






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  • 1 month later...

About 15-20 years ago, The Great Race came through Wilkes-Barre, PA for an overnight stop.

They had the race cars on display at the Kingston Armory.

There was a chap driving a '28-'29 Ford Phaeton, towing a fold-out tent trailer similar to the one pictured at the top of the thread.

He had all the period camping gear too... he admitted the experience was "primitive, but it beat sleeping on the ground ! "

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I remember touring with my family from Chicago to Key West, Florida, two or three times during the 1930's in a model A pulling a tent trailer. Most of the roads were narrow and one lane in each direction. We could camp almost anywhere, but also could stay at "tourist courts." We had no problems with the model A, only having several flats and replacing a fan belt on one occasion. You could buy ethyl or "white gas" most places. The gasoline was pumped by hand to fill a clear reservoir at the top of the pump marked by gallons, and gravity did the rest. "Potty" stops were served mostly by two-holer outhouses ("chick sales").

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