Friday, August 21, 2009

Airstream Design & History

One of the nice things about owning an Airstream is that you are part of a long history of a travel trailers known for design and function. I recently came across this article by a design firm titled: Airstreams: Icons Worthy of Preservation. The article mentioned in part "
....This week in Germany, I learned that classic Airstream trailers are being restored and rented to hip European "holiday makers." Hence, Airstreams are also iconic structures (albeit mobile ones) being restored and, in some cases, retrofitted."
An older post by a design firm who worked on the new Bambi design noted:
"with their sleek metallic exteriors, these travel trailers
are a nostalgic piece of america.
even today customers love the timeless beauty of the
aerodynamic shapes and the ingenious efficiency of
the compact space, but the average age
of a first-time travel trailer buyer is 64 years old !"
And finally, for a little romp through history, this older web site has a lot of information and links. In part it starts:

In The Beginning...

...was the Great Depression. The stock-market was down. Many people were struggling just to keep food on the table. In the early 1930s, A young college graduate named Wally Byam went to work for a magazine publisher. An article they published was an instruction guide for building a camping trailer. After the article was published, people began using the plans to build their own trailers. However it wasn't long before letters began coming in from the readers complaining about errors in the plans.

Determined to discover the problem, Wally Byam began building trailers in his own back yard. While working but before he would finish a trailer, someone would would see it and want to buy his "project." With each new attempt, Wally would experiment and change, improving the original idea. It soon became a full-time occupation for him. He called his new trailer company AIRSTREAM. The trailers were fairly standard looking for the era with some influences from the European styles of design.

top photo courtesy of American Retro Caravans Bambi photo courtesy Cindy's Salon

Vintage photo part of a wonder collection - Roger's Airstream History


Roger said...

It appears that the third photo that you have there is one that I took. ( It was my parents at Organ Pipe many years ago. Where did you find it?

Roger said...

Actually I didn't take it, but I scanned it in. I am still interested in where you found it...

Dick Mansfield said...

Roger -- I initially found it via the Airstream Forums. Great photos -- I apologize for not adding the credits -- I usually always do that -- and will go back and edit the post.

BTW -- many years ago I was a naval aviator at Lemoore so know the whole valley area -- or use to.