Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tin Can Classics

A couple of years ago I was driving around (actually I was the passenger) in Atlanta and we passed a startling sight. There was an old travel trailer with natural aluminum sides and a wraparound glass "windshield" rolling down the road. I had the driver shadow this unusual sight for several miles. On closer inspection it was clear this baby needed a lot of work but the lines below the surface were wonderful. From what little we could see the interior, through the windows at 70 miles an hour, was pretty worn and needed refurbishment but it was also clear the interior was built more like a classic boat that a house. That encounter sparked a frenzy of Internet searching which turned up a number of interesting things.

Not surprisingly there are several companies and groups around who specialize in the early (mostly post-war) travel trailers.

One group the "Tin Can Tourists" contributed to the name of this blog. They describe themselves in this quote from their website.
The Road to Enlightenment

The Tin Can Tourists were organized at Desoto Park, Tampa, Florida, in 1919. They received the official state charter a year later. The groups stated objective was "to unite fraternally all autocampers". Their guiding principles were clean camps, friendliness among campers, decent behavior and to secure plenty of clean, wholesome entertainment for those in camp. The group known for the soldered tin can on their radiator caps grew rapidly during the twenties and thirties. Members could be inducted fellow campers through an initiation process that taught the prospective member the secret handshake, sign, and password. After singing the official song "The More We Get Together" the trailerite was an official member of the Tin Can Tourists of the World.

Nearly everyone is familiar with the aluminum cigar shaped Airstream trailers, which are still manufactured. One of my neighbors has one in his yard. I think he had it Before and was using it until his FEMA model was delivered. Its still there as a sort of annex. It looks nothing like the one I saw in Atlanta. I was never able to confirm exactly what I saw that day but I was able to find similar one. It seem likely that the trailer I saw was a Spartan.

(All Spartan Trailers depicted were listed for sale on the Internet at the time of publication.)

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