Adventurous America: Teardrops Past, Present and Future

Adventure is as ingrained in Americans as apple pie. Our country was formed on the backs of adventurers and explorers; expanding west in the early 1800’s, stories of Lewis and Clark spread around the country igniting the imagination of thousands.  At the time, travel was accomplished by horse-drawn carriage, the original “travel-trailer,” and navigation was slow and dangerous.

The Past

100 years later, the invention of the automobile and travel-trailer began nearly simultaneously with the first trailer being produced in 1910 by LA Trailer Works. At this point, cars were becoming more reliable and the newly created National Parks system was beginning to see more visitors requesting camping spots. By 1915, groups of people began flocking to Florida on the Dixie Highway, which then spanned from Montreal, Canada to Miami. These people from the Northeast and Midwest, called Tin Can Tourists because of the canned food that they carried and ate, travelled via these rutted routes linking the cities of the East Coast.

By the 1920’s thousands of people traveling in their affordable Ford headed south sleeping in tents, cars and trailers.  This sense of adventure was brought to life by famous Americans such as, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone who during the period of 1913-1924 traveled in cars, chronicling their travels and inspiring others to do the same.

House trailers continued to gain popularity after the Great Depression until America’s involvement in WWII following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.  During the war, rations were placed on manufacturing causing a halt of production until the end of the war in 1945. With the economic boos that this offered, GI’s were beginning to come back to the US and wanted to take their families on vacation. Thus, trailers were launched into production using surplus materials such as Jeep wheels and aircraft wings, creating that shiny metal look that we have grown to love.

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Plans for the original teardrop trailer were published in Popular Mechanics. The teardrop trailer signified a small, and affordable option for families to explore together. Its size was a function of the under powered cars of the time, engines with less then 100hp had issues pulling large loads.  Growth of the teardrop trailer continued through the 1950’s until cars with more HP were produced and the call for larger more capable trailers pushed their smaller counterparts out of the market.

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The Present

Yet the travel trailer was all but dead. Americans were still adventuring and exploring but they were doing so in much larger rigs, the early 1990’s were a time of excess and many families traveled to destinations such as Disney World rather then the National Parks.  Toward the late 1990’s more information flooded the internet daily until the original teardrop trailer plans from the Popular Mechanics article became available online.  The 2000’s marked by smaller, the internet and it’s endless information breed a new generation of “do-it yourselfers” and the teardrop trailer once again began to gain in popularity.

Every year it seems to get harder to find solitude, peace and quite, away from our overly plugged-in existence. The teardrop-trailer signifies the simplicity that lacks in our daily lives. Its small size and rugged engineering allows us to get farther out, to camp in areas that are reserved only for the more adventurous.

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The Future

Escapod: our escape pod from the grind of our daily lives, the vessel that takes us far away from cell phone service and replaces our normal wake up call with the warmth of sunshine on our faces.  As our lives become more hectic and free time gets replaced by more work and responsibility, it is important to be able to load up and pack out with only a moment’s notice. Time in nature provides us with stimulation that can never be matched by the endless data stream that we endure daily. Time slows and we once again find our center, our place of being. Only then, are we able to return to daily life day-dreaming about our next big adventure.

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Get in touch so we can start creating your custom Escapod! Here’s to your next adventure!

Published by

Jen Hudak

Hi! I'm Jen - a former professional skier, two-time world champion and X-Games gold medalist. I'm a lover of the outdoors, always up for an adventure, need to start everyday with coffee and believe that Lays potato chips (yes, specifically) are the best post-sweat-session snack. More intimately, I'm a proud wife to my husband Chris and mom to my dogs Luke & Milo. I love watching people thrive and seeing someone's natural talents and passions lead them through life. Honored to be involved in the beginnings of SheLift.org and Escapod-Trailers. In May 2017, I'll be receiving a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Utah with a focus in business.

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