Trailside RV Kansas City Blog

  • Published on Apr 09, 2014

    The History of the RV

    For most of us, gearing up to travel in your RV is always an exciting adventure. You’ve planned the trip, have your meals ready and are looking forward to another great trip on the road! But living in vehicles didn't always look like this of course. Living on the road has evolved quite a bit since motor vehicles were introduced into society. Lets take a look back at the evolution of the home on wheels and how we got to where we are today.

    Early Mobile Homes

    Covered WagonThe word RV, or “Recreational Vehicle” is a relatively new term. Back in the day if you wanted to tell people you had an RV, you most likely called it a caravan, which means “a camper equipped with living quarters." One of the earliest known caravans, the covered wagon, was established in the 1700s as a way to not only carry supplies and equipment, but also carry the people traveling in them. One of the more famous portrayals of covered wagon travel was through the video game “The Oregon Trail."

    In this simulation users got to experience what it was like for people traveling across the country in those days. From hunting their own food to crossing rivers, this game gave a glimpse as to how hard life was when traveling by covered wagon. While covered wagons were popular in America, in Europe, early caravans were founded as early as 1810.

    These wagons were being built for people to live in rather than be an exclusive carrier of goods. Caravans were used in Britain by circus performers who would live in them while traveling from show to show. European Gypsies also began living in caravans, or as they called them, vardos, starting in about 1850. Of course there were numerous hardships to overcome when living in these wagons. One of the major issues was sickness and disease. When traveling, usually there were no doctors around, so many people fell ill while traveling and couldn’t get the proper treatment necessary to survive.

    The First RVs

    Early Model Pierce ArrowWhile in those early days the caravans and covered wagons were used to transport families and goods across the country, the first caravan used for recreational purposes started to appear in the early 1900s. The first true RV was a Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau, which was shown at Madison Square Garden in 1910.

    This RV featured a back seat that folded into a bed, a chamber pot toilet and a sink that folded down from the back of the seat of the chauffeur, who would talk to his passengers via telephone. Yes, he had to communicate to his passengers by telephone. By the 1920s, dozens of manufacturers were coming into the game creating what they called "auto campers", and the RV industry was becoming well established in the USA.

    With the automobile becoming reliable and safe, people began traveling more frequently to destinations such as national parks and other attractions. This led to a huge demand for campsites where people could visit the parks while also stay in their “auto campers.” Like in 2008, the crash of 1929 and the following Great Depression decreased the popularity of RVs. During World War II, regular consumer RVs gave way to mobile hospitals, mobile morgues and more. After the depression and World War II, the RV began to see a comeback and the development of the RV was as apparent as ever.

    The RV Today

    Today, through new technology and innovation, the RV industry is on its way to becoming better than ever.

    According to Dr. Richard Curtin, Director of Surveys of Consumers at the University of Michigan, RV shipments for 2014 are projected to reach 321,800, which is an increase of 3.9% from the projected total for 2013, which was the first time shipments exceeded 300,000 units since 2007.

    With numerous makes and models and plenty of manufacturers to choose from, the RV has become a staple in the American travel world.

    Trailside RV

    If you are looking to enter the RV world and experience the thrill of living life on the road, let Trailside RV help! At Trailside RV we offer an extensive list of new and used RVs as well as rental RVs for your convenience. Now is the perfect time to join the millions of americans who already own RVs. Contact one of our friendly sales representatives today at 888-860-7802 or come by our location in Grain Valley at 700 R.D. Mize Road. We hope to see you here! What is your favorite part about RVs? We would love to here your thoughts in the comments below!    

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