Our mission is to have a space where Lustron Homeowners, Enthusiasts, and History Buffs have a common place to go for information and share their stories. We hope to make this a source for National Events, Media, Resources, and Groups and Continue our Mission to Complete our Documentation of Locations of 2500 Lustrons that rolled off the assembly line before the government shut Lustron Corporation doors.
Now 35 years of my family researching these homes, 20 years after we published the book. My family has enjoyed getting to know this community for 35 years. It's time Lustron Research finally has a place on the web for our community to gather.
We Look forward to hearing all your stories. We look forward to continued growth with our research partners.
What is a Lustron? It is A Mid-century modern home, a true gem. It's an all-metal home made of enameled steel. Some 2,500 of these one-story enameled-steel houses went up around the country between 1948 and 1950, and Tom Fetters says you can usually spot them by their distinctive roofs–which resemble the ones that came in Lincoln Log sets. Also, the distinctive 2x2 ft prefabricated porcelain enameled steel tile panels make up the house's walls in their luminous pastel exteriors: surf blue, maize yellow, dove gray, desert tan. The main lustron design known as the Westchester Deluxe was a ranch-style two-bedroom home with a living room, dining area, kitchen, utility room, and bathroom. Additional features of the Westchester Deluxe included: Pocket-type sliding doors. Built-in closets. Shelves. A China cabinet. Dressing table. Kitchen cabinets. A built-in Thor dishwasher/ clothes washer. The overall design also included aluminum framed windows to provide cross-flow ventilation. An automatic water heater and a unique electric radiant heat furnace were located centrally in the utility room. Lustron homes were designed to be erected upon a reinforced cement concrete slab. The exterior panels are attached to the pre-fab steel frame wall 2ft x 2ft square in configuration, which forms an attractive pattern very fitting to the conservative-modern ranch-style theme. Additionally, the interior porcelain enamel panels feature horizontal and square wall patterns. The ceiling panels are square, which works well with the interior design. All the utilities, such as electrical and mechanical items, were installed at the factory and provided easy on-site hook-up. All lighting and plumbing fixtures were provided as well. Three additional models, the Newport, Esquire, and Meadowbrook, were available later in the manufacturing cycle. These houses were developed in the post-World War II era in the United States in response to the shortage of homes for returning G.I.s by Chicago industrialist and inventor Carl Strandlund. Headed by inventor Carl Strandlund, Lustron received its first federal loan in 1947 from the government-run Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). Strandlund would build prefabricated homes instead of gas stations. The money helped Lustron install $12.5 million worth of equipment at its factory in Columbus, Ohio. Every single piece of a Lustron prefabricated home was shipped via delivery truck and assembled by a crew within 360 hours. The goal was 45,000 houses in its first year. By the summer of 1949, it increased the prices of its homes to $10,000 and wanted $3 million more from the federal government. But instead of building a promised 100 houses per day, the company was managing only 27 daily homes by August of 1949 — after $34 million in federal loans. The company's monthly losses hovered around $500,000. By 1950 RFC filed to foreclose on Lustron, after which the company declared bankruptcy and failed to repay its government loan. The housing company had built 2,498 houses but could not deliver 8,000 additional orders. Lustron Research has documented almost 2000 homes over our 35 years. Lustron Plant officially closed its doors in 1951. Lustron homes have stood the test of time. Though many have been lost to demolition and development, the few remaining are highly coveted by mid-century enthusiasts
Check out this 11-minute overview on the History of The Lustron Home. by Vox.com
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