|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 18 September 2007|
Lenoritz House, 1949
Clad in its distinctive square panels of porcelain enameled steel, this house on Pinevue Drive is a surviving example of a “Lustron” house, a type built in the late 1940s. Lustron houses were steel prefabricated houses offered in response to the shortage of housing for returning veterans.
Initially used for signs, and for bathroom and kitchen appliances, by the 1930s porcelain enameled steel had become popular as siding for gas stations, hamburger stands (e.g., the White Castle chain), and similar commercial structures. Porcelain enameled steel was tough, did not fade, and was easy to clean. It perfectly suited the design preferences of the era, giving a sleek, streamlined look to otherwise utilitarian structures.
Carl Strandlund, an engineer working on steel buildings, saw the national need for housing, and reasoned that the same 2’ X 2’ panels that sheathed gas stations could be used as the building blocks for all-metal homes.
In 1947, Strandlund formed the Lustron Corporation. Houses would be built at the company’s Ohio factory, the components shipped, and the steel framing, steel interior walls, and interior and exterior cladding set up at the site on a foundation slab. The erection process took about two weeks.
By April 1949, Lustron had erected over 100 “demonstration” houses in almost every major city east of the Rockies. Lustron was to offer eight models in a half-dozen pastel colors. Accessories included screen doors and storm windows, all in aluminum; steel Venetian blinds; a picture hanger kit; and an attic fan. Homeowners were encouraged to personalize their homes by screening in porches and adding breezeways.
The model seen here, the Westchester, became the most popular. This 2-bedroom ranch-style design is built on a rectangular floor plan, yielding over 1,000 square feet; the model distinguished by a recessed corner entry porch measuring 6’ by 12’. It was probably built for the Ralph Lenoritz family who bought the land in February 1949. Although it has changed hands several times, it remains a single-family dwelling. Today (2007) it continues to be a residence, although one that is in not in very good condition.
In 1950, the Lustron Corporation declared bankruptcy. Of the approximately 2,500 Lustrons that were manufactured, some 2,000 are said to survive today.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 September 2007 )|