The Prefabbed Lustron House Is A Peep At Post-WWII America

The Prefabbed Lustron House Is A Peep At Post-WWII America

Transitioning back to normal life after WWII had its fair share of challenges for soldiers, one of which was a housing shortage. Lustron houses — prefabricated enamel steel homes — were a direct response to the dearth.

This is a 1949 picture of all of the components of one of the cookie cutter abodes laid out like puzzle pieces.

Lustron houses were a good solution for a lot of families, because besides being inexpensive (between $US8500 and $US10,500), they were also fairly cheap to maintain. They were super durable and low maintenance, thanks to a baked on enamel finish. So there was no need to paint or repaint.

And they’re such a perfect look at American life in the ’40s and ’50s. Houses came in three lines with two-bedroom and three-bedroom models — Meadowbrook was on the smaller end starting at about 65sqm, Newport was the middle-of-the-road model at up to 92sqm, and Westchester was the biggest version with up to 111sqm of space. Every one came standard with metal ceiling tiles and metal-panelled interior walls, metal cabinets, closets with pocket doors, and service and storage areas.

There were eight exterior colour choices with names like maize yellow, desert tan and surf blue. Each Lustron would come to new owner on a truck complete with an assembly team who would assemble the house on a concrete slab foundation in 360 hours.

There are still about 2000 Lustrons in existence in the US. Although that number is shrinking, it still remains an iconic embodiment of post-war America.