Aladdin Houses.
July 8, 2002 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Aladdin Houses. I was told when I bought my house it was one of these, but this is the first time I've run across information about the company. These were houses built from a kit, like the Sears Houses that more people seem familiar with. This site has lots of old catalogs scanned in -- as near as I can figure out, this one is mine. I can attest to the fact that they hold up pretty well. You can still buy prefab homes of course, but they lack the ye-olde excitement of age.
posted by JanetLand (11 comments total)
neat, I'm a big fan of architecture and it's interesting to see things like this. it just boggles my mind that, at one time at least, it was possible to shop for a home from a catalog... wow :)
posted by LuxFX at 11:19 AM on July 8, 2002

I recently saw a television advertisement for a company who built homes using a system similar to this. They stack up hollow interlocking blocks to make the walls and then reinforce it with steel and pour cement or extremely dense insulation down through the hollow holes. Slap on drywall and siding and youv'e got a house. It looks like Lego on a grand scale. Not exactly pre-fab, but pretty quick and innovative nonetheless.
posted by ttrendel at 11:29 AM on July 8, 2002

Aren't MOST new houses sorta pre-fab these days, though? Obviously, not in the same way as the examples here, but a drive through any recently-built subdivision yields house after house with minor differences.

And nasty. Overlarge, modern-yet-country (or somesuch awful combination) houses that look like they could have been delivered, wrapped, from Home Depot.

What will happen in 75, 100 years? Will these houses become the nice, old houses that people like me look for? I can't imagine.
posted by dammitjim at 11:37 AM on July 8, 2002

Very interesting site, and a wonderful resource to have "out in the world" (as opposed to sitting in a library somewhere), but I very much wish they'd thumbnailed the images .... the full-page scans take a very long time to load.
posted by anastasiav at 11:44 AM on July 8, 2002

dammitjim - no, these houses will not be the nice old houses that people look for. Houses today are not built by craftsmen to last a century, they way they were when the ones I look at (1900-1925) were. They are now built by day laborers using the cheapest materials they can get their hands on in the shortest possible timeframe to maximize the builder's profit.
posted by Irontom at 12:12 PM on July 8, 2002


I bet you swoon when you see that, way back when, your house cost 1,387 dollars new from the catalog, JanetLand.
posted by evanizer at 2:24 PM on July 8, 2002

I am from Bay City, Michigan, so a very neat link indeed. Actually, my dad may of worked at the Aladdin Company when he was younger I think.
posted by banished at 3:25 PM on July 8, 2002

My dad did work at the Aladdin Company. He told me that they used to have to send in postcards with a few coins attached to purchase a catalogue. The women tearing the coins off of the postcards wouldn't always get all of the coins and they would burn all of this trash in a big incinerator in the back and pile the ashes by the railroad tracks. Money could sometimes be found among the ashes. Neat story, anyway.
posted by banished at 9:13 PM on July 8, 2002

Oh my gawd. My granny lives in that house near Pittsburgh that my pap pap built. I had no idea it was prefab.

janetland, nice link!
posted by crasspastor at 9:42 PM on July 8, 2002

Oh shit. I didn't realize there were a number of "floor-plans" in the browser sputtering animated gif. I went with the picture it initially choked on. The first image in the cycle. . .
posted by crasspastor at 9:47 PM on July 8, 2002

I bet you swoon when you see that, way back when, your house cost 1,387 dollars new from the catalog, JanetLand.

Yeah. According to this calculator, $1,387 in 1917 equals about $12,843 in 1997 dollars. I paid a little more than that. *sigh*
posted by JanetLand at 5:50 AM on July 9, 2002

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