1916
1922

 

 

 

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Lewis Manufacturing

1922 Lewis coverIn the first years of the 20th century, dozens of companies launched themselves from existing lumber dealerships in a new direction: kit homes.

One major center of that activity was Bay City, Michigan where three major players, Lewis Manufacturing, International Mill and Timber, and Aladdin vied for an emerging market against the heavy hitters, Sears and Montgomery Ward.

Initially, Lewis was the mill for Aladdin, but by 1914 had severed its ties with Aladdin and spun off its own kit home business under the leadership of its president, Adna Lewis.

Bungalow fever raged across the US as a number of different currents converged to drive the demand among prospective working and middle-class homebuyers. Industrialization and process manufacturing allowing the mass production of consistently-produced millwork on a huge scale. A network of railways ensured distribution to the most far-flung reaches of the United States. And a progressive, populist movement fused with fresh insights pertinent to social health to foster the idea that owning a home was not only good for the individual, but for the commonwealth as well. (That the economic system was beginning to make longer term mortgages available for the first time should also be noted.)

Here we present several different books of plans including the 1916 Lewis-Built Homes, 1922 Lewis Homes of Character, and what we think was the first Liberty Ready Cut Homes catalog produced in the mid-1920s.

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