View Full Version : Lustron Homes

07-19-2012, 08:30 PM
Never before has America seen a house like this,” read a 1949 advertisement for the Lustron, also hailed as “the house of the future.”

The Lustron was an all-steel house, with walls made of 2×2 20-gage metal panels, with a porcelain enamel finish. The roof was porcelain enamel steel, and unlike traditional roofing shingles, has a lifespan of at least 60 years (and perhaps much more).

The modest ranches were designed and created by entrepreneur Carl Strandlunds to help deal with the severe housing shortage after World War II. Unfortunately, Lustrons never became very popular. Three years after the company first started (in 1947), it went into bankruptcy. Sixty years later, there’s still much debate about the reasons for the company’s collapse. The debate over the reasons for Lustron’s demise because a topic for a fascinating documentary.

About 2,500 Lustrons were created.

Quantico, Virginia was home to the largest collection of Lustrons in the country, but those 60 houses are now gone. Some were moved, most were demolished. Turns out those macho Marines at Quantico weren’t too keen on living in a pink house! (The houses were offered in pink, blue, brown and yellow.)

On the inside walls of the Lustrons, nails could not be used. Instead, magnets are used to hang pictures. The porcelain enamel finish on the 2×2 panels is tough, which makes re-painting the panels virtually impossible. The Lustron (seen below) in Danville, Virginia was painted, and it’s trying hard to shed this second skin.

Painting a Lustron is akin to painting the top of your grandma’s 1965 Lady Kenmore washing machine. Painting porcelain enamel never works out too well.
More at link, lots of pics>http://www.searshomes.org/index.php/tag/metal-tile-houses/

07-20-2012, 10:09 AM
We still have a few of them in our area, with people living in them. Cool concept, which could be revived today with some modifications.

07-20-2012, 10:12 AM
Some fun pictures:


07-20-2012, 12:18 PM
The house in South Bend is really cool-the people who own it decorated it very well.

I'm not sure if we have any around Detroit. We have lots of Craftstman houses, though. A metal house makes me think of those Marx dollhouses from the 50s and 60s that some of my friends had (I had/still have a Hall's Lifetime Toys dollhouse).

07-20-2012, 07:26 PM
Some fun pictures:


Good pics Linda! I like the whole idea behind these houses and wish they still made them.

07-20-2012, 09:21 PM
They still have them in St Louis. There were several near my office, in a residential area of the City of St Louis, near the boundaries of the city. It's fun seeing the interiors. The houses in St Louis still look like new. And that mid-century furniture is quite in style now.